So, how do I begin? Having gone through all the necessary technical steps to get this blog ready to sail, I must confess I'm drawing a blank on how to break the champagne bottle and get under way. Up until now I've been content to express my particular brand of nonsense on Twitter – an approach which has, for reasons I still can't fathom (or at least internalize), proven somewhat popular. Rest assured I've no intention of altering my tweeting habits, but I think the time has come to start writing beyond the limitations of 140 characters.
"Why?" is the obvious question. There are several reasons. For one thing, I have a rather bad habit of rambling on Twitter. In the past it hasn’t been uncommon for me to post a dozen or so messages in quick succession, and while people are usually kind enough to tolerate this bad behavior, it still rather defeats the purpose of microblogging if I ignore the natural constraints of that medium. I've also seen it argued recently that blogging should be made a compulsory part of postgraduate education, since it can help to hone some of the writing skills necessary for the completion of a thesis. As I'm currently working on my MA thesis – by far the longest and most challenging paper I've ever had to write – I can definitely use all the practice I can get.
Still, the real reason is a personal one, and it's a little bit trickier to explain; to be honest, I’m not even sure I completely understand it myself. Once upon a time, I tried to draw clear lines of demarcation between certain parts of my life. My fandom activities were to stay in one tidy box, my academic pursuits in another, and heaven forfend the two should ever meet. Setting aside the dubious wisdom of attempting this type of compartmentalization in the first place, it’s easier to simply say that the policy has failed spectacularly. My academic and fan lives have become increasingly entwined over the last couple of years; my thesis topic (about which I'll have more to say in the future) is evidence enough of that, as is my live-tweeting of a recent academic conference from an account sporting a candy-coloured magical pony as its avatar. Whether or not I would have been better off maintaining a strict separation of concerns is at this point irrelevant; that ship has long since sailed (or foundered, depending on your point of view). And to quote the great Frank Turner,
If we’re stuck on this ship and it’s sinking
Then we might as well have a parade.
In other words, I need to find a way to stop worrying so much and just enjoy the ride, and let these minor issues of identity work themselves out as they will. So, in essence, this blog is an experiment, an applied attempt to reconcile things I’ve tried without success to keep separate. I don’t know whether it’ll work, I don’t know whether or not I'll like the outcome, and I don’t know whether anyone will care to read about it. I'm hopeful, though, and there's really only one way to find out for certain.