Today is the four year anniversary of Frankly Curious. On this day those many years ago, I wrote, Everything Interesting for Everyone Interesting. The next day I wrote an article about kitchen knives. And then I waited another month before I posted anything else. I was exhausted! Then there were a couple of months of binge posting. And then the blog came almost to a standstill. Then I discovered politics. Through the 2010 election, I did a news roundup every day. And then I stopped. I was exhausted! But it did up my productivity to 10-15 articles per month.
Things went on like that. I continued to get more comfortable with the format. Also, I stopped explicitly marking my political rants as such. I had always felt that writing about politics was slumming. This strikes me as strange, given that everything I was doing was slumming. Looking back, I’m shocked that I was writing so little. Just what was I doing with my time? Well, actually, I know: I was reading books. But even still, it seems strange to me now that I didn’t find it necessary to write about the books I was reading. Now I can hardly move to a different room without writing about it.
Something strange happened on the morning of 8 July 2012. I was reading Crooks & Liars as I did every morning at that time. And then in the morning blog roundup was, “Frankly Curious evaluates the very serious Ezra Klein.” I was shocked. No one had ever linked to me before. I had never commented on the site. I still have no idea why they noticed me. But it did encourage me along the path of political writing. So if you don’t like my political focus, you can blame it on Crooks & Liars.
What I find amazing about the whole process of running this blog for the past four years is how the work gets better over time. In the early days, I fretted over every article. They took lots of thought and lots of time. And when I go back and read them, they are weak. And even more, they are thin. An early article that I quite liked at the time was, The Sound of One Hand Clapping. But there’s almost nothing to it. It strikes me as a bad freshman essay. The tone is wrong, for one thing. But more important: it touches on issues without getting into them. It deserves 10,000 words, not 500. But clearly, I didn’t see that at the time.
Now I dash off stuff that is far better than things I worked very hard on even a year ago. And I hope I’m able to say that next year and four years from now. Because as much as my work is better now that it has been, I still think that much of it is dreck. I often finesse articles into a presentable state that ought to be either abandoned or reworked. So I look forward to reading this article sometime and thinking, “Yikes!”
I have a feeling that I’ve taken this blog as far as I can. At this point, I really need to publish a book that will give me a wider audience and credibility beyond being yet another blogging ranter. And I am working on a book. It’s political, of course. And it brings together a lot of my thinking from writing this blog over the years. It is also making me do work that I do not feel comfortably doing—like actual political science. But it could be good. I’m just not sure my style, which could be charming over the course of 500 words, is all that readable over an entire book.
Regardless, thanks to all of your who have been around these last four years and who have put up with all this. I assume you all must have a good sense of humor…