Last year, I paid anniversary tribute to a number of folks who had made my first 10 years of blogging so great, from individuals like Irene Martyniuk and Rob Velella to groups of people like Guest Posters and crowd-sourced post posters to, well, you! I still thank all of those folks, but this year wanted to go in a different, familial direction for my anniversary tributes, highlighting one thing about each of the four fellow writers that most inspires me in my work here (and everywhere):
1) Dad: One thing I really love about my Dad’s scholarly writing has been that he’s never afraid to bring his own perspective and opinions in, clearly and engagingly. So much academic and scholarly writing is afraid of the writer’s perspective (hence that stupid rule about avoiding personal pronouns, which I don’t follow and you shouldn’t either)—blogging has thoroughly cured me of that fear, but I had a great model for doing so in the collected works of Steve Railton.
2) Mom: One thing I really love about my Mom’s evolving creative writing career has been her willingness to rethink, rework, and revise. Writing is so intensely personal that, for many if not most of us, revision can feel like a painfully invasive process (there’s a reason why the phrase “kill your darlings” exists). But it doesn’t have to, not if we recognize that it’s all about making our writing communicate in all the ways we most want it to. I’m not saying it’s been easy for her, but my Mom has modeled consistent and very effective revisions, and as I’ve worked to make that more a part of my work here, I’ve been inspired quite a bit by that model.
3) Aidan: Writing seems to come very naturally to my older son (guess those multi-generational genes are doing their thing), and there’s a lot about his voice and style that inspire me. But one thing that’s been part of his writing from a very early age has been his sense of humor—a sense of humor that is also at least in part inherited from his Dad, but that, I will freely admit, I struggled in the blog’s early years to include in my writing and posts here (as in all my early scholarly writing). If I’ve been able to bring my sense of humor more into the blog over the last few years, as I hope and believe I have, inspiration from Aidan’s consistently witty writing has been a key reason why.
4) Kyle: My younger son is as much of a perfectionist about writing as he is about everything in his life, which is the source of his prodigious talents in so many areas but also the source of much frustration for him. Watching him work so hard to come up with a perfect topic for a paper or piece of writing, when I know he’s already got a ton of great ideas bubbling around his amazing brain, can be a tough one for his Dad. But at the same time, Kyle never settles, never does anything that he doesn’t really commit to and give his all, and I hope and believe I’ve brought that same philosophy to this blog and all its (less than perfect but very heartfelt) topics and ideas over the years.
Here’s to the next 11 years! Next series starts Monday,
PS. You know what to do: say hi!