Yes, a year ago yesterday I posted my first entry (or did I enter my first post?, the semantics are unclear to me). 93 posts or entries later, I’m still here, which comes as a surprise to me, with enough energy, I believe, to go on for another year at least.
Or, rather, it’s not quite a matter of energy but of badly needing an outlet to vent the happiness (35%) and the growing frustrations (65%) that teaching (English) Literature brings me every day after 20 years in the profession (another anniversary this week). Yesterday, I came across an ex-student, now teaching 10 to 12-year-old students, and when I started telling her about the miseries of the university under the current economic crisis she asked me “but you still like it?” Sure, that’s the point: I like teaching so much I must write this blog to go on. If I didn’t like it, if it were just a job and not a career, I would not bother. The blog keeps me (half)sane. Otherwise, I’ve open the window and scream.
When I contacted other bloggers in a similar vein (see the links to your right…), we all went through the same questions: Is there a point in writing a blog in the age of Twitter? Isn’t a blog just a public diary (for narcissistic writers)? Is there any one out there? What’s the desirable frequency? Is a blog a hobby or more work? I don’t use Twitter and I worry about the way the institutions we work for are forcing us in that direction and also to use Facebook, as I don’t want to participate in the commercial frenzy they have unleashed. Anyway, I don’t think Twitter can carry much serious thinking at that limited number of characters per message; blogs, I believe, are great to train yourself to think in greater depth (um, I’m not sure I’ve managed any deep thinking here, but at least I’ve tried). A blog, yes, is a bit narcissistic but one also feels vulnerable and exposed, so one thing compensates for the other. And this one is a hobby, but, then, I’ve never known how to separate my profession from my main hobby, which is reading. Often, I have to stop myself from writing too much for instant publication is a constant temptation.
I know there are some people out there beyond the handful of friends who’ve left comments (thanks!). José Ángel García Landa tells me that after 4 years keeping his blog Vanity Fea alive he hasn’t really managed to generate the expected debate. My aims are more modest (though, yes, it’s great to be ambitious). Who, after all, would like to debate how we teach English Literature, except a handful of professionals too pressed for time to send in comments? I’m just happy if anything in my first 52,000 words has inspired anyone to read a good book, see a nice film, check a great web, understand a little better what teachers go through, and love (English) Literature a little more. Thanks!!