Thursday, May 26, 2011


Dear George,

Today is the two-year anniversary of my first entry on this blog. Wow! That’s both pleasing and scary. On the scary side, it means that time is flying by much too quickly. On the pleasing side, this is the 240th posting that I’ve done, so that’s a lot of fluff to have sent out into the electronic ether-world. I don’t even remember how I got started. I do know that before I retired I went to a department workshop on innovative teaching which included how to create a blog for your students. Since I only had a few weeks left in my very last class, I must have decided that writing a blog for non-students is also possible.

Doing a blog is a strange enterprise. It generates contact with family and friends, and I’ve also re-established connections with some friends from childhood. On the other hand, practically anybody in the world can happen upon a blog’s content. I wrote a story about a local cemetery and heard back from the president of the cemetery the next day. I posted a silly story about college experiences, and soon after the college alumni association had directed all the alumni to it. I write lots of things about our hometown and was surprised to hear back recently from the director of the Chamber of Commerce. These, of course, are mostly positive happenings, but they also sensitize you to the fact that you have no control over who reads one’s writings. When you’re busy trying to be amusing and poking fun at this and that, it can be a tricky business.

Partly I like doing on a blog because I enjoy working on writing. Writing about personal experiences and recollections is a lot easier than academic writing. One doesn’t have to do much research or worry about meeting the editorial standards of a professional journal, and the material flows easily off the keyboard. It’s also a meaningful task for my current life stage. Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson suggested that seeking integration and reflecting upon one’s life course is the major developmental task of one’s “mature years”. I guess “mature years” is where I am these days.

Like much writing, blogs are about oneself to a degree, and that’s especially true of personal blogs. Sometimes I worry whether this is all too narcissistic, but then I decided that I like to read about other people’s experiences, so I shouldn’t worry about writing about my own. Probably my deepest anxiety is that I’ll be boring. After two years I also worry that I’m about to run out of stories. But as soon as I think that, something happens that triggers a new idea. Once in a while, another family member or friend will send a letter that ends up as a blog posting, and that’s very pleasing.

The biggest event of 2011 is Katja’s retirement which begins next Wednesday. That will be a huge transition, definitely for her but also for me. One of our friends counseled us years ago not to retire at the same time, or we’d simply be sitting in the living room looking at one another and not knowing what to do. Katja actually has stayed with her job longer than she’d planned. Since she arranges most of the exceptional things that happen in our lives (e.g., parasailing, hot air balloons, sheepdogs, motorcycles), I figure exciting times are ahead. There will undoubtedly be a daily supply of blog material.



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