Why a blog? Why now?

Back in 2004, when blogs were everywhere, some friends and I started a group blog that would take the conversations we were having about politics, culture, and academic life into a more public realm, in a medium that was faster than academic publishing, slower than the news. Instead of sound bites and “hot takes” (before hot takes were a thing), we aimed for thoughtful longer form blog essays on everything from the war in Iraq to NASCAR, Sufjan Stevens, and other pop culture phenomena. We were writing mostly for each other and a small group of readers, and we posted regularly for a good two or three years. Then career changes and babies came along. And then Facebook and Twitter eclipsed blogs.

This is my solo venture. I’m coming back to blogging, because after writing posts that are a little too long for Facebook, but that often got positive responses and a few “you should publish this” comments, I realized I like writing stuff and sharing it. But the idea of trying to get my writing published just stresses me out — it’s a lot of work; it’s not the part of the writing process I want to spend my time on; I’m not trying to become a professional writer. At middle age, I thought about what I really wanted out of writing: learning what I think about the topics and questions that preoccupy me most, and connecting with readers, i.e. writing as a mode of thinking and of conversation. And it’s fine with me if those readers are mostly my friends and acquaintances.

At a friend’s suggestion, I looked into going the Tinyletter route, a subscription-based email newsletter that keeps content more private and the audience more curated. In the end, though, I chose semi-anonymous and public as opposed to not anonymous and semi-private. I think writing publicly will keep me more disciplined and mindful, but without the pressure of having “subscribers” who are expecting regular content (or who may find the newsletter in their inbox a bit too intrusive). Anyway, here we go.

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