Why Blog? Why Now?
The search for beginnings. So far, I’ve learned that the hardest part about blogging is writing the first post. Many of my close friends have wondered how a prose narcissist like myself could have waited this long to start blogging. I love to have people read my writing, but I’ve been reticent to blog thus far because of latent fears (or perhaps misconceptions) that all blogs are the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” in the pejorative sense of that phrase, or, in other words, verbal diarrhea, a personal diary gone sour and made public.
Of course this isn’t the case. A few friends of mine operate great blogs, and I constantly find myself checking them, somewhat as a voyeur, and admitting to myself that, undeniably, blogging is a great way to stay in touch with people. However, I think my deepest fear has been that my writing a blog will one day keep me from getting an appointment as a professor. A couple years ago I stumbled across an article in The Chronicle for Higher Education (or some similar publication) that relayed a grave truth: hiring committees for positions in academic departments do their homework before offering you a job. They scrupulously comb the web, googling your name, scoping you out on RateMyProfessors.com, and checking to see if you’ve launched any half-baked rants on fascism, the HaleBop cult, or whatever into cyberspace. In sum, the things one writes inevitably have the potential to squelch an otherwise promising job candidacy.
Or so I believed, until recently. It’s not that I now believe what one writes on the web will never matter. Rather, I’ve witnessed enough job talks, faculty meetings, and hiring committee discussions to realize that there are far more damning things I could do to hurt my career than write a blog. For instance, I could continue to procrastinate in the task of reading for my qualifying exams. There seems to be hardly any rationale behind hiring decisions, and a fledging academic’s fate is far more in the throes of fate than I had ever imagined.
Now, I have decided that if I don’t blog, I may never be in position to accept an assistant professor position, a career goal that I once believed blogging would potentially inhibit me from achieving. The reality is that by blogging, I’ll have a chance to keep my writing sharp, keep in touch with people, and most importantly, record some thoughts that may prove to be useful later on. Blogging will be therapeutic, a way to tactfully engage some of the triumphs and travails of graduate school life.
So I thank you for reading the blog. Bookmark it, frequent it, let me know if you have a blog, and leave a comment now and then. They’ll be some changes along the way, especially of the main picture. But for now, it looks pastoral enough for my interests.