Hey, folks. I’m back. Yes, yes, I know. I missed you too. Let’s not get too blubbery about it, here, shall we. We’ve got stuff to do.
Now, before I get back to my usual shtick of random blatheration, a few administrative and procedural notes. Bear with me for the next several hundred words, please.
First, I want to thank, individually and severally, the guest bloggers who have kept Whatever so interesting in the last six weeks: John Anderson, Mykal Burns, N.K. Jemisin and Mary Robinette Kowal. I thought they did a wonderful job, and it was a treat for me to be able to pop over to my own site from time to time and be able to relax and just read what was being posted there. This is only the second time I’ve had guest bloggers, the first being more than five years ago, and from my point of view it couldn’t have gone better. After the first couple of days I said to myself, wow, I really don’t have to worry about anything, and then proceeded to enjoy my break.
Underpinning all of it, however, was the work of the interim site manager, Kate Baker, who managed the back end, wielded the Mallet of Loving Correction when necessary, and who popped in to add her own thoughts from time to time. This break of mine very literally couldn’t have happened without her help and effort, so my large and humble thanks go to her for all her work. She’s fab, and I recommend her for all your site managerial needs.
This six-week break was very useful for me. One, I was able to focus on a lot of work and clear the decks, as it were, of a bunch of stuff. Two, I got to vacation with family and to travel. Three, I was able to relax and not think about having to think about something interesting to say on a daily basis (which, surprise, is often harder than it looks). And fourth and finally, I was able to recharge and work up some new enthusiasm for writing here. Which is important, because as I often note, it’s not like I get paid for what I do here. When it starts being work, that’s a problem. So in all, the hiatus did for me what I hoped it would. I do love it when a plan comes together.
I’m coming back to Whatever, coincidentally enough, on the 12th anniversary of my beginning of it; I started it on this date in 1998, and did so, as I expect most of you know by now, to keep sharp in the column-writing format, having written columns for newspapers and other places before than and hoping to again at some point.
I do think if you had told me in 1998 that I’d still be doing this thing, I’d be a bit surprised (although not as surprised as I would be if you told me I’d be living in rural Ohio with a lawn the size of a New York City block, which is something which still freaks me out if I give it any sort of thought at all). A dozen years is a long time to do any one thing, and it’s especially a long time for me to write any one thing without being paid for it, mercenary as I am on that subject. But there really is more to life than just getting paid, and at this point, of course, I’ve reaped more than enough benefits from writing here that looking at Whatever as unrewarded effort would be flatly stupid and wrong. It’s been good for me psychically and career-wise, and that is its own reward. And anyway if I really wanted to be paid for what I do here, at this point I could easily put up ads. I haven’t, which I suppose says something.
Moving into year 13 and returning from a long break, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether I have any big changes planned for the site moving forward, and the answer is: no, not really. Content-wise Whatever has remained pretty constant over the years: It’s about whatever I want to write about, and I see no reason to change that. The Big Idea has settled into its own groove and while there are still plans to spin it off onto its own site one day, at this point I’ve got the process of it down well enough that I can run it here more or less indefinitely.
I am getting a little bored with the physical look of Whatever, which has looked more or less the same for three years now, and will probably fiddle with that in the near future in order to make navigating through it a bit easier. So that’s something you can look forward to. But it’s also something I have to think about a little more before I do it, in part because WordPress’ VIP set-up requires some extra hoop-jumping to make new designs work, and also because, well. I do screw up technical things, don’t I.
So the short form is that for now, I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve been doing, because it seems to work for me — and has for twelve years running now.
In any event. Hello again, again. It’s good to be back.