It’s odd how self-promotion can suck the joy out of things you used to do for free

I’m sure most people who read or know about my blog think that I write here as a way of maintaining a footprint so that people will read / buy my book!

Actually this is far from the truth. I’ve been posting here for nine years, ever since August of 2008. In that time, the blog’s gone through the normal vicissitudes as my interest has peaked and faded and then peaked again. It’s even gone through one (rather recent) name change! But it’s never been about selling the book or promoting myself. Indeed, I’d rather hoped for the reverse effect: I’d hoped that the release of my book would draw more readers to this space!

However now that my book has come and gone (though not entirely, the paperback is still in stores!) and since I don’t have a book coming out next year (nor, most likely, the year after that), I am somehow feeling a lot less pressure to post here. Which is an odd thing, when you think about it, since, as I said, I was posting here long before there was even the prospect of a book (long before I was writing novels at all, in fact).

Anyways, I’m rolling with it.

My life has been thoroughly unexciting lately. I came back from my honeymoon. Ummm, I’ve been writing a lot. I read Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the gulag (it’s entitled, unsurprisingly, Gulag: A History), and now I’m reading Orlando Figes’s book about private life in Stalinist Russia: The Whisperers. I’m pretty fascinated by the Soviet Union. It was such utopianism on such a grand scale that it seems unimaginable to me, and I thoroughly understand why it captured the minds of so many leftists in the West. I also understand the history of conservatism much better. It’s a lot easier to see the value of conservatism when it’s positioned as a defense against this sort of radical social change (as opposed to when the radical social change is, say, school integration or gay marriage).


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