New look, new ideas

This site has languished for quite some time as I’ve been busy with coursework, buying a house, etc. Now, I think I’ve finally gotten it where I want it.

When I started this site I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be, exactly. I played around with some ideas and never quite felt satisfied. But now, and with remarkably little conscious thought, I think I’ve figured it out.

Some time ago, when I was still teaching high school English, I found myself “afflicted” with hypergraphia. I would write, and write, and write, like I had to drain the words out of myself or risk rupturing something. At the time I also experienced periods of hypomania. Just the depressive parts, without any of flights of intense experience characterized by full-blown bipolar disorder. Writing, I found, helped me keep those hypomanic episodes comparatively mild. I keep all my notebooks, so I could probably excavate these old torrents of words and examine them, but that doesn’t seem wise. I still feel the compulsion to write, and still experience hypomania on occasion, but now I’m beginning to understand what to do with my writing and how to channel it. To look back at my earlier discharges now seems like a kind of sacrilege or an exhumation. Better to let the dead horse lie.

I’ve been in graduate school for a long time, with (theoretically, haha) several more years still to go. I enjoy grad school and find it stimulating, but I’ve also come to realize that a big part of why I wanted to pursue it in the first place was to find a way out of a bad situation. With a boring career of teaching English staring at me behind the barrel of a gun, anything more intellectually stimulating seemed appealing, and I jumped in with enthusiasm.

I’m less enthusiastic these days (or maybe the enthusiasm has mellowed with age), and now realize that my writing and other projects no longer need to be a “way out.” Hence the renewal and revitalization of this site. Here, I can pursue thoughts and inclinations in a more relaxed manner than I can in my coursework. While I’m busy specializing in my academic life, I can indulge my generalist habits with this site as a working space, portfolio, and archive. My academic work will no doubt occasionally bleed into these pages, but it won’t be my main concern here.

And now, after the preamble, the new program.

  • I’m in the midst of reading Hubert Dreyfus’s and Sean Dorrance Kelly All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age and will post an essay on it – or maybe several essays – here soon(ish).
  • I will also be holding myself to a regular posting schedule of Reports from the Workshop: what I’m reading, writing, thinking about, etc.
  • I’ve also hashed out the skeleton of a new long-term project on botanical gardens. You can check out the page for that project in the menu above. It’s fairly ambitious, so I’m not holding myself to any deadlines. After all, there’s no professor here to assign me a due date.
  • Finally, I have some other ideas in the works as well, one involving photography, landmarks, and geo-tagging. More on that to come later, since I have to learn how to take better pictures first.

That’s all for now.

Announcement: major overhaul soon

For a while now this blog has languished, neglected. I didn’t have a plan when I started it, so it turned into a kind of catch-all. Recently some developments and chance encounters have helped me gain a more specific sense of what I’d like this blog to be for and about. All this to say, at some point in the relatively near future I’ll be making some significant changes to the site. The posts that are already up will stay up, but will probably be moved around some. I’ll also clean up the tags, change how I organize things, and hold myself to something resembling a regular posting schedule. I’ll also create a distinction between the blog portion of the site (regular, short essays on current thoughts, projects, etc.) and other sections with longer and more polished essays and other things.

Some of the topics I’m thinking of including in the material I post here include thoughts about gardening, horticulture, and ecology. I’ll also be doing some philosophy (since hopefully that’ll eventually be my job). I’m especially interested in the question of how space is perceived qualitatively and affects human life, maybe a kind of phenomenology of space. Some of the posts will doubtless reflect my current coursework or interests, so there’ll still be a grab-bag element but with a bit more direction. Think “antique shop” rather than “garage sale.”

Since this is a personal website, all opinions will remain my own and any mistakes should be read as not only intentional, but deep and thought-provoking.

That’s all. Now, back (?) to our regularly scheduled programming.

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