Unspreading

I attend­ed a doc­tor­al defense yes­ter­day at my school. Ours is not a huge fac­ul­ty, so there are less than a hand­ful of these excit­ing events each school year. I try to make it to all of them that are in lan­guages I can com­pre­hend (so, the ones in Eng­lish). After three years of this, a def­i­nite behav­ioral pat­tern has set in for me. I always sit alone, I always bring too much stuff with me, I always take a great num­ber of ran­dom notes (more than I do in any of my cours­es), and I always have some sort to of mini-break­through moment that has noth­ing to do with the for­mal aca­d­e­m­ic dra­ma being enact­ed on the stage before me.

Yesterday’s epiphany du jour was this: I have too many blogs. Now, I real­ize that every­one read­ing this already knew that, and have known that with great clar­i­ty for a long long time. And I knew it, too, at a cer­tain lev­el. What I did not do was admit it, to myself or any­one else. I was deeply com­mit­ted to the notion that I need­ed to keep cer­tain spheres of inter­est quar­an­tined from each oth­er in my sprawl­ing online pres­ence. The end result was a huge tan­gle of redun­dan­cy on mul­ti­ple sys­tems that result­ed in almost com­plete ces­sa­tion of any actu­al writ­ing and posting—the activ­i­ty that was pur­port­ed­ly the whole point of these shenani­gans.

I had spent a con­sid­er­able amount of ener­gy this sum­mer try­ing to map out the dis­tinct spheres and ‘brands’ of my two main per­son­ae: the cre­ative writer and the canon­ist. These two modes, each a very impor­tant por­tion of my inte­gral self, could not, I had long decid­ed, be allowed to inter­min­gle. This was less about me as the writer and more about my imag­ined audience(s): I could not imag­ine most of the read­ers of my sassy Float­ing Egg prose want­i­ng to even see my researched analy­ses of canon­i­cal top­ics, nor did I think the churchy souls at whom I was aim­ing my Prairie Canon­ist work would take well to the often-irrev­er­ent ran­dom humor I have so long delight­ed in here.

I can­not com­ment on whether these fears were ground­less or not: the sub­se­quent paral­y­sis of my writ­ten out­put ren­dered the point moot. There were no read­ers to object one way or the oth­er, since I was giv­ing no por­tion of my intend­ed audi­ence any­thing to read. I was no longer a writer, it seemed, but mere­ly a blog col­lec­tor.

And so it was yes­ter­day, as I opened my project folio to the attempt I had made this sum­mer to make sense of this dual­ism, that I said: Enough. I am the per­son I am, I have the assort­ed (and at times seem­ing­ly-con­flict­ing) inter­ests that I have, and I write what I write. There was sim­ply no legit­i­mate rea­son for me at this stage to attempt to jug­gle so many dif­fer­ent organs for my own work, espe­cial­ly when doing so was ensur­ing that I was pro­duc­ing no work any­way. And besides all that, were my var­ied writ­ings real­ly as incom­pat­i­ble as I had con­vinced myself they must be? Prob­a­bly not.

And so I am in the midst of an over­haul of my online land­scape, this time focused on prun­ing back rather than break­ing ever more ground for future hypo­thet­i­cal cul­ti­va­tion. The first stage I am focus­ing on is the main one: this blog. Giv­en the exten­sive his­to­ry of The Float­ing Egg as a fun­da­men­tal part of my per­son­al brand, there was no ques­tion in my mind that this site was not going to go away. Instead, my efforts as A Prairie Canon­ist have been port­ed over here. I am keep­ing the two modes dis­tinct (for now) by means of con­trib­u­tor names. Of course, being that I have plunged into this quite impul­sive­ly (sur­prise!) I am build­ing the air­craft in flight, so the look and feel of the site will be in flux for a (hope­ful­ly) short time while I shake things out and work out the kinks of my new con­cep­tion of what I am about here.

But then—for realsies this time—I am going to write some words, and then let you read them (with the least pos­si­ble effort on your part). And then we’ll go from there.

1 Comment

  1. I like the merge of iden­ti­ties — or is that an extinc­tive union?! Per­haps ‘merg­ing’ parish­es isn’t such a bad idea after all …

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