April 14th, 2016

Clearing the underbrush on the blog

I just got a huge political post off my chest, and that means I’m tired of writing about politics today. So if you want to read about why Lewandowski won’t be prosecuted (in my opinion, because the battery was a relatively minor thing—an apology would always have sufficed—and because the politics involved are just too volatile, so the prosecutor exercised its discretion, probably wisely), or about how Trump didn’t know that Joe Paterno is deceased (not one of my big beefs with Trump, I must say, but your mileage may differ), or about Cruz’s 100 cans of soup (I’m not going to even dignify that one with a link), go right ahead.

Meanwhile, I’m going to talk about my blog. It turns out that I’m a hoarder of post drafts. I didn’t see this coming—it developed slowly, over many years. Although blogging is not up there with digging ditches in terms of labor, churning out several blog posts a day is nevertheless work. It can be a challenge, but for most bloggers—who usually suffer from or are blessed with a hefty dose of ideophoria—getting ideas for enough posts is not a problem. More often, the problem is getting too many ideas and becoming scattered, or in my case researching posts and writing half of them but then putting them on hold because they become too unwieldy. I assume I’ll go back and finish them later on, but then new events happen, new thoughts come, new articles beckon, and the old ones pile up in a drafts folder that grows and grows and grows.

The upshot is that my old blog has about 150 old drafts still on it, some long and almost finished, and some short and mere sketches of an idea. The other day I noticed that the number of drafts on this blog (which I still think of as my “new blog,” although I’ve been here since 2007) was approaching 600.

That’s ridiculous.

When I set about weeding them out, I found that they fell into categories. Many were outdated, but they tracked issues that had obsessed me at the time. A lot of them, for example, were about Obamacare and health insurance as a whole. A surprising number were about defending Thomas Duncan, the ebola patient who was (unjustly, I strongly believe) accused of knowing he had ebola and hiding that fact in order to come to this country. I did so much research on that, and on ebola in general, that I could write a book, but ultimately I had to abandon the issue and move on.

Posts on the Iran deal, Romney’s candidacy, Iraq, Obama this and that, scattered like so many bread crumbs telling me where my trail had led me, and representing untold hours of work, so much that I can’t even begin to estimate how much. Most of these old drafts I deleted, leaving me with slightly under 300 at present that I think still have some meaning and promise. Many of them are about history or other non-topical subjects, and therefore are what in the trade is known as “evergreens.”

Yesterday’s post on Hoover and FDR was one of these, by the way. I spruced it up a bit, but most of what was in there was research I had done about three years ago. As sometimes happens, a couple of links I had used back then were now dead, but so be it—that’s what I get for procrastination. And this particular post I’m composing at the moment—the one whose finished version you are now reading—was a draft from many years ago entitled “Blog hoarding” and consisting solely of the words “new vice.”

I also found another category of long-held drafts that are more mysterious to me in terms of what’s going on here. They are mostly non-political posts—some personal essays, some about the arts—that seem to mean something more to me than the usual blah-blah-blah. I once thought I’d work some of them up and try to sell them, but I don’t think that’s what’s operating anymore. What’s operating now is a combination of my own sense of privacy—these posts seem somehow too revealing of my heart, even though many aren’t obviously personal in the least—and a strange notion that by publishing them I lose them.

This is absurd, but that’s the best explanation I can come up with. I’ll try to “let go” of some of them (i.e. publish them) over time, but I probably won’t tell you which ones they are. Best to keep you guessing.

14 Responses to “Clearing the underbrush on the blog”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    My dear neo,

    There’s a reason God made the “Delete” key.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    I have only 150+ drafts in my backpages….. but I killed off 100 + about two weeks back.

  3. Tom Says:

    Thanks for all of the work you do. I can imagine that this is a pretty huge undertaking. I enjoy coming here on a regular basis and reading your blog because it’s thought provoking, and well researched. So thanks!

  4. parker Says:

    Not sure if I have a response to this post other than to say this is your blog and those of us who enjoy your insightful essays, your more whimsical posts, and your ventures into dance and the other arts… well, we are your ‘fans’. No need to explain your decisions lady behind the apple. And I for one will not be guessing, I will be reading and thinking about what I read (including most of the comments).

  5. Baklava Says:

    This is something Neo,

    Right down your alley and artfldgrs maybe….

  6. KLSmith Says:

    Hadn’t heard anything about 100 cans of soup; but if you don’t want to link to it – that’s good enough for me not to worry about it.

  7. Tuvea Says:

    I agree with Tom 100%.

    Your posts on every subject are well researched, thought provoking and well argued.

    I just wish you weren’t wrong so much.

    To make it perfectly clear, that last line was supposed to be a gentle, good natured tease. Please keep on keeping on!!

  8. J.J. Says:

    The 100 cans of soup referred to a story that Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, told during her interview with Megyn Kelly. Ted loves soup. His idea of stocking the larder was to go out and buy 100 cans of soup at a time. It amused me because I happen to be a big soup lover myself.
    Here’s a link:

  9. blert Says:

    100 cans sounds like 4 cases… and on sale.

    So, Ted’s a quick shopper, too.

  10. y81 Says:

    What Tom said. Even when I disagree with neo, and even if I am incivil on occasion, I really appreciate this blog.

  11. David L Kutzler Says:

    1. Admit that you are powerless over your post-draft problem.
    2. Believe that a Power greater than yourself can restore your sanity.
    3. Etc. x 12 steps.

  12. liberty wolf Says:

    I love the blog and enjoy the comments when I read them. Why not write a book BTW? I mean, there are ways to self-publish these days too if publishing seems out of reach with a house – -big or small. I would buy it. 🙂

  13. liberty wolf Says:

    And, you might be able to get a publisher, who knows. Any way, just a thought… a book!

  14. James Says:

    What a lovely post. Really enjoyed the read. 🙂

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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