Saturday, January 1, 2011

birthday cake

Doesn't everyone buy or bake their blog a birthday cake?   Happy 2nd birthday, FTBL!   (when someone referred to it thus in an email, it took me a long while to work out that this wasn't some abbreviation referring to my strange compulsion to watch Rutgers' football team being beaten yet again - at least this year we've been spared trekking through the cold southwestern weather to an empty sports bar in order to watch some minor bowl being contested).  

A year ago, I wondered whether I could, really, continue for another year, and yet knew I couldn't quite stop.   Two years in - I think I'm not quite as maniacally distressed if I can't post absolutely on time (viz last night's power cut) but have, in fact, done so about three hundred and sixty days of this year, with a few straggling numbers.   It's been an odd year from the point of view of writing, since I've not been teaching a photography course (nor will I be, again, till the spring of '12), nor doing as much photography research as I would have like - even if the Flash! book has gathered steam again, most of this year has - academically speaking - been devoted to dragging the Victorian volume of the New Cambridge History of English Literature to what are now, I hope, the last wheezing gasps of the copyediting stage - and whilst that will be most satisfactory when it is, say, in proof, it's hardly conducive to musings about the visual.   Only the "Memory" course that I taught this last semester has really forced its intellectual way into this space, and that, perhaps, not as often as it might have done.

And when it comes to photography - my only real advancement has been falling in love with alternative processes, especially albumen printing, which has hardly found its way here.

And what I have learned, is that although in some ways this reads like a journal, a meditation, a more or less style-polished-on-a-good-day piece of writing; a piece of writing that usually reads as personal, rather than otherwise - I rarely let rip on the political stuff that I talk about in real life, despite the maulings of Higher Education at the hands of New Jersey - and other states - and the new, far from glittering British coalition.   But then, nor do I talk much about the truly personal - chairing the department for half the year?  Not chairing the department for the other half of the year?   Going through the whole anguished business of whether to accept a new job or not, complete with all the tussles of loyalty involved?   All of this seems to have been channelled around, or through, a few cryptic remarks (though I know I have readers out there skilled at reading between the lines), and via the ongoing (well, stalled) saga of trying to sell the house.   Curiously, in all of this, I think I've learned something about the emphases and evasions of memoir writing, let alone the blogging challenges of writing for a largely unknown audience - yet one that's simultaneously private  - in that it includes family and close friends - and public at unsuspecting moments (when being introduced as a plenary speaker, I've found my introducer can know a good deal more about my life than I'd bargained for).   Of course,  by and large, everything that goes up here is Public.

So thank you, loyal readers - and thank you for putting up with the busy days when, at 10.30 at night, all I can find is a drooping flower or a kitty with luminous eyes, and can barely stutter out a sentence or two of commentary.    It's fun, even when it's hard work; it takes me out of myself - sometimes when I most need it - and I'm heading into Year 3.


  1. A very happy blogiversary to you, FTBL, and a very happy new year as well. We love sharing space with you here in the 'sphere. You've got the best eye candy on dog's earth. Paws up to you & yours. Here's to pretty pics and much happiness in 2011.

  2. Congratulations on your two years, Kate! Looking forward to more in the third...

  3. Thank you, dear friends! And the happiest of 2011s to you, too!