So...I'm here to admit failure at giving in to that impulse, and commit to filling this space with whatever pointless, random, imperfect, and decidedly not profound things come to mind.
As part of the Digital History class I'm currently teaching (hi guys!) I've encouraged my students to make simple bullet lists of topics they might like to blog about during the semester. It's actually kind of impressive how inspirational a simple list can be, and this was by far the most enthusiastically received topic of discussion. It got me thinking about my own list, and in a broader sense the kinds of things that we deeply and personally connect with when we write about the topics that most closely speak to us. What do you choose when you're staring at a blank screen / page / typewriter (if you're a hipster)? The list I initially jotted down includes some things from summer travels and research (fear not, enlightening commentary about my recent trip to Paris and that one time when I jumped out of an airplane are in the works), but looking back over it I found myself a little surprised at how many things I feel like writing about connect back to places I thought I'd left in the past long ago.
Admittedly, I've been feeling pretty nostalgic lately. My father died in March, and it forced me to face up to the family past in some ways I wasn't totally expecting. I grew up on a ranch in California, and while the process of settling the estate it belongs to has been kind of a nightmare, it has also pushed me to look back on where I came from in some different ways. The historian in me is always in search of personal connections that bring the past into the present. It's easy enough to do this for my students, but surprisingly more difficult to process when it forces me to consider my own experiences. The enormity of the challenge sank in a few days ago as I walked a California dirt road for the first time in well over a decade, trying to come to grips with why it hurt so much to let go of a place that never felt like home to begin with. I have wrestled with whether or not and how much to post about things like this (how many feels are appropriate for this format?) but I figure that if I'm going to encourage my students to actively seek personal connections and incorporate them into their blogs because that makes good story telling, then it's only fair that I endeavor to do the same. Leading by example...the struggle is real.
Reality of the struggle aside, it's worth it, as most (even imperfect) things are.