This is not the first incarnation of this site, or indeed even of this blog.
Long ago, when the Internet was young and free, I started this site and this blog as a part of a course I was taking with Dr. Fred Gibbs at the University of New Mexico. The course, a seminar on the Digital Humanities, was an important moment for the way I had come to understand the role of computers and information technology and the way it intersected with my interest in material culture and Old English literature. For starters, that’s really where I first started using my long-dormant Twitter account (which, incidentally, remains mostly dormant for now because Twitter is like the unexplored sections of early maps: “there be monsters”).
It’s also where I first started to think seriously about how I could include my fascination with the rapidly expanding digital world in my dissertation. I didn’t know how I’d do it, but I was pretty determined that I would at least do my best to shoehorn some cool computery things into the project. They’ve gotta be good for some pages, at least, right?
Then, well, yeah…the class came to an end and the number of posts to the blog did, too. It’s not that I didn’t have the time or the energy to blog, or even that I was super busy doing other things. I mean, I was working on my dissertation, but that’s such an amorphous, weird pursuit that I certainly could have devoted a bit of time every week to write something here. The trick was that I didn’t feel like I really had anything to say. Incidentally, that’s also a good share of the problem I seem to have with the diss in general, but I’ll get to that in a minute…
Time passed, my marriage ended, I started a new life for myself, started making a bit more progress on my own scholarship, and I even managed to secure funding for myself in the form of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship, which basically pays my bills for a year so I can finish up. I got myself a girlfriend (who lived in a different part of the state), I started walking a lot and losing weight…
…but I still wasn’t writing.
See, the thing that I only sort of grasped all the way through my MA was that, quite simply and elegantly, writing sucks.
I hate it more with every passing day.
It’s not that I don’t know how to write, either; I can turn a phrase with the best of them, crafting each sentence on a mental lathe until it spins just the right shape. Or something.
The truth is that I just don’t believe, at whatever level, that what I have to say is worth reading. There’s just so much awfulness in the world right now that I can’t manage to make myself think about material objects in Old English poetry all that much. We’re killing each other and selling each other out for a quick profit; we spend more time talking about the day’s morally bankrupt tweets than the policies that will shape our world because we can’t even have a conversation about them.
Or maybe I’m just using that as an excuse. I don’t know.
It’s just that I hate writing.
That’s what this blog, then, will be about for the foreseeable future. I figure that I have a lot going on in my head, even if I can’t seem to make any of it circle around the rendering of buildings and other structures in the religious narratives of the Exeter Book. Maybe I can write about other things and eventually start turning these rambles to useful rambles, and then maybe, if I’m lucky, I can transform them into prose that’s good enough to get me through this last stage of my education.
Thus, for the next little while, at least, I’m going to write at least 500 words per day on this blog. Yes, that includes weekends. Habits are funny things, and I’m doing nothing here if I’m not trying to get myself in the habit of expressing thoughts in written form again. It used to all come so easily; I’ll be working to get myself back there again. The topics will vary, but I’ll try to keep up with the categories and other such metadata, just to keep me honest. Tags? Well…we’ll see.
Oh, and I’m going to try to use my own images when I can start remembering to take pictures, so I’ll also be getting going on that. Just know that the featured image for this post is courtesy of Wikimedia and is available via creative commons. The comic above is, of course, Calvin and Hobbes, and I totally just ripped that off of the internet because it’s amazing (as is Bill Watterson). I figure I’ll take it down as soon as someone tells me to do so because at least that way I’ve been in e-mail contact with someone who represents someone who works for a company who, at some time or another, paid Watterson, and I’ll take that degree of contact.
I don’t know where this will go–none of it–not the blog, the dissertation, the thoughts, the country, the world, or even what I’ll do if I succeed and manage to do everything I set out to do. I just don’t know. The thing is it doesn’t really matter; I’m going to find out regardless of what I do. Time is like that. I just need to find something to do while I’m waiting, and I guess I’d prefer that I get something out of that effort if I can.