Another Anniversary, and Everything Old Is Old Again

As of this month, I’ve now been writing Zemblan Grammar for four years. In all that time, the site has undergone a lot of changes (not least of which the color schemes — remember when it used to be red, black, and white? even before it was pink?). A few of you have been reading this since the beginning, though I believe it’s only the real-life friends who have been here that long. (Because I force them!) I’ve met so many interesting and clever people through blogging, but, as seems to be the nature of things, they are only around temporarily. Eventually, people give up blogging, and then not only are you deprived of their blogs but they cease coming around to read yours. I mean C’MON, PEOPLE, think of my entertainment, please!

Along with the changes in color template and audience, other things have also been in flux. One issue that’s always been tough to resolve is how anonymous I want to be in what I write. Should I share my name? My location? Pictures of myself, my pets, or my home? My pets’ unique, googlable names? Do I want people I know through blogging to be able to contact me in real life? Should my real-life friends and colleagues be told about the blog? It’s occasionally been a bit of a confusing battle, and I had found myself changing my mind on these issues all the time.

Lately, though, things seem to be working well. I’ve stuck with no mentions of my own name, university, or location, and written freely about everything else. That kind of anonymity is what allows me to feel confident in saying whatever I want to about my teaching, scholarly life, neighbors, and other sorts of touchy subjects that a lot of non-anonymous bloggers say they’ve forbidden themselves from writing about online. I couldn’t imagine not writing about my school life!

For a time, I had toyed with having a separate, non-anonymous blog elsewhere, but I am frankly too busy to bother with keeping up two separate sites (not to mention two separate identities). Since that plan fizzled out some time ago, I’ve been bringing in a lot of old posts from that other site (identifying details removed, of course). They’ll be posted here under the category Vintage Imports. I’ve done all of 2004-2005, and the rest will be trickling in over the next little while.

I think it’s good to have everything together under one roof. All those little parts of the past shouldn’t be separated from what I’m writing about today — they’re all part of the (often boring, admittedly repetitive, even bitchy) story I am telling here, and they should be publicly a part of it — not, as my students would write, “apart of it,” which is what they were until now. I mean it’s one thing for readers of this site to know how I feel about Faulkner and the Oxford Comma (I am pro both of them, as you already know), but shouldn’t you also get to read about my parents’ propensity to hoard expired foodstuffs, why I hate Tyra Banks, or why I shouldn’t be allowed anywhere (really anywhere!) near tequila? I thought so.

In short, since I’ve come to a firm decision about my level of anonymity here, I am not going to hold back on any of that cheese-sandwich blather. I hope you can handle it!

August is always a month of thinking about where I am going and where I’ve been: when I started the blog four years ago, it was then the four-year anniversary of my move across the country to Zembla. As I write this now, I’ve just finished my first year here in New Wye. It may just be the coincidence of being chained to the academic calendar, but even so, the end of the summer is a good time for reflection. As I’m reflecting now on what I’m doing here, on this website, I have to say I’m quite satisfied. Giving myself the time to put my thoughts into writing has never not been worth it. As always, thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for reading.


  1. 4 years is the length of a degree – that’s quite the commitment! I don’t see the problem with anonymous blogs; maybe it’s better not to know too much about the real person behind the writing. You can know Hemingway through his writing and not have to get into the details of his depression and suicide, for example. That’s just me, other peoples mileage may vary. Everyone here knows me as “John”. Isn’t that sufficient?


  2. R – Thanks! (and there’s always the archives for those times when you are REALLY REALLY bored at work!)

    J – I agree, but then I always find myself wondering about those bloggers who are anonymous. The curiosity KILLS me! I’m always dying to know what people look like.


  3. Well, I picture you as a scholarly type with heavy rimmed glasses – I think mainly because you had a picture of horn-rimmed glasses on your old blog title or something. Or because you are well-read. Perhaps you are tall as well as you mentioned that at one point.

    As for me, I look like me!


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