Post Launch

This is actually my blog’s second post; the first was self-aware boilerplate from WordPress that hortatorily suggested I eliminate it. So I did.

Prior to writing this, I faced two decisions that gave me extended pause.  The first was what to name this blog.  Here’s my thought process as best as I can recall:

  1. Find a quote from a poet, writer, or scholar that I admire and use that as my title, redacting or condensing if necessary.  I got really excited when I thought of William Carlos Williams poem “This is Just to Say,” but that title was already taken.  That poem also has imagery of plums in an icebox, but combinations like “icebox plums” or “plums in the icebox” were already snagged, too.  Besides, that kind of literary title might not best represent the majority of the writing I plan on gathering here (more on that in a moment).  I also considered the final two lines of the poem as a title, “so sweet / and so cold,” but it seems overly literary and a possibly a bit creepy out of context.
  2. My next thought for a title was to play with idioms.  “Falling Awake” seemed like a great candidate, but, alas, it’s taken by a fellow WordPresser (one whose into darts, apparently.)  I mulled a few other plays on idioms, but it started to sound very contrived, so I moved onto something a bit more contrived.
  3. My last idea, before begrudgingly settling (temporarily) on my name, was to be poetically inferential myself–something like “Rippling Currents.”  Ugh.  So my name it is.

The second obstacle I had to overcome was the design of this page.  So many choices.  But this wasn’t as difficult a decision as the first.  I want a clean look tending toward minimalism (it’s the kind of music I like, after all), so, after 15 minutes of browsing and previewing, “Twenty Ten” it is.

And now I’m writing.

Perhaps some of the following will migrate to the About page, but for now, here is a bit of my background and interests:

  1. I learn.  I am a grad student at Eastern Michigan University in the Written Communication program, second semester, unsure about my research interests but gravitating toward cognitive rhetoric and issues of writing anxiety and blocking.  I have a BS in Geography from EMU, with minors in History and Religious studies.  What impacted me the most intellectually as an undergrad was conceptual metaphor theory.
  2. I teach.  I teach an online grammar mechanics class at a community college, a freshman composition class at EMU, and I have taught both developmental reading and writing at the college level in prior semesters.
  3. I write.  I have been writing for an alternative news weekly as an arts and entertainment reporter for five years now.  I’ve met many cool artists, business owners and other people in this time.  Most recently I’ve become the paper’s food critic, which has it’s pros and cons, and of which I am sure to be blogging about often.  I also used to write for online sports publications, interviewing high profile college football and basketball recruits and reporting on Big Ten athletics for very little pay and way too much work.  It was kind of fun, though, but only when I was not surrounded by unapologetically hyper-aggressivetestosterone bots, both in the pressbox and outside of it.
  4. I work in a college office as support staff.   I’m thankful for the alternative perspective this has given me into the machinations of higher education.

I’m also very interested in issues pertaining to sustainable food practices (working on a cover story about these issues for the newspaper right now, actually); I’m foodie-ish; for some reason, quantum physics and cosmology fascinate me, from muons, antimatter and the LHC to black holes and quasars; and I read.  I have plenty of reading to keep me occupied in grad school, of course, but when I need a break from that, I’m knee deep in Vonnegut’s Hocus Pocus; I picked back up David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest because, although I put it down because I had no time to read it, I keep thinking about it after getting 200 pages into it (out of about 1,000); and I’ve also been working through The Annals & The Histories by the first century Roman historian Tacitus (pupil of Quintilian).  It’s really quite a fascinating read.

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2 thoughts on “Post Launch

  1. Your contemplations on the title brought me back a few years to my own same decision, Joe. I can hardly explain it now, but the Gertrude Stein quotation about Georges Braque just clicked for me. In hindsight, I suppose it might’ve appeared a strong nod to literary influences, but instead it simply provided me with a unique conceptual metaphor–Earth Wide Moth. I started to notice moths, started to think about their tendency to fly dangerously close to whatever flickers of light they notices (short attention spans for moths, yeah?). And Earth Wide suggests that everything’s game for chewing; it gave me an uncanny variety show heuristic to write by.

    Also, I read Vonnegut’s recent biography (by Charles Shields) over the holiday break. It’s not especially surprising–more a turn by turn account of his life with lots of hardships and grim redirections sprinkled in. But because I read through as much of his stuff as I could when I was an undergraduate, I was happy to have picked it up.

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