After waffling back and forth, I decided to revamp my blog using WordPress. I very much liked the previous setup for my blog, which was just a list of hand-coded HTML pages. I would write a new post in my text editor, update the body of the index page of the blog subdirectory with the latest post, and copy out the text of the previous post into an ‘archived’ page that I would link to on the index page. It was a little convoluted, but a fine way for me to keep track of informal writings about my research, teaching, and poetry.
In the months ahead, though, I want to maintain a more active blog as a central component of my research and writing process. Importantly, I was lacking ways for others to more easily follow and provide feedback on my writing. WordPress seemed like the best way to organize posts, open up comments, and add an RSS feed, among other features.
As I discussed in the last post that I wrote in my old format, I’m shifting the focus of my research toward e-lit and away from the digital and new media art that I explored in my dissertation. There are overlaps and bridges between e-lit and digital art, but there are also real distinctions between the two — for myself, I really want my research to engage most directly with literary histories and with bibliographic curation practices. There’s a lot to glean from research on digital art preservation, and I hope to continue many of the formative conversations initiated through my dissertation research, but I feel most at home coming at these issues from a literary vantage.
This gets to another motivation for switching over to WordPress: I’ve been inspired by the blogs of scholars, writers, and readers in the e-lit community like Leonardo Flores’ I Love E-Poetry and Jimmy Maher’s The Digital Antiquarian. In the e-lit community (broadly conceived to encompass interactive fiction and narrative games, too, as well as LITERATURE), blogging is a polyvalent mode of engaging with texts — to conduct scholarship, to capture an experience of reading, to register appreciation or excitement, to develop a critique. I plan to use this blog for all those things, and probably others that I can’t anticipate at the outset.
‘Writing is a mode of thinking’ became a mantra for the History of the Book class that I taught this summer. Informal writing has always been a core part of my research process — scribblings in the margins of texts, notes appended to citations in Zotero, scattered thoughts collected in a journal, memos reflecting on qualitative analysis sessions. I want to use this blog as I was using my last blog — to gather together these informal writings — but I also want to share those writings and have means for jumping off into more sustained exchange and dialogue with the e-lit community.
I’ve got some specific, exciting plans for the blog that I’m still developing and will hopefully reveal in a few months. Until then, I’ve got notes for some posts on e-lit texts that I’ve read recently.
While it is bittersweet to say goodbye to my hand-coded ‘blog’ of old, I can still (and will!) save these posts as simple HTML files in a ‘blog’ subdirectory on my computer. One of the writing projects I’m hoping to launch soon is a defense of low-tech backups, like printing emails, so expect more on that front too.