…but first, an update on all the boring tech geek stuff from yesterday: If you are a member of the site and want to subscribe to this page by email, click on the new “My Preferences” link in the left navigation area under Membership and make sure that the “Receive email bulletins?” radio button is selected.
So why am I here? I’ve found myself pretty surprised that I’ve been updating this page so frequently. When I called the post for June 11 “Quarterly Update (i)” it was only half tongue in cheek, as I hadn’t done an update before that since October 2000, and before that it was August 2000…
What I think is causing this: I haven’t really written much in a long, long time. I learned how to write in a business style when I worked at “AMS”, but the insidious downside of business writing is that it makes it very difficult to write when you don’t have a business purpose. Business writing, like scientific writing, is a very different set of muscles than writing essays (about non-business topics), poetry, record reviews, or anything else that requires independent thought. I used to write all these things, and one day I hope to do so again.
But the first lesson in writing, and the one lesson I never really learned when I was studying Poetry at Virginia, is that writing is a muscle. If you don’t exercise your ability to write, it atrophies and dies, slowly and horribly. Over the past seven years, I stopped writing poems, reviews, articles, letters, emails (except for very brief and perfunctory ones), and pretty much everything except software code and documentation.
I’m good at writing software, but it’s a very restrictive medium because it has to do something. I like my words to have a chance just to lounge around sometimes. And if they happen to let something interesting out while they’re doing it, so much the better.
So this website is where my words come to hang out. Maybe at some point soon they’ll start exercising a little bit, lose that spare tire (like I need to do), and start surprising me again like they did in college. We’ll see. While I’m waiting for that to happen, though, it’s kind of nice to know that anyone who wants to can read them any way they choose.
P.S. Again, don’t expect an update until sometime on Sunday. Four in a row is pretty good for me right now, and with my wife coming into town I think I’m going to give myself and my words a few days off. –tj