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I just now wrote this as a creative writing exercise. But it’s a true story. Make of it what you will.

The sheer rock wall stretched along the side of the ravine. Above and below, the ravine was equally steep. And back? Back was a long way. We chose to go forward, one at a time, toes clinging to the earth below the rock, bodies hugging the wall.

I slipped on the way over, grabbing the edge of the rock, my feet scrabbling for a moment. But I didn’t go down the hillside, and neither did anyone else.

We named that place Hell, because we didn’t know where we were or how soon we would get out of it. But we did eventually. We had to spend the night outdoors, in the middle of a forest road, and then next day, we found that we were closer than we’d thought; if we had kept going down the road we might have found our way out that night.

But in the dark, we couldn’t see enough to know that, so we stayed out, shivering, huddled by a tiny campfire. And in the morning, we knew just where to go.

People often disparage blogs by saying “any fool can put his name on a blog and write whatever he wants to.” Well, that’s true. Any fool can — and they often do. So why bother? Does anyone pay attention? Does it matter whether anyone pays attention?

I started writing on the web (other than on forums and discussion groups) a little over a year ago. I first signed up for a site that offered points for writing and participating in the site, and rewards for those points. The rewards were nice, but I left that site several months ago because I disliked many other aspects of it.

Shortly after leaving that site, I started writing for Associated Content. AC pays cash for what I write for them, although usually very small amounts. For some articles, I receive a small upfront payment, and for all articles I accumulate bonus money (paid monthly) based on how many page views they get. Again, it’s not much, but on my income, every bit helps, and it’s also good experience and a way to get publishing credits.

Now I’m on WordPress. WordPress doesn’t reward me directly in any way. I can’t even put ads on my blog here (aside from the occasional unobtrusive Amazon link). So why bother?

Well, I started a blog here originally because I sometimes have things I want to write about that aren’t really appropriate for AC, but that I would like to share with others. It’s also a way of promoting my AC articles (see sidebar and click, please) so that I can get more page views and more page view bonus. Mercenary, I know. I hope no one feels cheated.

It’s also just fun, though. Many of my internet friends have migrated to WordPress, so we interact here and have a great time.

It’s fun knowing that I’m being read, too. On the other site, I would obsessively watch my points grow until I had enough for a reward, but I think I was also watching them just know that people were reading my work. On WordPress, I’ve been obsessively checking my blog stats, even though there is no point value or cash value attached to them.

Does anyone pay attention? According to the stats, at least a few people do. Does it matter whether anyone pays attention? Well, clearly, to me it does. I like to know that someone is out there reading. I’m here for a number of reasons, but I think that’s the big one — just to know that someone is out there reading my stuff.