The first question, of course, may be “Where did you go?” And the answer is “Nowhere.” Not in the physical sense. But I did step back from blogging for a while for a variety of reasons.
One: It took a lot of time, time that could be spent on other pursuits. Things like writing. And of course, real life. This is not to say that blogging became an all consuming activity. However, I did feel a self-imposed pressure to write three or more posts per week, review every book I read, comment on various current events, and so on. This ate into my free time, not my family time–I write and do things like this when I am alone and have no other responsibilities, obligations, or duties to attend to–which kept me from other things that I should be doing.
Two: The blog was a mess. Topically, it was all over the place. I chalk this up to its humble beginnings chronicling my job search, which grew into a weird sort of self-help/self-improvement type of thing with a smattering of cultural commentary. Book reviews soon followed, and then movie reviews, and then politics, and on and on and on . . . by the time I started writing seriously, and then publishing books, posts about the art and craft of writing became yet another node on the strange on-line community I’d created.
Third: Too much dirty laundry. Too much “journaling” and not enough blogging. Nobody needs to hear about my problems. They don’t belong online.
So it had to go.
Like Pete Townshend smashing his guitar, or some Dadaist engaging in a bit of auto-destruction, hitting the “nuke” button on the old blog felt good. I was free! Suddenly, I didn’t feel compelled to chronicle every single thing I did and saw. I wrote more. I did other things with my time. It was nice. But I did miss the outlet. And I did miss the cathartic nature of getting thoughts on page and sharing them with a commentariat who both knew its stuff, taught me, and helped keep me honest.
Let’s call this a retooling then, not a rebranding. I hate that term, by the way. While I do have my own style of thinking and writing, I am not a “brand.” This commodification of everything under the sun in the United States, including and especially art, drives me nuts. Can’t we just be normal?
This new site is to help me promote my writing, but I’ll also be sharing thoughts and news and other cultural happenings I think deserve more of an audience. The mailing list is still your best bet for the latest about what’s going on around here, but the blog will be for deeper thoughts and more focused analysis.
Thoughts and analysis about what is the next logical follow up question. Here is your answer: I am going to make a valiant attempt to keep this blog focused on books, writing, and culture, and how they intersect. Partisan politics, to the extent that they can be avoided without touching on one of my areas of interest, will be avoided.
Beyond that, the sky is the limit. I am not going to promise much more than one or two post per week. Anything beyond that is gravy.
Thanks for checking out the new, revamped, and refocused blog of A. Hellene author–your humble Hellene author–and may you find something to think about, and something to read.