I wrote a blog post and two thirds of my audience tuned out. One fell swoop. I lost them. I know this because of my stats counter, the little button at the bottom of the page that opens to a Pandora's box of wonder and terror. We check it obsessively, we, the bloggers. We watch the number of return visitors climbing, falling, little flurries of excitement at particular times for no reason, little slumps on fine days when our audiences would rather be at the beach.
My hit rate had reached a climax. There were hundreds of people who stumbled upon Furiousvaginas using key words that make me laugh - 'cheesy penis fug', 'fatslap', 'horse vagina','watch I am furious yellow'. These people wouldn't stay. They would stumble upon my site and click away again without reading a word. The ones I care about are the returning visitors. The people who seek me out, read a post or two before turning back to their daily grind. These are the people I am conversing with. They are you.
You were a weighty congregation. You were tuning in, in the hundreds, day after day after day. I was buoyed up by the force of you. I wrote for myself but I knew that you would be there with me. It made me less alone with it.
Then there was that night. That post. That clinging on to the world with my fingertips, all wakeful pacing, a surrealists nightmare of spiral staircases, whirlpools, the merry-go-round of a thousand disparate ideas. I wrote that blog post on that night, and, what's worse, I posted it. A line had been crossed. I knew it. 150 return viewers clicked in to read about my secret world. 125 of them found themselves taken aback, challenged, confronted. They left and they were never seen again.
One true and awful thing. But still a thing of beauty in its own way. It is perhaps my favourite post, the one that I come back to. My dark secret, flung into the spotlight.
Now there are fewer of you, no more than 26 a night, a solid group of readers who are not afraid to wade out into water beyond their depth.
"You should learn from this," my husband says, "why are you always pushing people away? That's why you never get published. You write stuff that no one wants to hear. It's all one big 'fuck you'."
But all I have ever wanted is to write one true and beautiful thing. One true and awful thing that can be beautiful. I watch Michael Haneke films and there it is, that true and beautiful and awful thing, again and again and again.
I watch my stats counter less often now.
Haneke's new version of 'Funny Games' opened to less than enthusiastic audiences in America. Gerard Donovan's 'Julius Winsome' should have won the Booker but instead it has been rejacketed in B format as if it were a cheap crime novel. Cormac McCarthy's 'Child of God' is a book that all my years of bookselling has not helped me to sell. Readers prefer Jeffrey Eugenides' 'Middlesex' to 'The Virgin Suicides' because 'Middlesex' makes them smile.
Krissy Kneen will write what Krissy Kneen writes and not everyone will sit comfortably with that. I could change and learn from my mistakes and write something that the publishers will like, something fine and interesting and funny and sexy. I could become the person that you want me to become. But I am not.
I sit down each day and there is just me and the blank box on my screen and I am answerable to myself alone. Myself, and the 15 people who tuned in to Furiousvaginas yesterday and the 15 people from the night before. It is just you and me really. We are alone with this, and I will continue to dig through my history in search of the handful of true and beautiful things that lie beneath the surface of my skin.