“You hear the playback, and it seems so long ago…”

Eight years ago today, after learning PHP and tinkering with a template, I published the first modest post on this blog, which promised “a place to ponder books, writing, teaching, and medievalism.” Blogs were a thriving medium then, and virtual strangers sent new readers here.

Free to tinker, I found projects that suited this format: From 2008 to 2012, I read everything by young-adult writer Lloyd Alexander and posted reviews of each book. In 2009, I posted a bit of light verse that turned, fifty-some poems later, into a book of poems inspired by the National Cathedral gargoyles. You’ll now find occasional posts about such recent fixations as gardening and taking pictures with antique Polaroids, but medievalism and poetry remain the twin caryatids that prop up this slouching facade.

When Facebook and Twitter prompted an exodus that made the blogosphere feel as empty as Iceland’s interior, I stuck with it. The culture craves pithier social media—photo memes, five-second movies—but I like long-form writing, even if some days I feel like a ham radio operator or a shut-in dialing into the Internet with a screeching modem and a Commodore 64.

So why do it? Well, I like interacting with those of you who still write or read blogs, since you don’t care to chase the cool kids. I also love having a site of my own. Because I do plenty of paid writing elsewhere, I don’t need to please editors, chase trends, or julienne my thoughts to fit someone else’s word count. You don’t have to monetize your writing for people to find it.

And they do find it. Every day, someone new discovers my two most popular posts: a 2007 piece about a line in an Indiana Jones movie that represents the best thing Charlemagne never said, and a 2013 defense of the real professor behind the much-maligned textbook from Dead Poets Society. Those posts have attracted tens of thousands of readers; my page-view stats tell me that many others land here because of books I’ve reviewed, historical recipes I’ve tried, or gargoyle-festooned churches I’ve written about. Once in a while, they buy my books.

Eight years on, “Quid Plura?” has the same design template it had on day one. As always, I struggle to find time to post, and I’m delighted when people stop by. Whatever brings you here, no matter how long you stay, whether you lurk in peace or leave thoughtful comments: thank you! I appreciate your eyeballs. As this blog lurches forward, however sporadic, I hope what you find here is still worth your time.

10 thoughts on ““You hear the playback, and it seems so long ago…”

  1. I hadn’t seen that Perrine post until today. Great stuff. I am unfamiliar with Sound and Sense but I have long been a fan of his Story and Structure. Maybe I’ll look for an early edition in the local shops.

    None of which is what I meant to say:

    Happy eighth anniversary! Here’s to many more years of Quid Plura?!


  2. Always worth my time. I’m glad that someone else still blogs, though my reading enjoyment is dampened by my Victrola being out for repairs. Happy eighth!


  3. Again, don’t say everything Lloyd Alexander wrote when that does not include Dream of Jade … there’s actually quite a bit of text in there.


  4. Forums have become quiet too. I make time to read whatever you have the time to post. And you know, I never had the luxury of expecting that my culture would devote much attention to any of the things I am interested in. I am just thankful that in the last decade I have started to find people with one or two common interests, and that I might be able to parley some of them into a career. Maybe I will even learn to step lightly from group to group as I find that they were not what I thought.

    In the spirit of answering one verse with another, I will end with this post by the Renaissance Mathematicus


  5. Hi Jeff, We are of the same tribe. I, too, am still blogging– “Madam Mayo” just celebrated its 9th year. Like you, I publish traditionally but, as a blogger, I relish being able to blog about whatever I want, when I want, the way I want. As for readers… well, sometimes, yes, it does feel like the interior of Iceland. And I too get discovered and rediscovered for certain perennially popular posts (in my case it’s an ancient one on dialogue writing exercises and a note on esoteric author and German spy Dr. Arnoldo Krumm-Heller in Mexico. Go figure!) I’ve given this whole enterprise much thought– and even gave a talk about it for a panel on writers blogs at AWP– “Eight Reflections After 8 years of Blogging” http://madammayo.blogspot.mx/2014/02/8-conclusions-after-8-years-of-blogging.html — though I admit there are many days, now in year 10, when I still don’t think I have entirely figured what I am doing as a blogger and why. For now I’ve settled into posting on “Madam Mayo” every Monday (and my other blogs whenever the planets align and I’ve had sufficient coffee). As a reader I appreciate the few thoughtful and consistent blogs; alas, they are surprisingly few. Oh well! Please blog on!


  6. Scott: Thanks, as always, for stopping by! Although I downplayed it in this post, one of the best things about blogging for me is discovering not just new readers, but also new writers to read. (Your novel sits next to my TV, taunting me…)

    Dan: Good to see you here! I believe you were one of the first people to link to this blog when it went live eight years ago.

    Pete: I’ve formulated an exceedingly clever reply to your comment. Expect it to arrive on wax cylinder via parcel post in eight to ten weeks.

    Glenn: Very well: “every non-Prydian book Lloyd Alexander wrote that also wasn’t primarily a picture book.” I am strangely heartened by your insistence on precision.

    Jake: Thanks for the link. You highlighted the exact passage I suspected you would.

    Sean: Thank you for that link—and for popping in to offer smart comments. I’ve also given up hope that the culture at large will care about the things that interest me, but doing so has been more liberating than alienating. Even when I started publishing books, I knew almost no other writers—it just wasn’t my milieu growing up—so getting to know writers, artists, scholars, and enthusiastic readers via the web has been a wonderful mid-life surprise.

    CMM: Good post; I particularly like the idea that blogging is “a net that catches certain special fish— the readers who care about the things I care to write about” and the suggestion that blogging keeps you in shape as a writer. Really, if you’re a writer, why be stingy with words?


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