Joseph Simmons, B.A.

May 19, 2011

This past Sunday in an obnoxiously long ceremony I received my diploma from the University of Dallas and took official possession of my dual degree in mathematics and English literature. I am no longer an undergraduate. Next year I’ll be beginning a PhD program with the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Until then I’ll be reading, writing, and ‘rithmeticking, though probably mostly the first of these.

The passing of my undergraduate career suggests to me that this blog, too, ought to pass away. I’ve been maintaining it for four and a half years, and this will be the 332nd post, for an average of roughly one post every five days, but I’ve been slowing down in recent months. This has happened for various reasons, including more schoolwork and a more active social life, but I think the main one is that the format of this blog no longer suits the way in which I think.

To explain further: “Turin Speaks” has, naturally enough given its title, tended towards manifestos, in which I take a topic and pontificate on it for a thousand words or so. But my thoughts now are both more complex than this and more focused in subject matter: my papers freshman year tended to be 1000 words, but are now on average 5000, and while four years ago I was vaguely interested in literature, philosophy, and mathematics, by now I’ve decided to spend my life studying literature through a philosophical lens with mathematical thoughts always lurking in the background. (I still have plans to write fiction, but probably won’t be going public with such plans any time soon.)

It’s not that I’m now incapable of writing a vaguely-general-interest blog in which I explain in detail whatever I happen to be thinking, but the posts on such a blog begin to feel repetitive, and if I were to go into enough depth to make them feel fresh, they would grow unbearably long, and take up time I ought to be spending doing actual academic work.

So I’ve resolved to let “Turin Speaks” fade into the past. But I did like the habit of constant reflection that blogging forced upon me, and have felt it somewhat lacking in previous months as my posting rate dropped from once a week to once a month. I’m considering starting a new blog, one less portentously titled, that will have posts that will fit better into my current mode of thinking. They will most likely include:

  • Reading journals: .I’m going to try to write something about everything I read, including popular novels, literary fiction, academic writing, and television and film. The journals won’t be called “reviews,” because I won’t try to give a comprehensive evaluation of the text and whether or not it’s worth reading, but they should give some idea of whether I liked the text or not.
  • Poetic commentaries: I’m going to try to keep reading poetry, and when a poem particularly strikes me I’m going to try to write briefly about why it does so. These will likely take the format of posting the full text of the poem followed by a paragraph-long description of what the poem does followed by a line-by-line commentary pointing out the interesting poetic techniques used.
  • Dictionary entries: I’m going to try to keep track of the words that influence the way I think about things and write a little about each one, where it comes from, and what effect it has.
  • Links: I’m going to try to post links to interesting articles I read online, including a paragraph or two of explanation so it doesn’t feel as if I’m just piggy-backing on what others have written.

These sorts of posts have all appeared in these pages before, but have always felt like digressions from what the blog was really intended for. On my new blog, they will be the primary focus, and will also likely be shorter–I’ll shoot for less than 500 words each–and of the same frequency–once a week. I haven’t actually begun this new blog yet, but when I do I’ll post a link to it here, and a request that you shift your RSS feeds from here to there.

Finally, you might ask, why start a new blog, rather than just continue here under the same aegis? Mostly, I think, because “Turin Speaks” is the work of a sixteen-year-old, and I associate it with my high school and undergraduate years. I don’t want a clean slate–my first post on the new blog will link back here–but I do want to start afresh.


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