The new year always brings new beginnings. For me, it is a time to throw out the detritus from last year, including the voluminous pile of notes I’ve accumulated while researching blog posts or preparing for radio appearances. But somewhere along the way, the number of pages heading for the wastebasket slows to a trickle as I begin reading them.
Some of these notes, especially the ones prepared for a homemade teleprompter I often used during radio interviews, contain interesting factoids — things like “consumer spending in recent years accounted for 70% of the nation’s economic activity”, or “the Obama administration has earmarked 4.3 billion for the ‘Race to the Top’ fund”, or “51% of the U.S. live in states where Republicans control either the governor’s mansion or the state legislature” — that seem likely to find themselves germinating new blog topics in the future. They go into a “recycle these ideas” pile.
Other items — phrases like “the Syntax Killa from Wasilla”, or “hate has no expiration date”, or “a pound of white flesh today will not erase the bondage of yesteryear” — all of them soundbites designed to keep radio listeners interested and fellow guests off balance, are repeated out loud before they too join the “recycle these ideas” pile. It is a stack that is at this point in danger of dwarfing the mound I ultimately intend to throw out.
Some of us who write blogs or columns on a regular basis aspire for our work to reach for greatness. I myself can feel the ghost of H.L. Mencken rattling around, challenging me to match his caustic wit, or sense the spectre of James Baldwin, prodding me to best the poignant clarity of his prose. Even in this digital age, where the need for the swift delivery of brief missives often supersedes more literary considerations, I still think that as a writer, even here on the internet, I should strive to give you, the reader, the best experience I possibly can every time out of the gate.
So out with the old, and in with the new. Think big, think hard, and think often. To everyone who reads Resurgence and the other great blogs here at Big Think, have a happy and productive new year!