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Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010: Five for Five

Five years ago today, at about 8 o’clock in the morning, my older son Aidan was born. I thought about taking on another one of those generally agreed-upon narratives for this post—the one that says that the second your child is born you are consumed by a love like no other, and that every second with the new child is this perfect new high that you never before knew or imagined; I agree that such emotions are present, but I think that much of the first month or two (especially) with a newborn is consumed by exhaustion and frustration and craziness, and I believe that the more I can let new parents and parents-to-be in on the fact that they shouldn’t feel guilty about the love not being all that they immediately feel and not always even the main thing, the better (since I hadn’t really known much of that and so did feel guilty at some of those times when exhaustion or frustration were the main things)—and, well, I guess I just kind of did take on that narrative. For a paragraph, anyway.
But to keep things slightly more topical to this blog’s focal points, and yet still to honor this occasion and do things a bit differently today, I decided for the rest of this post to highlight five plans that I have for the blog for 2011. Almost all of them, as you’ll see, really depend mostly or even entirely on you guys, so pay attention (although there won’t be a quiz later)!
1)      Making it easier to find past entries. Couple of ways I plan to do this, hopefully in the next couple weeks: creating a Chronological Topic Archive where every entry’s main subject(s) are highlighted, since I know the entry titles don’t usually make them clear; and creating a Category Index where you can find all the entries that focus especially on (for example) movies, or novels, or a historical event, or etc. (Addition: I do, I just learned, already have a Search function; the box at the upper left allows you to search just this blog. So there's that already, anyway.)
2)      Leaving one link open for each entry. I don’t plan on cutting one of the existing two out, but rather making it three links to start with and leaving the third one open. Partly that’s so (in response to a good suggestion) I can add another link down the road if I see something that relates to a past entry. But even more ideally, this would be so that if you read an entry and know of something (anything) that relates, you can let me know, whether in comments or by email (, and I’ll try to add it.
3)      Including guest posts. My ideal here is that one post per week (probably on a particular day, such as Saturday) will be written by a guest blogger, on a topic of his or her choice. I have a bunch of people in mind whom I’ll be contacting to solicit potential posts, but am always also open to suggestions, whether self-nominations or people you’d love to hear from in this space; again, you can let me know that either in comments or by email.
4)      Taking requests. Is there a particular historical issue or event, or a figure, or a text or work of any kind, or a ______, that you’re interested in reading and thinking more about? Well, obviously I’d encourage you to read and think (and write!) about it yourself, but while you’re doing so I’d definitely love the opportunity to do so as well, and I’m sure I’d learn a ton in the process. So requests for topics, again whether in comments or by email, will be greatly appreciated, and I’ll try to post on them very soon after the request is made (since my daily schedule is entirely flexible).
5)      Including my own work a bit more fully. Another couple of requests have related to this, and while I don’t want the blog to become even vaguely just a mirror of my scholarly work (it’s a parallel to it for sure, and I would say ideally a part of it since I’m trying to make that work more public in every sense, but it’s its own thing and I like it that way), I certainly don’t want to act as if that work isn’t engaged with many of these same questions and issues and texts and topics. And so I think I’ll try to focus another one entry per week (again maybe on the same day each week, perhaps Sunday) on something that I’m working on in my scholarly work in one way or another.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading, happy 2011, and more tomorrow, on one of my favorite recent American texts, a work that uses the holiday season in general and the New Year’s holiday specifically in very prominent structural and thematic roles.
PS. Two links to start with, as a little preview of that guest blogging thing:
1)      Musings on life, family, society, politics, sports, and plenty more from one of the best students and American Studiers I’ve ever worked with:
2)      She says it’s just about reading, but luckily this friend and fellow prof has felt free to venture into a wide and interesting variety of other interests too:

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