Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hey, why are people starting to leave?

First Michael Bérubé.

Then Ancrene Wiseass.

And now New Kid.

More and more of the bloggers who got me into this thing -- indirectly or directly -- seem to be taking blogging sabbaticals. And Eileen Joy at In the Middle asked if we all had blog ennui, or what?

I have to say, I'm a little bit with all of these folks in some way or another. Bérubé talks about how much mental time blogging takes up -- even when you're not doing it; Wiseass* says she worries that blogging has become "something rather more official, high-profile, and authoritative than it used to be," and therefore not what she needs it for (and Eileen takes this up in her post); and New Kid suggests that she feels guilt when she doesn't blog.

I get it. I totally get it. At one time or another I have felt all those things. And now I feel a bit like I'm being a hanger-on at a party that's winding down, especially since Wiseass is most directly the reason I got into blogging, first by reading a now defunct blog she had some time ago when I was in my first year on the tenure-track and just trying to keep in touch with all my far-flung friends. And it's her blog that led me to Bérubé and New Kid.

But, of course, there are still a lot of you lovely people out there and new blogs popping up all the time -- just look at my blogroll! -- and my RSS feed is constantly updating. So this party certainly is not over yet.

Besides, I have lots of stuff to talk about, including topics that may actually interest other people. For one thing, I had a *great* teaching week this past week and I felt great energy in the classroom, and I wondered if undergraduate teaching, which is all I'm doing this semester, just does that more than graduate teaching (which is all I did last semester). Maybe I'll post more on that tomorrow, because there are other factors involved and of interest (like class size and setting).

And in other news, next week I'm meeting with my chair to talk about planning for possibly going up for tenure a year early next year, and planning all that out. I may also still go on the market again -- at the same time -- next year, depending on just how unwelcome our new administration continues to make folks feel who aren't in applied sciences or professional programs, and how Bullock and I would be able to swing it. There's a lot to talk about there, both personal and professional.

And I'm still trying to figure out how to talk about what makes me cranky about stuff around here -- and how it's really not just local, either -- without shooting myself in the foot. My "speaking for the dead" post was just a start.

So I've got things to say and I'm sticking around. But sometimes it takes me a little while to formulate it or to find the time to say it. My blog has always been a once-every-few-days blog, but I thought I should re-iterate that, given all these other leaves of absence.

*I know most people address her as Ancrene, but I'm a pedant here. The title she puns on, Ancrene Wisse, means roughly "A Guide for Anchoresses," with "Wisse" being the guide. So therefore, "Ancrene Wiseass" should mean "A Wiseass for Anchoresses," thus making the blogger Wiseass. Besides, she *is* a wiseass. :)


Bardiac said...

It makes me sad when folks take a break or quit blogging. I understand their many reasons, but it still makes me feel a loss.

meg said...

It's like people moving away (or taking sabbatical). But as you say, new people move in.

Tiruncula said...

I'm glad you're sticking around! I would feel bereft if I gave up the outlet of my personal blog, even though the readership is small, and I was just starting to feel like I was getting a sense for how I wanted to use the public blog. So I'm sticking around.

I'm glad to join you in affectionately NOT calling A. Wiseass by a genetive plural :) When she first started blogging, I remember asking how she wanted to be addressed, but the question was buried deep in a comment thread.

Dr. Virago said...

Bardiac and Meg - Yes! Exactly! Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels a loss. It's a little weird, isn't it. I mean, in these three particular cases, I've met the person behind the blog, but I still feel the same when someone I regularly read but haven't met closes shop.

And Tiruncula -- Ha! I should've known you would understand the whole A. Wiseass issue! :) (As I'm sure all the other medievalists and linguists do.) But I've seen her refer to herself as "Ancrene" (probably because everyone else does) so I know I'm in the minority.

And btw, I know I haven't been present on either of your blogs much. Mea culpa. But I've been thinking of a response to your Practica post about the state of Anglo-Saxon studies.

What Now? said...

For me, the beauty of Bloglines or some other aggregator is that it makes it very possible for bloggers to post every few days or once a week or the like and still have regular readership, which for me makes blogging a non-anxious, no-guilt thing. But then, I'm all about lowering expectations enough so that the work is actually enjoyable, and apparently I pursue the same philosophy with blogging.

Geoffrey Chaucer said...

Let thys be the first place that ich shal anouncen that ich, also, shal be taking doun myn blogge. Yt is far too much werke for me yn this bisy tyme. Peraventure oon day ich shal retourne.


Gentil rederes, ye haue y-punkid ben.

Heere ich am, and heere ich staye. Yt gladneth my herte that thou makst no talk of leavinge, for thy blog muchel pleseth me.

Le Vostre

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any idea what happened to Mommy Prof (of Office Hours)?

Dr. Virago said...

Damn, Geoffrey, you scared me there for a moment! How terrible would it be if you left your blog work unfinished?! ;)

WN - Yes, all hail feed aggregators. They're also the best way to find out when a blogger's hiatus is over, as I hope some of these will be.

Anon -- I wish I had an answer for you. Anyone else?

Anniina said...

I'm glad you're not going anywhere!

As to the undergrad v. grad, I think maybe it's because the undergrads haven't had the joy of reading kicked out of them yet - they're not so serious or so cautious in class, which makes for a more relaxed environment. Also the pressure is so much less; no-one expects them to be ready to go out and teach and write journal articles tomorrow. They're on the first rung of the ladder, so they're not yet exhausted, and the future doesn't loom quite so close.

Wow, I turned into a doom-and-gloom-maven right there. Sorry!

Self-Congratulator said...

Please don't leave!!! Losing a blog you like is like losing a friend, and I feel like "we've only just begun."

Tenured Radical said...


My read on Berube is that he felt he had hit the limits on the genre and is looking for the next best way to push the envelope. And after the burst of energy he put on this fall, no wonder. I think for those of us who don't do modern cultural studies (read: what happened yesterday, and what does it mean?)

I just joined the party, so no way am I leaving. I also find that blogging can be a kind of warm-up before I wrote that relaxes me (like doing scales); a way of talking about university life that would just be gossip if I did it at Zenith; and a way of keeping writing on days I don't really have time -- or can't, for soome reason -- get down to my work.

And as to New Kid's guilt: I get it, but I also think it is displacement. I think a lot of us academics have free-floating guilt about what we are not doing (this is a subtle theme on many posts). I, for example, used to have large piles of unread llibrary books around my study, which I renewed faithfully every term, until I figured out that I would not be able to read them even if I took a whole year off and did nothing but read. So I took them all bck, having decided that their basic function was to silently whisper "J'accuse!" no matter how much work I got done.

Enough. Glad you are sticking around. And the dog post is hilarious.



Tenured Radical said...

Sorry -- I didn't finish my first graph. That sentence ends "..blogging will continue to be a creative and generative way of expressing ourselves.

Particularly for those of us with ADD.


History Geek said...

I'm still here mostly. Winter break was crazy, and I haven't found the mental time to blog much.

Hey is there going to be another meet-up a k'zoo this year?

Karl Steel said...

Seconded! All of In the Middle will be at Kzoo, and I trust I'll not be the only one representing us if there's a meetup. Now, DV lifted a lot of weight on organizing it last year...although I suppose if we just meet at the same place and reserve a table on, say, Thursday 4pm, that would save some of the planning?

Dr. Virago said...

Actually, Karl, there was some talk after last year's meeting of maybe having a breakfast meet-up this time. I don't want to rule anything out this early.

But hey, can we table this discussion at *least* until spring break, please?

Karl Steel said...

Breakfast! Fine! Table away!