If you are anything like me, you have at least one forgotten blog somewhere in cyberspace. Once upon a time you started it, thinking to yourself, “Hey, it’s free, and it would be cool to write down my thoughts for posterity, and everybody else does it, so – why not?”
The first blog I ever started was eight years ago, right around the birth of my only child. At the time I was apparently both interested in having a mommy blog and also worried about “losing my identity” or some such nonsense, judging from the title I gave it: Not Just Augustin’s Mom (http://notjustaugustinsmom.blogspot.com/). Or perhaps I was worried that if I had a second child s/he might feel jealous of not having a blog with her/his name on it. Whatever the case was, the blog apparently took a back seat to actually parenting my child rather than writing about him (not to mention writing a dissertation, maintaining a marriage and friendships, and starting a new teaching job). It was also long before the fateful day that I joined Facebook, so I would have had no way to publicize it other than deliberately emailing it to my friends and family, which I would have felt weird doing. The blog withered (the only comments on it are spam!), but my kid is alive and well.
I started another blog last year after I wrote my first online opinion article and got some hate mail. I wasn’t sure what to do with the horror and anxiety that arose from my first encounter with “trolls,” so I became a stereotype and started a blog. As it turns out, I didn’t have enough material for a whole blog on what to do with internet trolls, so that died pretty much straight out of the gate. Then this summer I started a sabbatical blog for purposes of tracking and reflecting upon my activities during this academic year (http://delinquentprofessor.wordpress.com/). But that, too, was uninspiring. How many posts can I possibly write about how I wander around my house meowing like a lonely cat, trying to figure out what to do with myself when I have no schedule and no one asking me to do anything or be anywhere?
I genuinely admire people who can pick a theme and go with it, day in and day out, year after year. How does Colin Beavan limit himself to thinking about reducing his impact on the environment? How does Gretchen Rubin write about nothing but happiness? How does Jessica Valenti manage to tie everything in life to women’s sexuality? How does Karen Maezen Miller stick to Zen and the art of parenting? Each of these formidable writers demonstrates a focus and a drive that I do not share and can hardly relate to. I am a somewhat low-energy, mildly introverted people person, and my brain is a classic “monkey mind,” jumping from topic to topic, from fascination to boredom, from hope to despair. I am actively working on bringing my monkey mind under control, but I sense the moment that I achieve that will be a long time coming. In addition, I have trouble committing to just one thing when there are so many fascinating rabbit holes out there to explore. (It’s kind of the same reason I don’t have a tattoo – what could I possibly print on myself that I would still want to look at in forty years, or even next week?)
But in the meantime, I love to write. I suppose I could try to monetize this love in some way, like this talented but cynical writer who uses the pseudonym “Ed Dante” [http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/], but truthfully, I’m not that bad off. I have gainful employment and do not need to pimp out my writing proclivities to the highest bidder. I even have tenure, so I can write totally stupid things if I want (within very broad limits) and sign my real name to them. Like many bloggers, I tend to write about myself, because, shit, you’re supposed to write about what you know, and I feel as if I don’t know a damn thing about anything other than myself. Seriously, I think I get dumber and dumber every day.
So here I am, starting yet another blog. This time I am taking off the pressure to be consistent in my interests; I’m not starting a mom blog, or a religion blog, or a sabbatical blog, or an insert marketable topic here blog. This time I am going to write whatever I feel like writing, about whatever is on my mind at the moment – parenting, movies, books, teaching, sex, religion, academia, politics, food, friendship, technology, yadda yadda. (I’m pretty sure sports will never show up here, nor math – sorry Mr. Gillen, I know you tried!) This time, if I don’t try too hard to make my blog “just so,” maybe it’ll stick.