Farewell, For Now

I began writing this blog in June 2010, roughly one year into my PhD program. Alas, I’ve enjoyed writing the blog much more than I’ve enjoyed being a graduate student.

For the past couple of months I’ve been on the verge of dropping out of my program. I know, how cliche–ABD and out. With my first child on the way, working full-time+, and being closer to forty than I care to acknowledge, it seemed to me that maybe it was time to call it a day. It didn’t help that I’m not really intending to pursue a traditional academic career and that I’m paying out of pocket for the privilege of writing my dissertation.

But … having come to the edge, I can’t quite make the jump. I’ve decided, foolishly perhaps, to re-group and make the final push over the next year and a half. That being the case, I’ve had to take a hard look at how I use my time, particularly the discretionary time that I spend online. Sadly, I’ve concluded that, for the foreseeable future, maintaining this blog, even in the sporadic way that I do, is probably not in my best interest. Of course, there will be other casualties, too, chiefly my RSS feed.

This is not an easy decision to come to. Writing in this space has been one of my great pleasures over the last few years, and the conversations I’ve been able to participate in through this blog have been the closest thing I have to an intellectual community. I’m deeply appreciative of my little band of loyal readers and commenters, some of whom have been hanging around for quite a while.

I should say that this is only farewell for now. I do not intend to permanently shut down The Frailest Thing. Consider this an extended hiatus. Most likely for a few months, perhaps a little longer. Also, I’ll probably pop in occasionally during that time to give an occasional status update. For those of you who care to do so, you can still reach me via email (LMSacasas at gmail). I’ll also maintain a pretty light presence on Twitter. I’m thinking I’ll check in there for a little while on weekends.

Before signing off, I did want to point you to a couple of items.

Recently I’ve been thinking and writing about two distinct but intertwined topics. The first is Alan Jacobs’ call for a technological history of modernity, which I first commented on here. The second topic I’m calling, for convenience sake, humanist tech criticism (HTC).

My posts about HTC have elicited a couple of responses. One of these is a blog post by Mike Bulajewski. I commend it to you. You’ll note that Bulajewski’s blog is one of the handful that I include on my blogroll. And I don’t keep better company anywhere online than I do in the list of authors that he lists on his site. I’m afraid that taking my hiatus now means that I’m going to leave that conversation unfinished. I’ll only add this cryptic comment: the way forward is through the technological history of modernity that Jacobs proposes.

Also, just today I read a fascinating interview with John Durham Peters about his new book, The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media. You should definitely read it–the interview that is, although may be also the book. During the course of the interview, he is asked about his research techniques. I’m taking his response as a model for myself moving forward.

Lastly, if there is any non-dissertation work that I undertake in the next year or so it will be on the Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology (CSET). I’m really excited about this project, and I hope that I have more to share in the coming months.

Alright folks, that’s about it for now. Writing this post has felt a little like making the final rounds before leaving your home for an extended trip. Wish me luck or say a prayer, depending on your inclinations.


33 thoughts on “Farewell, For Now

  1. Totally understandable thing, Michael. For the final push for my PhD (which I have still to defend), I basically cut myself off from the world . Took an old ‘dumbphone’ to the library and everything :) The dissertation is such a consuming thing, it really does require as much attention as you can give it – at least, that was my experience, anyway. But all the best to you. I’ve really enjoyed your writing and thinking and I look forward to the time I can read it again – except this time with a “Dr” in front of your name :)

  2. Thank you.
    I read little english. but i like your posts.
    That things give me a idea, make me think more about Net culture.

    I’m waiting for your new post.
    See u again.

  3. You will be missed. Good luck with your shifting priorities and all the best in your future pursuits. Remember blogging is always something you can pick up at a later date when time allows.

  4. Thanks for holding down this corner of the internet so thoughtfully for as long as you have; thanks for introducing me to some writers, such as Alan Jacobs, whom I might otherwise not have found; thanks for reminding me of those, like Hannah Arendt, whom I haven’t thought about in a while. Best of luck to you.

  5. An elegant sign-off (that I’m glad to read is temporary)! I followed you a couple years ago, but haven’t kept up with my reading so you did well to create A Sampling for readers to catch up or review their favorite posts.
    Until you return, best wishes!!

  6. Like others, I will miss your writing. Some of the links and your own commentary have been helpful for my own PhD and I want to thank you. I still return to the pieces on nostalgia and memory. Very best wishes!

  7. I’ve been a very appreciative reader of this blog for some time now, but I understand the pressures of PhD studies. Best of luck finishing things off. I hope that one day you will be able to return.

  8. Go well Michael, and with abundant goodwill.
    As a latecomer to your blog, I have been both delighted and stimulated, so much to think about for a non- Intellectual as mygoodself.
    Thanks also for your links and references, giving plenty to go on with, as will your archive.
    It has been a real pleasure, and I look forward to your eventual return.

    All the very best.

    Peter Howard

  9. Michael,

    Looks like you’ve been assimilated by “The Complex” oh no! (I kid).

    I have learned quit a bit from you about tech criticism. So, I really do hope this isn’t the end, but understand how life can sometimes require you make time adjustments.

    Until next time,

    Joseph Ratliff

  10. The very first time, I landed up to your page, its commendable…I praise your writings style and instant connectivity. I read, you are signing off for a while, but it’s essential at times. However, would like to see your presence soon.

  11. Sorry to hear you will not be posting regularly, but I understand that you have to prioritize your time and efforts. Closer to 40 than you care to acknowledge is probably a positive. We desperately need more “grown ups” in this discipline. Wish you the best.

    Brian (closer to 80 than to 40)

  12. Thank you so much for all you’ve done here, and know that you will be truly missed for however long you need to stay away.

  13. Do what you need to do! And good luck with this final push. Even though you’re going on hiatus and saying goodbye for now doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got a healthy archive here of thoughtful, provoking writing — stuff that people can continue to dip into while you’re away.

  14. Folks, thank you all for the kind words and encouragement–I very much appreciate them. To borrow a line from Noël Coward, I am awfully overcome at this moment and restraining it with splendid fortitude. : )

  15. Michael, I hadn’t checked in for a couple of days but didn’t expect this! It sounds like the right decision for you at this time, but I look forward to that changing. I’ve learned a lot for reading your posts, not the least of which is the value of cultivating a certain graciousness. thanks for all of it.

    So good luck, and I hope the blessing of my Buddhist-y prayers benefit you and all beings.


  16. It’s sad to see you go, but I understand the need to make the push. Also glad, it’s only temporary.

    I’ve learnt a lot from your blog, both in terms of your commentary and more coincidentally from the things you recommend (which is important – we need guides to what’s worth reading more and more these days).

    Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

  17. Good luck with the dissertation! As someone who has been reading – but never engaging – I just thought you should know that I really have enjoyed your writing, as I have always found it profound and interesting. Best of luck in the future – I for one will keep check the RSS and hopefully something will pop up in the future :-)

  18. I’m glad to have found this blog—you balance a personal touch with your tech commentary quite uniquely, and the posts have been very thoughtful. I know how much work it can be just to keep up with all of this stuff, much less to try formulating your own thoughts in an interesting way. Best of luck with the dissertation, but when you move on to other projects, please keep us posted.

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