Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It’s funny how things work out sometimes…

I was drawn to the Public History program at Western in part because I thought that a program that required students to actively reflect on the process of becoming practitioners of history was supremely interesting and right up my alley. I like to think about process, and I identify with what E.M. Forster once wrote, and that is: “How can I know what I think till I see what I say?” Writing is for me (as for others, I imagine) a process of not only refining my thoughts on a particular topic but also discovering them. (As an undergraduate, I waited for theses to emerge in my papers -- sometimes, I confess, near the end of the drafting process -- with as much apprehension as a 10-year-old staring at a Magic 8-Ball after she’s asked some all-important life question…like: Is Tyler really the one I’m going to marry?)

...and yet, here I am, “slogging” (both in the literal sense and as a spin-off to Andrew’s apt amalgamation) my way through my first introductory post, after having spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking up a two-and-a-half word blog title.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a little distracted by all the thoughts and opinions about academic blogging that I’ve read this past week. The good, the bad, and the in-between. I wonder who (besides my Public History colleagues) will actually read this blog and for whom exactly I’m writing. I wonder if I’ll have anything original to add in an already proliferating blogosphere. (I appreciated Matthew’s comment about the burden that originality poses.) And I wonder if my posts will deteriorate by mid-November into navel-gazing comments about breakfast (hopefully not, as I tend to skip it).

Mostly, I wonder how I will navigate the rather alien terrain of the digital world, from blogging to web-building, when, as an appreciator of old things, I’ve mostly not kept up with the new. (I just sent my first ever text message last week; the iPhone, frankly, scares me.) Nevertheless, I hope somehow to be able to speak what Manan Ahmed calls "future-ese," to be able to learn (some of) the language of the programmer over the course of this year so that I can begin to "re-imagine", as Ahmed has exhorted, the old in new ways. I’m excited, if duly daunted, by the prospects.

Now where’s a Magic 8-Ball when one needs it?

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