>Yup, I’m finally hoppin’ on the blog bandwagon, after years of being addicted to the blogs of strangers (it all started with the now semi-defunct Like an Orb, whose writer, George, wrote beautifully and poetically and took fabulous digital photos of New York City, including heartbreaking ones on 9/11). Here’s why: I just can’t keep up with keeping in touch with my friends and family by e-mail or letter as much as I’d like. And I feel guilty when I send them my goofy stories of my life in long-winded e-mails because then it’s as if I’m obligating them to read my narratives. Here they can choose to visit or not, as they please and have time to do so.
This blog, then, is intended to be largely personal, a means of keeping in touch with people I already know IRL (in real life), but I welcome new friends and readers if something I’ve written entertains or interests you, or if I’ve been reading your blog and occasionally commenting there or linking to you here. (In fact, I already have a few such “e-quaintances.”) It is not an academic blog, per se, nor is it an issues blog or a political blog. I aim primarily to talk about my life in my new home, what I like about it and what’s been difficult to adjust to, especially given that it’s the smallest and most former-industrial city that I’ve ever lived in. (It’s no Tiny Town, however; the greater metro area is about 300,000, I believe. That said, I grew up in a metro area of 2 million and thereafter spent 15 years of my life in the two biggest cities in the U.S.) But that might be of interest to grad students and prospective grad students who also come from large and largish cities and might face adjusting to a very different life someday, given the realities of the academic job market.
And, of course, I will share all the silly stories that I usually share with friends and family – stories of my unstoppable Freak Magnet (which actually seems to have faded a bit here, although perhaps that’s because people are just less freakish than in the Big Cities), of the discovery of new trends in entertainment such as “car porn,” of my more interesting running-related adventures, of the Stars Hollow quality of my neighborhood, and so on. Alas, my days of funny star-sightings are over, UNLESS Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes do actually get married and she manages to talk him into the big hometown Catholic wedding she wants. I’m only blocks away from the Cathedral, folks! I could rent my apartment to paparazzi! Now *there’s* a reason to blog!
I will not talk about my students or colleagues except in positive terms. If there’s grumbling to be done, I will do it in private. I might occasionally talk about my work the way that GZombie over at Thanks for Not Being a Zombie does. He writes about the research he’s doing or the classes he’s designing, or issues in academia, or what literary studies is about (for those outside of it), but not about his colleagues or students. Also like GZombie, I won’t be totally anonymous. Anyone who tried hard could probably figure out who I am (clues to the city and neighborhood where I live are abundant in the last paragraph), and I may even post pictures of myself in the future; however, I’d just as rather not be obviously Google-able, so I’ll stick to the pseudonym: call me Dr. Virago or just Dr. V in the comments. It’s just too hard to stick to total anonymity. But I’ll protect the innocent and refer to other people by initials or pseudonyms. Feel free to sign your comments with your first name, though, if you’re not already an anonymous blogger.
Why the circumspection? Well, a little over a month ago, The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a “First Person” article by the pseudonymous Ivan Tribble which stirred up quite a bit of controversy and annoyance in the blogosphere. I won’t go into the details here – you can read it yourself – but suffice it to say the title was “Bloggers Need Not Apply.” While my colleagues are generally really cool about wanting me to have a life here and have interests outside of work that keep me sane (as they also have), I don’t really want to advertise to them that I blog in case there’s an Ivan Tribble lurking among them, or in another department, and sitting on the renewal and promotion committee. (In fact, I blog in two places – more on that in a minute.) And then there was the case of the adjunct fired from SMU for writing, pseudonymously, about her students. I don’t think she should have been fired, but I also don’t want to follow her example, just in case. CYA and all that.
Occasionally I might blog on general issues of higher education, although I’m more likely to do that on the group blog to which I belong, CatchingFlies. But that blog has a narrow focus, so if I feel I must make my opinion on something public, and it doesn’t fit CatchingFlies, I’ll blog it here. Check out that blog, btw – we need more readers!
OK, this is all a very boring ‘statement of purpose,’ so I’ll end it here. On to more interesting posts!
PS — I’m slowly adding to the links, btw.