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.

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