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Hiatus

17:39 Sun 27 Oct 2013
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I’ve been blogging regularly since 01 August 2006: every day for that first year, five times per week for four years after that, and at least once per week since 01 August 2011. Now it’s time for a break.

As the recently increasing number of short posts indicates, I’ve been struggling to write pieces of the kind I want. When I started the once-per-week schedule, the idea was that it would give me the time to regularly write longer pieces. That worked initially, but isn’t working now.

I’ve been struggling with what to write about, which has been the main problem during these years of blogging. In addition, however, I’ve been struggling to finish pieces I’ve started. It’s been an occasional issue for me that I’d start a piece and then not be able to get it to a point where I could bring it further—but over the last months that’s been happening more and more.

This is connected to the “Political Writing Burnout” I wrote about in March, and that piece remains relevant. At the same time, my creative writing hasn’t been flowing. Again, it’s possible that a more focused blog would make it easier to handle periods like this. But given the choice to write about anything, I seem to be finding topics I end up having trouble writing about.

Another issue is the technical side of my blog: this site is really slow now, and I’m eager to get off of WordPress, but just don’t have the time to devote to it at the moment. I hope to spend time on that instead of banging my head against a wall trying to figure out what to post each week, and I hope to return to blogging with a new platform at some point in the future[1].

Throughout the seven years of regular posting, I’ve had pieces I’ve put aside, unable to get through them properly, but I’ve been adding more of them recently. I hope that taking a break will help me figure out what’s blocking my voice on those and other pieces.

In no particular order, here are the pieces currently in my “unfinished drafts” directory:

“Posting Process”
This was intended to be a screencast, accompanied by written notes, showing my process for posting and writing blog posts. I’m not creatively blocked on this one, I’ve just never gotten around to actually doing it (and I’ve been unhappy with the screencasting options I’ve found for doing it, too).

“Some of the Code I use in a Typical Blog Post”
A similar post, one that covers code I’ve written to improve the posting process. A significant chunk of this was covered in “Tools for Writing ReStructuredText in Vim”.

“Notes on the English Riots”
I might have titled this “The Rorschach Riots”, on the grounds that everyone seemed to be seeing in the 2011 riots in England just what confirmed their pre-existing political views—myself included, more or less. There was a lot in this one, but I never developed any of it beyond point form.

“SOPA, ‘Piracy’, and Tweaking the Game Rules”
A discussion of the usual issues around copyright, attempting to point out that even more so than in other areas the rules around it are all just a variety of compromises that we’ve made up as a society, and there are few applicable “moral rules” around this topic. An undeveloped point was about looking at it from a larger-scale level, and assuming that in a population of 100 million people with 50 hours of free time and $100 per month in disposable income, different configurations of laws around copyright are going to distribute that money to different players in the economy, and that players were trying to ensure their own preferred configuration was adopted.

“Techno-Utopianism in Alien and Prometheus
In the whole Aliens series, really; some thoughts on how the fantastic advances shown in the films don’t seem to have aided humans in behaving less stupidly or unjustly.

“Thoughts on Sexism and Games”
Bare outlines of points on Anita Sarkeesian, the 2012 Tomb Raider, and sexual harassment in the fighting game community.

“The Definition of Racism”
Undeveloped points of a rant; my anger over common anti-racist activist sneering at people who cite the dictionary to point out that racism has a meaning of “race-based prejudice” and not only the “institutional racism” meaning preferred by the activists.

“Airports and Autonomy”
Personal autonomy versus convenience and large systems; efficiency, freedom, and what the inculcation of obedience to authority figures in these limited arenas might do to larger society.

“Haggard–Dawkins Debate”
One of my older unfinished posts, and one that I probably won’t go back to finish, given that engaging with things like Young Earth Creationism seems either a waste of time and energy, or like picking on unfortunates, or both.

“Characterization in Roleplaying Games”
Arising from my post on “Q’Rith Season 3 Intentions”, this is a discussion about the unique nature of characterization for non-player characters in roleplaying games and how it differs from other narrative forms, and the difficulties involved in it.

“Fat-Shaming and Fat Acceptance”
An attempt to navigate through my feelings of opposition to fat-shaming while being uncomfortable with the notion that we should accept all degrees of obesity and not pay attention to their health effects.

“Freedom from the Threat of Violence is not part of Male Privilege”
I had encountered a fair amount of online writing, much of it feminist, that seemed to suggest that male privilege encompassed a freedom from violent threat, particularly in public spaces, and this post would have challenged that notion (particularly because it’s not true).

“Notes on Freedom of Expression”
Undeveloped pieces from drafts of “Expression, Pseudonymity, Google+” that I thought I might be able to develop into a larger piece.

“Paternalism as Policy: Steven Levitt’s Daughter Test”
My various outraged objections to Steven Levitt’s policy test, summarized as “If the answer is that I wouldn’t want my daughter to do it, then I don’t mind the government passing a law against it.”

“Rape and Judicial Problems”
A discussion of the problems with prosecuting rape, and my objections to weakening legal protections for any class of accused person.

“Shame: Not a Good Motivational Tool”
Not being able to finish “Fat-Shaming and Fat Acceptance” led me to try to tackle shame as a motivational tool more generally; I failed in that attempt.

“Speech Control”
Some undeveloped points discussing the Facebook controversy about Facebook allowing explicitly pro-rape images[2] while disallowing images of breastfeeding; the “Above the Game” Kickstarter controversy; the call for banning “rape porn” in the UK; the UK’s moves towards internet censorship; and “speech codes” (particularly those banning things like disrespect towards particular groups) in universities. This was one of the more recent pieces that I had trouble tackling, for reasons unclear to me.

“The Most Racist Name in Major US Pro Sports, Revisited”
Another recent unfinished piece, this was supposed to be about why Washington’s NFL team should change its name, and why it wasn’t because you, or anyone else, was “offended”.

“Vengeance”
An attempt to write a companion piece, or perhaps “the rest of”, the story suggested by “Chunk of Beginning”.

Hopefully I’ll finish at least some of these in the future.

But not right away. I’m taking a break. Thank you for reading this, and any (or all!) of my previous posts, and I hope you’ll come back whenever I start posting regularly again.

Irregular posts might show up before then—to be honest, I have no idea.

[1] Naturally, one of the first requirements for any new platform is that all of the existing links still work, so there should be no 404s showing up on this site due to the changeover. Breaking links is internet pollution.

[2] I.e. images with explicitly pro-rape text on them, not images that required interpretation to discern such a meaning.

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5 Responses to “Hiatus”

  1. jeffliveshere Says:

    Hopefully this means you’re doing NaNoWriMo, right?

  2. Lev Says:

    I appreciate your reasons for taking a break. That said, I will miss your musings. How else can I remain aware of goings on of the Tadhgosphere? Don’t say Facebook, please.

  3. brian Says:

    I will miss the updates but understand the reasoning and need to reboot. I do like the notes on unfinished drafts and I hope you find your voice on some of those.

  4. lusciousblopster Says:

    the end of an era, in a sense, but also the space for a new way of being to be formed. will miss reading your thoughts here, but a break seems like a good plan, happy you feel able to do it.

  5. Kevin Teljeur Says:

    I tried to like this but I couldn’t find the button anywhere. Also, I think the site is broken because I tried to get back to my profile and it’s gone, and so are my photos. This is a bad user experience. I’m going to clear my browser and restart my pad and see if it works again. Maybe it got hacked.

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