Saturday, January 01, 2005

so, i'm back

Turns out, I really missed blogging. More than I expected I would. Granted, this might be because I never gave myself the chance for the cognitive reorganization required for me to stop regularly thinking about new things I encounter in terms of whether and how a good post could be made from them. I did not give myself this chance, as some of you noticed, because I have been guest-blogging over the last month at a couple of different locations. I've decided to cross-post those posts here, so that when I am an old man who has nothing better to do than review trival things I wrote in my thirties, they will all be in my archives. Rather than reproduce them all to their actual days, I've just posted them all as Xmas morning stocking stuffers. Scroll down if you care.

I do like the idea of resuming posting on New Years' Day. Confession: it's my favorite holiday. I have personally not been much for New Years' resolutions--much less for actually keeping whatever resolutions I do make--but still I love that the calendar provides this day that serves as a point of external annual encouragement to reflect on one's life and to attempt to embark on adjustments. Biographical equilbria are often so strong that anything that offers the possibility of shaking things up, especially in a positive direction, is to be celebrated. Besides, as corny as it might sound, I am ultimately a huge fan of hope, and New Years' Day is all about hope.

What is my hope here? When I went on hiatus, I said blogging had become a bit more of a chore than what I wanted. So my hope, pressing ahead with JFW, is basically to increase the ratio of experiencing "things I like about blogging" to "things I don't like."

What is it that I like about blogging? I like having the outlet. I like being able to have some random thought and being able to put it on display for the world-in-principle-and-a-few-people-in-practice. I think it provides an opportunity to inject a sort of creativity into my day that I was otherwise missing. It's not that being a professor doesn't offer its own (ample) opportunities for creativity, but I'm either a glutton for creativity or there is a mismatch between the creativity I get to exercise in that capacity and whatever it is that I'm doing here. If I had some hobby that was actually art--piano! pottery! painting!--perhaps my blogging impulse would be less.

"Opportunity for creativity" isn't the whole story, though, or else I would just be able to jot down my musings in a notebook and be happy with that. I've wondered a lot about why a notebook seemingly isn't enough for me, especially since I could obviously write with far more candor in a notebook. I do, it seems, like writing for an audience. Apparently, I apparently have a discursive exhibitionist streak. Who would have guessed? I need the idea of readers, at least, while I could probably go quite awhile on delusion alone, known actual readers do, indeed, help propel me along. So there: you are doing me a favor by reading this, as if you did not already realize that.

What don't I like about blogging? If you enjoy blogging, it's easy for it to overstep its boundaries. While other people see their blogs as a much more integral part of Who They Are, personally and professionally, this isn't anything I take that seriously. Really. And that's the way I want it. I do not want this blog to be more than a quite modest part of what I am doing with my life.

I mean this both in terms of the time I spend on this blog and its content. Regarding time, I once had someone opine that in order to have a "successful" blog one must either post multiple times a day (preferably at different times) or must be part of a team blog where this is the cumulative product. Ugh! I don't want any part of that! JFW has no aspirations to be "successful" on those terms. My druthers is to think about success in terms of whether this is something I enjoy doing; as bonus, I'll consider JFW wildly successful if there are two or three people out there who enjoy reading it.

Regarding the content, I keep finding myself fretting that I should really be using my blog to be more of a Public Sociologist, or if not that, at least to be Some Kind of Punditful. When my bloggerly impulses do run in that direction, fine, but I didn't really start into blogging with the image of myself as an emissary bringing sociology to the masses, or as a quasi-op-ed columnist. The better analogy would be that blogging for me is like a cartoon I doodle in my spare time. I have neither the eye nor the fine motor skills to actually be able to draw, but I can type, and so I do this instead. It's a hobby, my own little set of model trains, and one whose content is not usually intended to be any kind of extension of Professional Me.

BTW, I'm going to try to stick to something like a one-or-two-post-per-day model, using the "Save Draft" feature in blogging to help keep content more evenly spread at this pace. And, this post excepted, I am going to keep things short.

BTW-BTW, just because this blog has been on hiatus doesn't mean that it can't win year-end accolades. Take that, Dooce!


Tom Bozzo said...

Glad to see you're (officially) back. Happy new year!

dorotha said...

your blog makes me happy. seriously. and few things make me happy. pretty much just your blog and the laughter of children. and rainbows.

Anonymous said...

It certainly is gratifying to see that Mr. Freese has finally come to his senses - Helpful In New Hampshire

claire said...

Happy new year from another huge fan of hope. Glad to see you're back!

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, I am exuberant that you are back and it is apropos that you return on this day of emancipation. A day when we have permission to free ourselves from the shackles of our routines and live our lives anew. A day when the looking glass of the future is coming into full focus and the year in the rearview mirror begins to go fuzzy around the edges. Welcome back my friend. I am glad that you are sharing your wild and precious life. A belated stocking stuffer for you-thoughts of a wonderful, warm day on this cold, rainy nite:

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Your WebMistress

jeremy said...

Wow. I didn't know I had a WebMistress.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Welcome back. I am glad I didn't take your blog off my bookmarks list. I am also glad I still impulsively checked it daily even though I knew you said you had called it quits.

jeremy said...

I didn't actually call it quits. I just said I was taking a break for all of December and maybe forever. "Maybe not" ended up prevailing.

Joan said...

Heh... I'm here via Althouse and Ocean, two of my favorite blogs. I liked reading about why you left and why you came back. I think you've articulated the allure of blogging very well. I recently had a tough time describing why I blog as often as I do... I wish you had written this sooner!

I've added you to my favorites along with Ocean, and when I finally update my blogroll you'll be there, too. Glad you're back!

Anonymous said...

Who the hell are you?

I type in Jello Freeze on Google and up comes "Did you mean Jeremy Freese?"

I hate blogs.


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