The benefits of a blogging holiday

Without even having planned it, I have just taken a one-month blogging holiday. By which I mean: a holiday from blogging, not a holiday spent blogging. And what a healthy thing that turned out to be. I recommend it.

That the hiatus occurred during the dog days of August was pure coincidence. It was neither heat nor languor (in excess of the usual dose) that kept me from logging on. Instead, it was that larger category of reasons which we might call “life happens”. When life does happen offline, it’s sometimes best to stay there (ie, offline).

Only twice in the past month was I tempted to break this online fast by posting:

Once, when I read something that so outraged and offended and mystified me that I at once unsheathed my blogging sword to slice and stab and slay. This resulted in a long draft saved in my WordPress account that will probably never see the light of day. For I showed it to a family member or two, and these confidants — though agreeing with, and liking, my polemic — asked sensibly whether I needed to pick this particular battle just now, just so, or indeed at all. No, I didn’t, I realized. After all, picking one’s battles well is the secret to strategy as opposed to tactics (which, in a way, is the thesis of my book in one nugget.) So this particular battle will not be fought. (Except perhaps posthumously, as Twain might say.)

The second instance when I was tempted, I produced another draft, less controversial and quite entertaining. But I now felt that it was — in comparison to the polemic just left unpublished — banal. Why bother? Back to life.

So here I am again. The break allowed me to reflect where I want to take this blog in the coming months.

Recall: I started the blog rather prematurely three years ago, to write about my book. My editor subsequently urged me rather passionately not to divulge much from the book before publication. That left my blog without a purpose. So I began goofing off intellectually, with threads on:

and so forth. None of those had much to do with my book at all. I was just amusing myself.

So, in a couple of months, I’d like to return to this blog’s original purpose: as a journal in support of, and about, the stories in my book.

In the meantime, I might just tie up a few of the loose “threads” from the past three years. And I might just indulge myself with one new one.

(That’s because, for the past year or so, my new hobby has been to study the brainΒ — human and animal, male and female, old and young, happy and depressed, criminal and healthy, et cetera. So the new thread would be about brain science and its implications for life, justice, love and everything else.)

But then, at the latest in December, it’s all book, all the time, for any of you who will still be around for the fun.

20 thoughts on “The benefits of a blogging holiday

  1. Do you worry that by not responding to what you found disagreeable, you’ve allowed it to be perpetuated? I ask the question because I’m genuinely interested in the answer and also to provoke you out of my own curiosity.

    Other than that, I’ve VERY excited you’ve decided to write about brain science. I can’t seem to get enough of that topic lately (I often plan to write about it myself, but often find I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say or ask).

    • I thought about that, Dan. In this case, I discovered that the offending piece was already being criticized, by others. So one argument was: Why not let others do this?

      On the other hand, the criticisms that were being penned were not, in my opinion, as effective and deep and detailed as I would have liked. So I was tempted to take my own stab.

      Ultimately, as to the perpetuation of that which I would rather prevent from being perpetuated, I had to concede that it would be perpetuated no matter what I might say here on this little blog.

    • I certainly won’t attempt to convince you that if you launched your volley it would have destroyed the enemy idea, but there is some evidence to suggest that sustained attack over a long period of time from many angles does affect change. (If not, why else write?) Again, I have no idea whether your tactic would cause more harm strategically (to you?) or not, but it’s just sometime to think about.

  2. Once, when I read something that so outraged and offended and mystified me that I at once unsheathed my blogging sword to slice and stab and slay.

    My curiosity has been piqued. I love to know what outrages and offends others since so much outrages and offends me. I bite my tongue (and keyboard), mostly, about these things but every now and then…

    • Well, that’s Twain’s wisdome for you: We all bite our tongues and keyboards.

      But as you know from previous posts, I prefer NOT writing at all to writing in a half-assed way, so sometimes tongue-biting is advised, for purely strategic reasons.

      As to the the object of my outrage, give me some time. I might not be able to contain myself after all….

  3. A thread about the brain ? An endless fascination! How do you propose to approach this highly technical topic? However volatile the conclusions of neuroscientists may be, debate can only be amongst themselves because of the many highly skilled disciplines involved. The layman can only react, compare or adjust his own perceptions, perhaps, not challenge.

    Journalists who study cutting edge scientific research do, of course, perform a great service by reducing it to a palatable form for the rest of us, but I don’t think your readers here are intellectual sponges.

    If the thread is to be an exploration of the relation of mind and brain – an examination of the nature of the unconscious or consciousness, say, or the place of determinism – that might be a very different matter. Neuroscientists do not study the mind, even though Freud started out as a neurologist, and some deny its very existence. Pure brain science sheds no light on on the implications for life which you identify. Maybe I’m being controversial!

    I like to make sure I’m on topic. πŸ˜€

    • but I don’t think your readers here are intellectual sponges.

      I dunno… I’m pretty spongy. I have even been called a sponger from time to time.

    • Pure brain science sheds no light on on the implications for life which you identify.
      Wow. That’s quite the trunk you’ve locked neuroscience into! It seems odd to say that studying the organ that makes life sensible at all wouldn’t reveal insights into life. In a way, it is the only thing that matters.

    • Oh, Richard. You’re being rather sweeping and overconfident, aren’t you?

      How do you know brain science has nothing to say about “mind” before you’ve heard what it does say?

      As it happens, that is precisely where I plan to go, if indeed I go there.

  4. “….I read something that so outraged and offended and mystified me that I at once unsheathed my blogging sword to slice and stab and slay……..”

    This something that so outraged offended and mystified you, that you wrote not just one, but two drafts of an unposted response, intrigues me, as it appears to intrigue others of your readers.

    I can understand your reluctance to post an angry polemic in reply, for things written in anger can come back to haunt. However, the piece that evoked your felt outrage cannot have been unimportant.

    Perhaps, then, you owe it to us, your faithful readers, to write of this piece in a future posting, but only at such a time as you can see it in better perspective.

    It might evoke a lively and provocative debate among your readers – a debate even more lively and provocative than any debate emanating from anything you might write about the brain!!!

    • Just to clarify: I wrote only one draft (the other one, which I deemed banal in comparison, was on a different subject).

      As to whether or not we would have a lively debate here, I am sure about that: This one would be off the charts.

  5. wow,

    i’m fine with you keeping mum. not curious in the least.

    perhaps it’s because people never really “debate” on blogs. i have always preferred a conversation to an argument.

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