I haven’t been writing lately, in any capacity. This is an unfortunate development for me because, as I’ve said before, writing is one of the things that keeps me sane and centred. There are some good practical reasons for this drought but as we all know practical reasons never keep us from doing the things we love.
I have been terrified lately of the danger of opinions. This is the product of many varied streams of thought. Partly it has to do with a discussion that was making the rounds on a number of academic blogs that I frequent and partly with the related experience of applying to several graduate programs. In the discussions on the blogs I just mentioned there were some bloggers and commentors who suggested that there is a great deal of danger involved with posting on blogs. The danger is that you will make a statement or present an opinion that will later, and I’m sorry I can’t find a more elegant way to put this, bite you in the ass.
The relation to applying to schools seems pretty obvious but I’ll spell it out anyway. I have been nervous for some time that I will not be wanted because of who and what I am. I simply do not fit into very many traditional molds and this blog is one of the best examples of my personal oddity. I love whimsy too much. I am not conservative enough. I am not liberal enough. On top of that I know that I make mistakes. Sometimes factual errors and sometimes errors of logic or rhetoric but errors nonetheless.
I am afraid of being unwanted and of being wrong but I know that this is hypocrisy. All statements are fraught with danger and written statements all the more so since they can be referred to at will. But all statements are also powerful and written statements especially so. To appropriate that power an author must be willing to risk, and in many cases to risk all. In my experience authors who are willing to take that risk are either great or awful (and occasionally they are both). That awfulness is the danger that any writer of any kind fears but it cannot be negated or set aside. It is necessary. It must be.
And so here I am, risking myself and my reputation in a forum that hardly anybody reads and anyone can find and hold against me at will. Why? Because I need to write. I need to share and challenge others and even more to challenge and push myself to think more carefully. Writing is the only way I know how to do this.