It's time to put this blog to bed. There are many reasons, not the least of which is that I am in the dissertation phase of my program, and I really ought to devote as much time as possible to that, not this.
Another reason is the "neither fish nor fowl" nature of this blog. I post sporadically on a wide variety of topics, which makes for neither quality writing nor a large readership. Eclecticism can make for a unique online voice, but I haven't worked hard enough to pull that off.
But there's a deeper reason, namely, dissatisfaction with the type of writing I've been doing here. This blog and its predecessor The Ivy Bush has been a place for me to vent. In fact, when I become a community columnist for The Charlotte Observer ten years ago, and they wanted to know which topics I would address, I replied, "Things that make me angry." I've needed an outlet for anger for a long time now, and the past decade has not failed to deliver occasions for anger!
But I realized this weekend that I need to quit venting. After composing the previous post, an admittedly bitter reflection on what's become of our country in the past ten years, I went to church Sunday, and our minister, in her understated and highly effective way, challenged us to let go of bitterness--whether it's directed at the hijackers or at anyone else.
And then I read Josh Marshall's post-9/11 reflections, which made me realize that I went for bitterness because it was the easy option. But the more appropriate option was probably silence. As Marshall notes, what is frustrating beyond measure is that so few people with such simple tools unleashed such a tidal wave of evil. And they died in the act! No opportunity for us to serve out justice. And rooting out a few terrorists from their caves did not render a satisfaction commensurate with our rage. So there was Iraq. Or, little Iraqs--people like me banging away at their keyboards at the other people banging away at the Iraqis.
But no more of that. For the indefinite future, I am only going to write what is either worthy of publication, i.e. higher quality stuff than blog posts, or what is worthy of being preached in congregational worship, i.e. free of snark and irony--the academic journal and the pulpit being the two places where I am most likely to address the public.
And if I do get angry, I will try to see whether my anger is justified or not, and put it to bed with truthful, loving words and focused, purposeful action.