Sunday, July 25, 2010

An Anniversary

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of this blog. It's an arbitrary thing to celebrate, but we humans seem to have a penchant for such things, and I'm not going to resist. I do feel a small sense of satisfaction, to be honest.

LITC began as an experiment. For many years, I struggled to find not just my voice as a writer but, more importantly, my purpose as a writer. I jumped between different genres and methods and styles as I worked toward my writing degree from Columbia College Chicago. After I graduated, I continued searching. I had momentary successes, but never achieved the consistency I wanted.

Then something funny happened. Based on my portfolio of amateur design work I'd done over the years - mainly for small personal projects - I was able to finagle my way into an entry-level graphic design job. It satisfied many needs: I was able to devote my energies into learning a new way of working, picking up new tools, and absorbing lessons from my fellow designers. Without realizing it, I'd taken pressure off of my writing. I was no longer desperately waiting for something to click. I could loosen up. I think that new mindset is one of the factors that allowed the notion to start LITC to hit me. The other was finding out that such a thing as the paleoblogosphere even existed. I don't remember which blogs I first discovered, but before long my Google Reader swelled with them.

Eventually, I decided that I would join in, and LITC was born. And over the last year, I feel like I've made a lot of progress toward that consistency I wanted. And I definitely feel like I've figured out my purpose as a writer. I love writing about this stuff. It's the best way to learn. So I want to thank everyone for reading this blog, for offering your thoughts in the comments, for criticizing me when I've gone astray. I'm serious about that last point. Over years of writing workshops, working with design clients, and being married to a woman with a good bullshit detector, I can take it. I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of the paleo community online, but one thing I value is that we hold ourselves accountable. I know I'm not the most knowledgeable paleo blogger, but what I can offer is an honest accounting of what I'm learning, and hopefully that process can offer some insight into the science. My traffic has grown more than I ever could have hoped, especially after my interview with the charming and gallant Mark Witton in February. That's extremely encouraging. I can't stress enough how grateful I am to my readers.

A fitting way to mark this birthday is to share my thoughts on the place most responsible for my interest in science (with a deserved shout-out to the Brookfield Zoo). To this day, stepping into this building takes me back to the awe I felt when my dad would bring me there as a child. We weren't churchly folks; we weren't world travelers. I'd never before been inside a building that echoed with so much history. The Field Museum in Chicago was the place that first introduced me to the shared joy of nature, to the sciences as a cultural treasure. Tomorrow I'll kick off a week devoted to the museum with the story of its beginnings.

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the one year anniversary!

    I'm belatedly discovering the paleoblogging community, and it is wonderful to learn that there are so many like-minded enthusiasts - people who may not be professionals in the field but who do have an appreciation for the science and aren't just wowed by the Hollywoodization of dinosaurs as the ultiamte movie monsters.

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  2. congrats david.. def one of my favorite blogs in the feed.

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  3. Congratulations Dave!

    Your blog is an enjoyable read, I look forward to many more posts.

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  4. This blog is magnificent - you cover research, pop-paleontology stuff (movies, music, links and so on) and little historical tidbits (My fav. was the one you did on Nopsca a long time ago).

    My sincerest congratulations on LITC's first Anniversary.

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