Sunday, 30 June 2013

Blog on hiatus for month of July


I started out with newspapers -- maybe you’ve seen such things in the store, stacks of zombie publications running on inertia. I boarded a sinking ship, for when I was working at my first jobs in the 1990s the internet came in and took over.

I made a bad shipmate anyway. I was too impatient with covering local events. I wanted to go beyond stereotypes of left and right. I wanted to write about things like peak oil or climate change. And when I tried to practice what I preached – moving to rural Ireland and studying traditional ways of life – I began writing a column about it for a newspaper here, and I began this blog.

The blog has been going for five years this week - this is the 700th post -- and the column for seven years.  Besides reprinting the column, this blog features:

• Interviews with elderly neighbours here in rural Ireland.

• Articles about traditional ways of life, here or in my native Missouri.

 • Articles I wrote for the American Conservative, the Dallas Morning News, the Columbia Daily Tribune, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Front Porch Republic or Energy Bulletin.

• Photos of landscapes and buildings around us, preserved from an earlier era.

• Vintage photos of ways of life most of us have forgotten, and might have to rediscover.

All these threads, I hope, weave around a common idea: Let’s say our modern world of consumerism and mass media has not been entirely beneficial. Let’s say we have lost the self-reliant skills, classical education and common values that were once ubiquitous. Let’s say our consumption grows exponentially, but fossil fuels and carbon sinks turn out to be finite.

Let’s posit a long emergency ahead – not an action-movie apocalypse, but a slow conversion into a more traditional world. And let’s say you have a daughter. What happens next?

My column and this blog set out to answer that question, and I treated it as a daily publication about this project, a different facet each day. Writing for the internet is not, however, as our journalism gurus initially predicted, like a newspaper in fast-forward, for the internet does not have a publication’s sense of forward motion. It is like a trillion rooms that appear and disappear, or a library of books that sit unopened for years and suddenly “go viral” for no apparent reason. It is like shouting into a dark room that may or may not be crowded, filled with readers sympathetic or hostile. You just don’t know.

For many months now I’ve tried to have a new article or photo each day, but in the last week I’ve had technical problems, and I’ve been swamped with my daughter – “The Girl,” I call her here – and our lessons. In a few days we leave for London on holiday.

Thus, I’m putting this blog on hiatus until August 1. Whoever’s reading, set a reminder and I will see you then. In the meantime, The Girl turns nine today – wish her a good one, from wherever you are in the world.

Top photo: The Girl and I around the time I started the blog. 
Bottom photo: The Girl today.

11 comments:

themoose53 said...

Just wanted you to know that you ARE read ... daily.

Enjoy your vacation. "See" you when you get back.

I'm 69. I wish I had *you* as a Father when I was growing up ... someone who cared whether or not I'd be able to function in the world to come, someone who "cared" [period].

Thanks for sharing. And, thanks for being there. I know your daughter will appreciate what you're giving her ... when she grows up.

Andy Brown said...

Enjoy your break!

wishing you all the best.

aoibhinngrainne.org said...

I, too, read every post and enjoy your writing very much. Enjoy your hols. I'll be looking for your return...
Laura.

Mary Beth said...

Brian,
You are most definitely read every day, and not just by me. I live in central NC and contemplate the things you and others write about constantly.
Enjoy your break, spend time with your family and we will be here when you get back.
Mary Beth

Suzanne, Kiva Fellow, Graduate Student, and Mom said...

Enjoy your break. I swear the girl has grown a foot in the past year. Give her big birthday wishes from Missouri. Tell The Girl that I still remember our 4th of July adventure and reading in a rainstorm. Great summer memories...

Brian Kaller said...

Moose, that's one of the best compliments I've ever received. Thank you very much, and I will try to live up to that.

Thanks, Andy and Aoibhinn!

Mary Beth, thank you so much. I'll be back shortly.

Suzanne, she remembers it well. Love you.

Tracey Crehan Gerlach said...

Hello from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Love your writing and your posts and the pace of your blog. Thank you. We have our own girl (and a new little boy) and want them to cherish the older ways of life. Your writings are a wonderful reminder.

don bates said...

Brain,
Just to say I've been reading you for several years, and always find your posts inspiring. A quiet, reasoned voice in an insane world. "The Girl" is very lucky, indeed to have such a father.

Don

don bates said...

sorry about mis-spelling your name. I have a little case of chemo brain (or should it be "brian") going on right now.

sv koho said...

Brian, you need to take time away from these boxes full of electrons. You are preaching to the choir with your readers. I quit blogging for long periods as do a lot of bloggers now. Here in Wyoming with our short summers, there is too much to do outside to waste time in front of a flat screen, mountains to climb, gardens to weed, firewood to gather...... I find myself anyway repeating the same chorus like Jim Kunstler.BTW, That girl has put on length. What's in those Irish potatoes? I'm glad you keep her face covered, like the Lone Ranger. I do think you should mention something about the Woman, if there is one.

Brian Kaller said...

Tracey, thank you.

Don, that means a lot to me -- thanks.

SV, any ideas how we can reach beyond the choir? There are two Women, my wife and her mother, but they are outside the focus of the blog. I will try to find a balance in life, and any advice would be welcome.