Monday, December 31, 2007

Just Ask

Today marks the end of my first full year of (relatively regular) blogging. So, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who have helped to keep this blog alive and healthy by reading and commenting over the last year. (Especially Kyle, Petya, Chet, bernadette, Booga Face, melanie, kirsten, nazareth, Ideas Man and Brooke.) This space has been a tremendous help to me in many ways. Not only has it kept me in the regular practice of writing-- as Booga Face once said, "the more you write, the more you write"-- but it also has served as a very productive "filter" for a lot of my thoughts. And, thanks to all of you, I've actually learned quite a bit from the conversations here.

You all have helped me think more seriously about several things in 2007 ranging from the profound to the very, very mundane. Highlights include (but are not limited to): academic "fashion" , the nuances of "studenting" (here and here), sublimity, strategies for avoiding alien abduction, how to write a blurb about yourself, sad songs, whether or not racism is rational, and the mystery of our attachment to simulacra. And, of course, there were your absolutely hilarious contributions to the books-NOT-to-give-as-gifts list. To both my surprise and delight, conversations with several of you here on the blog have mirrored in many ways conversations with you in person. I am very grateful to those of you who have remained faithful to those conversations, despite our distance from one another in the "real" world. Thank you.

In the spirit of my series earlier this summer (called The Quotable South), I want to begin the new year with another themed series. I'm borrowing Petya's idea and announcing the start of the "Just Ask" Challenge, beginning in Janunary. It works like this: you ask me a question (in the comment section here) and I will post an entry-long answer to it. Your question doesn't actually have to be "challenging" per se, but I'm going to limit the range of possible-queries by requesting that they not be "personal" ones (like *my* favorite whatever). Instead, I prefer you ask things that might actually spark a conversation, however bizarre or idiosyncratic you may think your question is.

You might be thinking: "What is it that qualifies you, Doctor J, to act the guru here?"
And I say to you: "Why do you hate the people so?"

Or, in the words of Petya: "Sheesh, expertise is overrated!"

I never cease to be amazed at the power of technology to keep us in communication with each other. Here's to continuing the conversations in 2008. It's a small world after all.


petya said...

i've loved all of your recent stuff keeps me away from the computer and i just come to take little sips of your writing and then go back to dancing with my 3-year-old niece. she can't talk but she LOVES to dance.

here's my question: what is home like? i hope it's obvious that i am especially vague on purpose.

Doctor J said...

Thanks, Petya. Looks like you have the only question in the running, so I'll be serving up my "home"-cooked wisdom directly...

Askablogr said...

Hi Dr. J, I just stumbled across this post because I'm interested in how bloggers invite readers to ask questions, and how they respond. I wasn't happy with how that process worked on my own blog, so I built a little widget that invites readers to ask questions (in a Spam-proof way) and "automagically" turns their questions and my answers into blog posts. If that sounds useful, please check out - it's still just a prototype, but I'd love it if you'd try it out and pass along any feedback you might have. Thanks!