As with most things in life, the rhythms of blogging go in cycles. Sometimes I am full of ideas and I have (or can make) the time to write about them. Blogging then comes thick and furiously. At other times, the muse is absent, the well is dry, and things go on hiatus for a longer or shorter period of time. Such are the vicissitudes of life. I sometimes think I should be doing more, but from my first forays into blogging I resolved not to beat myself up over regularity. I have tried to do journals/diaries in the past, and it never worked out. Blogging has turned out to be a fruitful outlet for my writing, and has gone on much longer than any attempt at journaling that I’ve ever attempted. Thus, for everything there is a season–a time to write and a time not to write–and I’m OK with that.
The last couple of years have been relatively fallow, but in the last week I’ve started putting up posts again, and I have some ideas for posts to come in the near future. No doubt I’ll go into fallow cycles again in the future, but for now I hope to be a bit more productive. In line with that resolution, I’d like to discuss some of the plans for upcoming things I have, for those who are regular (or even new!) readers of the Chequer-Board.
First, I am currently working on a review of David Bentley Hart’s recent translation of the New Testament, and I hope to have it finished and up within the week. I will cross-index it under “The Pretty Good Book“, “Universalism (What the Hell?!)“, and “Towards a Gnostic Orthodoxy“, for reasons that will be apparent when I post it.
Second, there are some recent developments on the polygenism front that I want to look at, as well as some new findings regarding animal cognition that I think ultimately tie in to that. This, in turn, is relevant to any account of the Fall of Man; so I hope to resume work (at least intermittently) on “Legends of the Fall” (the end of which, alas, seems nowhere in sight).
Third, I think I’m essentially finished with my series on universalism (linked above). I will put the review of Hart’s New Testament there, as I said. I think I may have one or two short pieces to add, as well; and then I’ll add a wrap-up piece, while of course leaving open the possibility of future addenda, as they suggest themselves.
Fourth, in the slightly longer term, I’d like to continue my series on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and “Religion, Role-playing, and Reality“. I pretty much know where I want to go with those, and have had either the ideas or the beginnings of posts (or both) for continuing each series, but haven’t got around to it. I hope to do so soon.
Fifth, in the somewhat longer term, I desperately need to fix the index for the “Daily Whitman” series. As you can see by visiting the link, the index is incomplete and has been for some time. For various reasons, it has proved to be a fiendishly difficult thing to do properly, unlike the relatively simple index for the “Rubá’í of the Day” series. I have plenty of non-blogging stuff on my plate as it is, and given the complexity of fixing this table, this is something that may have to wait awhile; but it is on my “to-do” list. Meanwhile, you can use the tags to reach individual installments of the “Daily Whitman” series.
Sixth, I may remove the “Movies” sub-page from the blog. I used to post a lot of movies, documentaries, and shorts here, but the transient nature of YouTube being what it is, I have scads of dead links lying about. I’m not sure that it’s worthwhile maintaining them; so I may delete the “Movies” page and/or the individual movie-containing posts. I’m not sure yet, but we’ll see.
Seventh, and most nebulous, I intend eventually to resume posting series of poetry (probably Masters’s Spoon River Anthology or the haiku of Kobayashi Issa next). I’d also like to revisit some of my other series, and, wonder of wonders, maybe even start some new ones, or even do some stand-alone posts.
Once more, life is as it is, vicissitudes and all, so I can’t be sure as to the exact schedule on which I’ll be able to do all this. Keep your eyes out for news and update here, and as always, thank you very much for your continued support!
Yesterday I completed publishing the entire Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It was a follow-up to my series publishing two different translations of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Back in November of last year I bogged down on blogging and temporarily abandoned daily updates of the blog. I let the Daily Whitman series lapse, as well as the Friday music and the Sunday “Quote for the Week”. Finally, a few weeks ago, I restarted everything. I was closer to the end than I realized, and it seems like saying goodbye to an old friend to have Daily Whitman finally come to an end.
I will keep posting music on Fridays and quotes on Sundays. I have a couple of possible contenders for daily poetry to post, but I haven’t made a decision yet. I think it salutary to take a few days off and decide what I want to do, and then go from there. In the meantime, I hope all of you who may be regular, semi-regular, or sporadic readers have enjoyed the Daily Whitman, and before it, the Rubá’í of the Day series. Keep checking this space for poetry to come!
Regular readers may note that finally, after a considerable time off, I have restarted publishing Leaves of Grass in my “Daily Whitman” series. I have also resumed posting music of various sorts on Fridays and a “Quote for the Week” on Sundays. Hopefully this will keep me busy enough with the blog to inspire me to get back to more regular articles in some of the series, particularly “Legends of the Fall“. In any case, enjoy!
I hate it when I run across an interesting blog and find it has not been updated in months, or even years. I can’t speak for others as to whether my blog is interesting–though the traffic hasn’t been bad lately–but it has not been updated since November, with the exception of a brief note of its five-year anniversary in December.
Alas, life has got in the way. With no intention of whining, I have had many personal things, including health issues, that have had to take precedence. These have caused me to slip out of regular posting; and slipping out of regular posting leads all too easily to no posting. In any case, this post it to make it clear that I’m still around and do intend–when I don’t know–to resume at least some posting, within the parameters of some still-pressing concerns.
First, I will at some point resume the “Daily Whitman” series. Instead of backdating it, I will probably just re-start it at whatever date it happens to be, and go from there. The index has presented some thorny problems, and may have to be totally re-done; so I don’t expect I’ll have it updated for some time, even after I re-start posting the poems.
Second, I’m mostly satisfied with my series on universalism, but may post occasionally to it, as ideas occur or worthwhile exterior links crop up.
Third, I have a broad overview of what I want to do with my tent-pole “Legends of the Fall” series, which I still consider incomplete. This will require several more posts–I don’t know how many–and I will try to get started back on them in the coming weeks, as I’m able to. To me, this is the most important series on the blog, and the one I consider the linchpin; so if nothing else, I want to finish it.
Of the other series, I want to eventually resume the series on religion and role-playing, as I have some good ideas for it, and I want to finish the series on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Beyond that, we’ll just see what happens.
Many thanks to all of you who follow, read, and (I hope) enjoy the blog, especially those who have kept coming during its hiatus. That means a lot to me, and I appreciate it very much. Keep coming–hopefully there will be new material soon!
A slight heads up to a small change I’m making that hopefully will make this blog a little more user-friendly. I already have a page for the series indices (see above) and a bar with links to the indices to the lower right. However, a visitor coming on a given post might not know what series (or sometimes what group of series, since some posts are in more than one series) that post belongs to. Even worse, I will sometimes end a post by saying, “Next time we’ll discuss such-and-such.” I mean, of course, the next time in that series. However, many posts and weeks or months may intervene between the current post and the next in its series; and the casual reader would have no way of knowing where that next post is. I know I’ve been frustrated by this on other blogs.
Therefore, I am beginning to go to each post that is part of a series, and linking to the series index at the bottom of the post. At this point there will be, in italics, a sentence: Part of the series X, where X is the name of the series and contains a hyperlink to the proper series index. Thus, suppose a given post goes up in March and ends with a teaser of the next time, but the next in the series doesn’t go up until September. Now all one will have to do is to click the link at the bottom to go to the series index; and from there, it will be easy enough to find the next installment in the series, if it’s been published yet.
Obviously, given the large numbers of series and posts I’ve got, this will take awhile. Some posts, as I said, belong to multiple series and will thus need multiple links. In this case, I’ll put the main series index link first, followed by any subsidiary or “nested” series. I expect that it will take several weeks or months to get all posts indexed, so please be patient. The final results, though, will be worth the efforts, and will make navigating around here substantially easier. Meanwhile, enjoy the blog!
My 2000th blog post went up on 15 December. Lots of things were going on, including taking care of a sick child, so I did nothing special for that occasion. I have had in mind a post that I’ve wanted to do for some time, and since I didn’t do anything marking post 2000, I’ll make the post now as post 2020. I used to like the old cartoon Sealab 2020 way back when, so that’s an interesting synch, anyway. What the heck.
I had never thought to get into blogging. Being of the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, I was well into my adulthood before the Internet started to become the phenomenon it is now. I had had some experience with intranet BB’s and such in college, but not that much. Even though I was a math major, at my university we still were doing things mostly the old fashioned way. It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that I got an email address (long since defunct), and in the late 90’s that I started spending lots of time in cyberspace.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Not to the new year–that happened last night. To my last “Rubá’í of the Day“.
It’s hard to imagine that the first one went up on 12 August 2012. That makes this the beginning of the third year in which this series has been running. I have published all the seventy-five rubá’iyát from the first edition of Edward Fitzgerald’s famous translation, and am in the process of publishing the five hundred translated by Edward Whinfield. Today the 433rd of Whinfield’s rubá’iyát went up, leaving only 67 more to go. That means the last one will be published on March the 9th.
It has been a labor of love and has become a sort of flagship of this blog. At least one rubá’í gets a like almost every day. More prosaically, it is a way of keeping the blog active with new material going up every day even when I don’t have the time, energy, or inspiration to write an original essay. I will be sad to see it go–it will be like the parting of an old friend.
Life, of course, goes on, however, and I intend to continue publishing poetry day to day. For anyone who’s interested, you can follow this link to a poll I have to see what poets readers might be interested in. The main criterion is that the poems (original or translations) be in the public domain, so there are no copyright issues. I am currently inclined towards Hafiz. In the West, Omar Khayyam is the best-known Iranian poet because Fitzgerald’s translation of his Rubá’iyát. In Iran itself, however, Hafiz is universally acclaimed as the greatest lyric poet. He, too, wrote in the rubá’í format, as well as writing ghazals and many other types of verse. Since he is less-known in the West, I’d like to start publishing some of his works next.
My second preference of the poets listed on the poll would be Kabir, and my third Edgar Lee Masters. Both are well in the public domain, and less well-known than Rumi or Walt Whitman. I am, however, open to suggestions; and if some poet not listed strikes anyone as appropriate, I’d be interested to know. I’ll probably make a final decision by the end of the month so I’ll have time to start scheduling poems in the new series.
Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the rubá’iyát!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Thanks to all my visitors and readers, and I hope you continue to enjoy the Chequer-board in the coming year!
If any of you liked the Robert Service poem I had up earlier today and wonder why it vanished, fear not–it will return.
Somehow I got confused and thought I’d failed to post a “Quote for the Week” this week, so I posted the poem as a belated quote. When I found out I’d already done this week’s quote on Sunday, as I usually do, I decided to move the Service poem to the next Sunday that I don’t already have scheduled. Thus, you will be able to read it again on 5 January–less than a month from now.
Sorry for the confusion!