Monday, May 27, 2013

Another year, a new direction

I'm approaching my fifth blogiversary (June 5, I think), and it’s time to admit it: my secret identity is the worst-kept secret in pseudonymous blogland.

On the infrequent occasions that I’ve posted in the past semester, I’ve mentioned that part of the reason is that I’ve been teaching an overload, and so haven’t had time to read others’ blogs (so sorry!), much less write my own posts. That’s true, but that’s only part of the issue. The other part is that my eroding pseudonymity means that so many of the things that I’d like to write about I just can’t. University politics? Nope. A huge fight with a colleague (including me completely losing my cool and getting near-shouty in front of students)? No way. Getting cranky about all my grad students at one point or another? Off-limits. My constant rethinking of my career as I near a promotion bid? Nuh-uh.  I didn’t even feel like I could mention that my book won a major award this past year — it did! — because “it would make it too easy to figure out who I am.”

Well, guess what, Notorious? Half your readers already know.

What does that mean for the future of this blog? After nearly five years, is this the end of Girl Scholar? I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve decided — provisionally — that the answer is no. But the fact that my identity is widely (though not universally) known means that there are many kinds of posts I can’t do. All of the above stuff about my employer, for example: if I wouldn’t say it to their face, I shouldn’t say it on the blog. And you know what? That’s maybe not such a bad thing, because the line between “necessary venting” and “wallowing in negativity” is a bit fine.

On the other hand, not worrying about people finding me out means that I can talk more concretely about my research and teaching. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed making up pseudonyms for people and places, and I may still do so to amuse myself. I’m also going to continue to use the pseudonym, because I just like it.  But I’m not going to be overly concerned about you finding out who I am. I can talk about something I’m researching, something I’m writing, or even about that book award (yay, me!), and it’s cool.

So here’s the first thing: I’m going to Italy today. In, like, just a few hours. I’m going to learn Italian — but only after a good, solid week and a half of utterly self-indulgent vacation. Pictures — and posts! — to follow.

Let’s see how this goes.


Dr. Virago said...

Ooh! I'm learning Italian, too. But unlike lucky you, I'm not doing it in Italy. Enjoy!

And I know what you mean about both being less pseudonymous and yet wanting to keep the persona, but also now being limited in what you can post. That's where I am, too, and that's part of why I've fallen behind on both writing and reading blogs. Time for some reinvention!

Psycgirl said...

I've always tried to write on my blog as if I will be outed at some point - so far it hasn't happened (that I know of) but it does greatly influence what I post. I am at this point in my blog as well - it is a difficult balance to strike

Comrade Physioprof said...

Italy is fucken awesome!!! I takes me a few days after arrival to chill out and shed my New York "hurry the fucke uppe, motherfucker!!!" attitude, which is absolutely counterproductive there. But once I am sufficiently chilled, it is fucken beautiful!

So have fun!!! Prego!!!

undine said...

I have no idea who you are IRL, but congratulations on the award!

Dr. S said...

Oh WOW! Congratulations on the prize! That's such a huge deal! Hooray!

Am going to write you a message soon.


Susan said...

Hope Italy is awesome... And yay for vacation. And for te continuing adventures of Girl Scholar....

Historiann said...

It's true--you can no longer write about your work environment or your students in the same way when you're out about your RL identity. But you can write about these issues more broadly & not so personally, if you'd like to address them somehow.

Can't wait to see your photos & read about your adventures in Italy! Italian seems a lot easier grammatically than French, and I was able to pick up a lot of it with knowledge of just French. I am sure that your speaking and reading abilities in Blarg will put you far ahead in Italian.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Thanks for checking in, everyone. Sorry I haven't responded, but as you might guess, I've been busy (although part of that busy has been la dolce far niente.

Historiann, I'm especially eager to talk to you when I get back, about what it's like being pseudo-pseudonymous.

(And to those of you who don't know, don't worry: you're not really missing much. But you can look me up at the next blogger meetup.)