Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Ten Years of Citizen of the Month – A Dedication

It was March 2005, and my first two weeks of blogging.  No one was reading Citizen of the Month, my “blog” named after a award that I frequently won in grade school for being such a goody-two-shoes. And without any comments, the idea of writing a blog seemed like a waste of time.

Then, a woman named Mary commented on several posts, writing notes such as “great post” and “you are a talented writer.” I was so excited; I was connecting with a stranger through my writing! This type of immediate feedback more satisfying that writing scripts for soulless Hollywood.

But then I noticed an oddness in the “IP address” of this Mary person. It was the same IP address as mine — not similar, but exactly the same.

This was because “Mary” was my wife at the time, Sophia, encouraging me under a false alias, not wanting me to quit.

This is a dedication to my first ten years of blogging.

I started my blog on March 7, 2005, on my birthday.

There are so many people to thank. Citizen of the Month has been a personal journey of my last ten years, and I have made countless friends along the way, like Frodo meeting the dwarves and elves while heading to Mount Doom. But there is only one person who truly deserves a special dedication to my first ten years of blogging — and that is Sophia.

If Citizen of the Month were a novel, it would start with my marriage to Sophia, proceed to my on-and-off separation with Sophia, my on-and-off divorce from my Sophia, and finally to the aftermath of my marriage, from my chapter with Juli in New Zealand, to therapy, to my first stabs at online dating.  Even my topical posts were filled with secret messages and personal details.

Even when Sophia wasn’t present in the online story, she was somehow in the background, such as when she hacked into my blogger address book and secretly arranged a virtual birthday party for me (with Danny‘s help) in 2007.

birthday1

My second decade of blogging will be a different story, one that I haven’t written yet, because I am not in complete control of the plot. My divorce is now further in the past and I live in another city. I haven’t been the greatest blogger of late, spreading myself thin on social media, but in my mind, everything I do online is a continuation of the personal journey that I started here on this space.

Thank you to everyone who ever stopped by, commented, or argued with me here on Citizen of the Month during the last ten years.  I promise to try to put the shine back on to my space.  Thanks to my mom, who has always been the most popular “character” on my blog, even back in 2005 when I got some laughs at her calling Citizen of the Month a “blodge.”   To Elan, who taught me everything.    To Martin, the best and most intelligent commenter that ever appeared on this blog.  Bon, Jana, Juli, Sizzle, Josette, Lotus, Megan, Pearl, Tamar, Sarah, Jenn — jeez, you know who you are.   Those names just came popping out and I apologize if I don’t mention you personally.  I even apologize again to  Liz from Mom 101 for calling her a Mussolini-type dictator for her “blogging with integrity” movement from years ago.

Throughout the years, I’ve always had an eccentric definition of a “blog.” I don’t see this space as writing or photography or a business. I’ve seen it as an extension of my life, as a living and breathing entity that expresses my inner soul, writing to myself, the wind, and sometimes just for Tanis, simply to annoy her.

And thank you, Sophia for always being supportive of my online life (except for the one time you called my favorite blogging friend, Veronica, on the phone and yelled at her for that one comment, but I promised I would never mention that), and for being my muse during the Golden Age years of my blog.

Now on to my second decade of blogging.

27 Comments

  1. Happy 10th and happy birthday, Neil. The Internet is a better place with you being part of it! You’re a brilliant writer and even better friend! Here’s to the second decade being even more amazing than the first!

  2. Aww, happy blogging AND birthday. I loved meeting you in person last year. You are as fun and funny in person as you are in blogging.

  3. Cheers to you, for your birthday-blogiversary. Cheers to MarySophia, for helping to keep you on the blogtrack. Cheers to me, for being smart enough to read you all these years. 🙂

  4. Happy birthday to you & your blog!

  5. You have something special here. Part entertainment, part community, part classroom (or maybe more arguing-among-equals-type salon), part novelistic memoir. Whatever it is, I am so grateful to have found you. Thank you.

  6. Happy birthday, Neil.

  7. It has been an honor to be your online friend and follower for all these years, Neil. I keep the memories dear to my heart and always remember your birthday because of Sophia’s plot back in those years. As others have said it, your blog and your personality have counted a lot in my own journey with public sharing of the last decade.

    Happy birthday, and on to the next adventures!

  8. Congrats! It’s rare to find bloggers reaching this threshold any more. 🙁

  9. Happy blogiversary and happy birthday too. I think my 9th came up in January. Please do blog more often, but don’t leave facebook. You’d be missed.

  10. A happy tenth anniversary, Neil, and I trust that the next ten will be equally interesting.

  11. Always good to see some of the old timers have stuck it out. Mazal Tov on the blogiversary.

  12. You were one of my first and best blogging friends. Your humor! Sometimes when I was lying in bed at night, I’d remember a punchline from your last post and laugh about it all over again. I met amazing people and formed long-term relationships with many of them via Citizen of the Month. The comment threads were often as entertaining as the posts. I admired the community events you organized and the way you introduced us to each other. I remember sending you a Manneken Pis from Belgium and being your Blog Crush of the Day–the beginning of our real world friendship. Happy Birthday, Neil!

  13. Dear Neil, Neil dear, in the beginning, there were a few of us who sort of hung out together on the big scary playground that was the internet, and most of that crew are still hanging out, laughing with (and at) each other, sitting together at conferences, defending each other, supporting each other, and thumbing our noses incredulously at people who claim internet friends aren’t as real as REAL life friends. Thumbing our noses, and pitying them a little, that they do not know the reality of an internet friend. What a lot they miss, when they do not believe.

  14. Happy Birthday to you and the blog, I like a blogging world with you in it . 🙂

  15. You’ve been an inspiration to the rest of us bloggers over the years. Here’s to decade two!

    My decade mark is coming this June. So long as I remember to celebrate it.

  16. Congrats, Neil! I’m glad you were the first person I met at BlogHer 2009, my first such conference (thanks to Avitable for introducing us), and I’m glad I got to introduce you to Georgian BBQ a few years ago when you were in the area. Keep on keeping on, buddy.

  17. Neil, we almost share a birthday, which means nothing no matter what astrology buffs say, but I had to open with something. I’ve always been intrigued and amused by your candor and creativity, and I look forward to the next year’s with great anticipation. And even though, as your Internet friend, I thought you should probably chuck it all and go be with Juli, as a reader, I’m glad you didn’t because I like reading about your dating (and other) adventures.

    Anticipating ten more years of surprises from you, Neil!

    P.S. And little did I foresee, but I may be the one to chuck it all and leave the continent for love. Life is full of surprises! Keep sharing yours.

  18. hello haha narf

    March 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    thanks for all you give, neil. you are appreciated.
    looking forward to the next ten years!

  19. Congratulations on 10 years! Thank you for being one of my first blogging friends. Xoxox

  20. Happy Belated Anniversary and Birthday, Neil!

  21. I’m glad you’re here.

  22. Happy Birthday, Neil. May your adventure continue.

  23. The day you started your blog was the day I started the office job I’m still in now. Your thing is better. Congratulations!

  24. A rather belated comment, but I couldn’t let the occasion pass.

    Neil, you started Citizen of the Month a year before Facebook opened to the public. You didn’t need their help. You made your blog a social medium before “social media” became a full-blown cultural phenomenon.

    People nowadays hold down jobs labelled Social Media Community Manager; few engage a community of interest in the same way you did it, before it was even A Thing.

    I recall the Great Interview Experiment with fondness. Not just cultivating a community, but writing the social history of our time.

    Glad to hear that, over the years, you have found my comments worthwhile. If they show even a small measure of intelligence or insight, it’s a testament to the material that provoked them.

    So, after seven years of following your blog, let me tell you a story that may amuse you. Note, I saymay.

    It was the 16th of June in 2008. Most of the world was waiting that summer to see if the global economy would crash, or simply skid. But it was a time when, from memory, you’d just returned to NYC from LA, and a broken heart eclipsed tales of broken brokers.

    I penned one of my usual wordy missives, which I felt might have been a bit too personal, even unkind. Nonetheless, you dropped me a note to thank me, having found it an interesting take on the process you were going through.

    Three days later, I got an email from Sophia. She also said she appreciated the comment. I thanked her, and remarked that you had sent me an email, too. A further three days passed, before Sophia wrote back to me to determine precisely when you’d sent your email to me, so she could work out if it was before or after the comment had come up in discussion between the two of you. I began to get a sense of your relationship, and felt it better to let that question go unanswered!

    (With the passage of time, I think it’s safe to confirm to Sophia that your mail was so swift it would have preceded any conversation.)

    Look forward to another decade or two following your blog. Nice that we have become 3D pals, too.

    I also look forward to reading the book of the blog, the bittersweet romantic novel of Sophia and Neil, the social history of your Queens apartment building, the how-to guide for social media community managers—why don’t you collaborate with Anastasia on that one?—and the collection of photo essays called Fictional Characters of New York. Reminder: Your mother has publishing connections.

    Oh, and I owe you a final after-shave recommendation. Stay tuned.

    Love, Marty

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