Good question. I think we know what’s replaced blogging — 95% social media, 3% Medium, 2% newsletters. And yes, yes, RSS being killed by Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter, etc. was the technical death knell of blogging. But blogging software is… still here, installed all over the place. And there’s nothing stopping me from using WordPress for its original intent; I’ve had this domain and WordPress installed on it for about 15 years, even though I haven’t blogged for about a decade.
During the ongoing pandemic, watching the USA slide deeper into fascism, and all the resultant social unrest, I’ve found myself getting pretty exhausted by social media. I can’t handle the doomscrolling, the incessant need to post pictures of my kids, the nonstop “hot takes,” and the constant shaving of new memes off of the endlessly rotating döner kebab of Twitter.
For the sake of my sanity, I backed away from social media. I’m just not going to do that bullshit anymore. But, I’m replacing them with two things — a Discord to chat with like-minded folks (post a comment if you’d like an invite) and a new blog! Or is it an old blog? I don’t know anymore, but this is it.
Long ago in internet time, blogs were really fun, loose, and easy. My very first blog from almost two decades ago is somehow still up!? Blogs weren’t about a writer trying to get a book deal, they weren’t about trying to improve one’s academic standing or (god forbid) become “an influencer.” To my eyes, they were just ways to connect with others and to find a way to share one’s self with the world (or at least that’s what it was about to me). Blogs were mixtures of public/personal journals, solipsistic spaces to bash out silly ideas, and opportunities to rant on something that bugged you without breaking them up into 140- or 280-tweet threads.
I miss the world that gave rise to these things, and even if it’ll just be me posting into the void for a while, I’m going to try to start blogging again. I will write about my academic interests occasionally, but I’ll largely be putting down my thoughts about whatever I feel like — this may end up being longer-form writing at times and newslettery style lists of links at other times. I dunno! I hope it’ll be fun?
I might post about a game I’m playing, or why I’m obsessed with a particular kind of fiction, what I think about the dumpster fire that is American politics, or maybe just a series of recipes for soups. To start, I’ll be writing about the things that have come across my mind while in perpetual lockdown: Role-playing games of various sorts; Netrunner and Arkham Horror living card games; my sudden obsession with the Gothic horror revival of the 1960s; the comics of the (sadly late) Richard Sala; my reread of the Sherlock Holmes Canon and my dive into online Sherlockiana; the joys of slowly watching The Rockford Files; my new, weird interest in old, weird pulp magazines; why What We Do in the Shadows is the only tolerable TV comedy right now; trying to make new comics, inspired by Edward Gorey, Eddie Campbell, and Julia Gfrörer; my expectations and fears for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune; my conflicted feelings about being an Alamo Drafthouse fanboy given the awful revelations about it as a workplace; cooking shows, the Bon Appétit YouTube channel, and why YouTube instructional cooking video drama still holds an appeal for me as an aging adult; and, well, other stuff I’m sure.
In sum, there’s no real theme here other than writing about whatever I’m into at the moment. While I’ll restructure the site to keep my professional info on here in some fashion, it’s time to bring WordPress back from the dead — away from the cold, static death of a “professional website” and into something a little more sloppy, genuine, and me.
I’ll start by doing just that tomorrow — I’ll begin by discussing some games I’ve been interested in lately, and how they’re both reflective of what I love about game design, what I dislike about writing, and how fiction is useful for coping during trying times. I hope you’ll come back and read it!