All blogging is an exercise in egomania, an arrogant assumption that someone out there will find what is written interesting. I had an inbuilt advantage in this respect, in that people do seem to be weirdly interested in prisons.
Even so, I thought that my blog would at best be a slow burner, gradually infiltrating its way across the web. The last few weeks, then, have been something of a shock. Google my name and at long last I'm not buried under a zillion entries about a pirate. The Guardian gave me a damn good spread and the Independent did a piece on the votes issue. Most bloggers never see such mainstream attention.
Equally surprising is the level of support that I have received. This has not been universal; many of the comments to my Guardian Online articles were viciously incoherent. This is what I mostly expected and challenging such venom was the main point of my starting the blog. I am nothing if not always available for a good argument. This combativeness doesn't detract from my gratitude to those who have made supportive comments or engaged with my arguments.
Most surprising was that I became a story in its own right. I laid out my stall in my initial posts, in that I hoped to provoke debate. This was never intended to spark any sort of campaign over my imprisonment, only over prison per se.
This places me in a dilemma. Should I now ride the wave and foster a campaign on my behalf? Or should I continue the blog as originally intended? Given my unexpected prominence and audience, it would be selfish of me to merely promote myself and my situation. In which case, I have decided to continue the blog as intended, that is to be a general commentary but added to with a greater intrusion of my personal situation. Little pieces of autobiography can serve as useful illustrations to a broader point. Trying to please everybody risks pleasing nobody, I realise, but the truth is that I am but one amongst many and if I can use my situation to raise awareness of the general situation then it is only proper that I should do so.
And having gained a following, the temptation is to avoid saying anything that could upset anyone. But those who know me would explain just how unlikely that is. I hope to continue being challenging and I can only hope that this is taken in the spirit in which it is offered.
All in all, the past few weeks have been a very surprising turn of events. Thanks for your involvement.