You may or may not have noticed some site problems. I sure have. In case you don’t follow Unleaded on Twitter, I wanted to share that this is a known problem and in the hands of the site’s hosting company. The site experienced some loss of articles during the last round of attempted fixes, however I have a full archive of at least the text of the articles on my RSS feed ready to recreate some old posts once the site’s stability improves. Doesn’t seem like a prudent time to add a bunch of content at the moment, however.
For those wanting some actual content, I’m going to pass along a quote that I’ve also put on my blog. It comes from Yale historian David Blight, who has written several books about the period before, during, and after the Civil War. This comes from his introductory lecture to his class on that time period. But it’s not about history, it’s not about non-fiction, it’s about all writing (paragraph break mine):
Now, I like to do a little ritual at the beginning of every class. If you’ll forgive me, it only takes me about ten seconds. But you know we live in a world where all of us in this room take books for granted. We throw books on the floor, we throw books at people, we load them in and out of our backpacks, we drop them here and drop them there, we lose them, we rip them up, we write all over them — I write all over mine. It’s only a few generations ago when there really weren’t any bookstores to go to. Your great-great-grandparents couldn’t meander a bookstore, to speak of, unless they lived in a special section of a special city.
Books are precious things. A lot of them are assigned in this course. There’s short ones, little ones, big ones, syntheses, novels, monographs. Think of a book, just for a moment, and then you can forget this if you want. But think of a book, any book. It’s hard to think of a really bad book this way, but think of a good book, one of your favorite books ever, as like a newborn child, a newborn child brought into the world. A book. Probably a lot more planning and thought and design and construction, at least intellectually, goes into that book than goes into most babies. Books have a cover. They have beginnings, middles and ends. They’re somebody’s dream, they’re somebody’s creation. They never satisfy — just like people — but they’re in some ways the greatest things we have, and sometimes it’s nice to remind ourselves of that, in the places where we take them most for granted.
If you’d like this in the broader context of his lecture, I’ve embedded it below. His thoughts about writing are in and among he thoughts on history, revisionism, and whether the story of the past is more interesting than the interpretation of the past. The above quote starts around 15 minutes in.
Hopefully things get back to normal in the next few days around here.