“Check if you can disconnect the effect, and I’ll go after the cause.”

On June 1, 2020, almost thirteen years to the day since it began, this blog will disappear. My hosting service is shutting down, and I don’t have time right now to find an orderly home for hundreds of old posts.

In truth, this blog has been held together by pipe cleaners and putty for years. I grappled with outdated PHP, hopeless security issues, and chunks of code I cobbled together myself. The site crashed every time I uploaded a tiny image. Line spacing and photo placement were never right. Vital plug-ins were incompatible with each other. A database with a will of its own made it impossible for me to write and post when I wanted.

Yet it’s been fun. People are surprised when I say that much of my favorite writing is on this rickety site, even though some of it may be outdated, indulgent, or regrettable. Several posts still get quite a few hits per day from people looking for subjects they’ll only find here. Over the years, those posts have drawn more eyeballs, and sometimes better feedback, than books and articles I’ve written that carry the supposed prestige of someone else having published them.

When I started “Quid Plura?” in 2007, I had just written a book about Charlemagne, and I was still in my ten-year run of teaching medieval literature. Everything has changed since then—where I live, how I live, and even what I research and write. For the past year and a half, I’ve been collaborating with the descendants of the founders of a local town to tell their long-awaited story. As far as we can tell, the book we’ll publish this summer will be the first full-length history of a Reconstruction-era African American town in Maryland. If you’d like to learn more about our project, check out this video presentation, which will be viewable online through May 11.

Later this year, I’ll probably re-establish this blog with a new host. I like having my own little corner of the Internet. Blogs, however unfashionable, foster independent speech, the most potentially measured exchanges, and long-form writing on topics for which there aren’t paying markets.

In the meantime, if you need to find me, I’m available by email (jeffsypeck –at- gmail –dot- com), I check Twitter occasionally, and I have a new website to show off my professional writing. In the past thirteen years, this blog has brought me new real-world friends and many faithful long-term correspondents. People who still read blogs are the best kind of weird. They find, as I do, that corporate social media reins in discourse and smothers thought. If you’re one of those readers, thank you! Blogs give us room to breathe. That’s why I can’t imagine “Quid Plura?” not returning when the time is right. There’s always more to say.

12 thoughts on ““Check if you can disconnect the effect, and I’ll go after the cause.”

  1. Noooo! I hope you have a paper record. Though why should you? I certainly don’t. Well, all the same I’m hoping that someone savvy in such things helps you to translate this onto a different host.

    And I’m looking forward to that book!

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  2. I don’t read blogs… But I read this one when you share our on Facebook. I, too, hope you’ve got a copy somewhere. Good luck with whatever comes next!

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  3. Thanks, folks! Between Twitter, Facebook, and here, I’m really touched by everyone’s kind words. I’ve saved all of the text as a file that I can then host on a more stable site through WordPress. Some photos and graphics won’t convey at first, but I can replace (or ignore the absence of) many of those images. When I’ve cleared the deck of other work this summer, I’ll start making that happen. The reaction I’ve gotten just in the past few hours makes me see that it’s worth doing.

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  4. Jeff, I spend a certain amount of workdays writing script to parse information from HTML. If it would be of use to you, I can put in some time over the next couple of weekends writing something to pull text and images both.

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  5. I’ve valued your online presence immensely over the years. And I thank you kindestly for introducing me to the ghazal!

    Best of luck in all future creative endeavours. And if you’re doing anything interesting online besides Quid Plura, zing me an e-missive to let me know!

    Peace and light,
    Tom

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  6. Thanks! I’m already planning to move the hosting over to WordPress.com and bring 13 years of old posts and the same URL with me. The incredible reaction I’ve gotten to this post on social media and in email makes me want to do it quickly, but I probably won’t have time until the summer. I’ve met too many interesting writers, poets, and thinkers through blogging for this to be farewell. I’ll be back.

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  7. By chance, as I came on-line to continue with a callaborative Librivox recording of Bulfinch’s ‘Legends of Charlemagne’, I took a rare wander into Blogland and happened to hop over here! I came across you fairly late in my blogging day, I think, but always treasured QP as a real and most satisfying find; learning like yours worn so lightly, joyously and creatively is a precious thing!

    These days I don’t read here as much as I mean to, but I’m so glad you’ve found a way of preserving the content. I also treasure my copy of ‘The Bealsville Calendar’, and I’ve no doubt all your future projects will be of similar beauty and worth. Bon voyage!

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  8. Very late seeing this, but glad to see this is not truly the end. Would love to see this archived, and I’ll keep an eye peeled for your return!

    Taking time so far for just a taste of that video, the Sugarland project is intriguing, consider me staying-tuned for that as well.

    Question: have you considered an email newsletter? I would sign up…

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  9. Lucy and Diane: Thank you both for stopping by! And for your kind words.

    I’m hoping to carve out some time in the next few weeks to move this whole site to its new host. If all goes well—a not-insignificant “if”—it should be up soon with a new template but all or most of the old posts archived. To be honest, I probably shouldn’t have made such a big deal out of the transition to a new host, except to alert people to the fact that there might be a dormant period during the move.

    Diane, I don’t have any sort of email newsletter, but I was planning to talk a bit more about the Sugarland book here on the blog. As long as I can get the “new” blog going, I’ll make sure to announce when the book is available. I helped write it as a volunteer; it’ll be a fundraiser for the nonprofit that preserves their community’s history. The Youtube video has remained live longer than the local historical society promised, so definitely check it out while you still have a chance. We believe that even though the book is about a local town, their story is of regional and national interest.

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  10. Sometimes you throw your pocket money on the table, lose it, throw your grocery money for the week on the table, lose it, look at your rent money and walk away while the people who won the first two rounds tell you you are betraying the game and their kindness in inviting you and just another round and things will go differently.

    If I ever find time I am moving the static parts of my site to a static site generator.

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