Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Closing time

I've decided that it's time for Mode for Caleb to come to an end.

That should come as little surprise to anyone who has stopped by in recent months. This summer my posts dropped precipitously, thanks mainly to the cross-country move. July had one post; June had four paltry ones. I had hoped that I could revive the blog in August, but other time commitments have made it hard even to read blogs, much less to maintain this one.

I have very good reasons to think that this pace would not change anytime in the next several months. In the first place, since I'll be teaching full-time for the first time, I'm eager to focus on my new courses and my new students. And there's another even more exciting and important reason why the blog has been slowing to a halt. In just about eight weeks, my wife and I will become first-time parents. The incredible adventure that parenting promises to be has already begun. And I know the ride will only accelerate once the baby arrives, right around the time I'm grading final exams.

Of course, it's not that blogging necessarily takes up a lot of time; I've always been an infrequent poster by the standards of most bloggers. But psychologically, with parenthood and the new job on the horizon, lately I've been feeling a need to find something to throw overboard, as it were. Blogging isn't easy to cut loose, even temporarily, but of all the things on my plate right now, it's the least difficult to set aside. And instead of turning the blog into a tedious series of silences, it seems to make more sense to stop blogging altogether--writing and reading--until a new kind of normalcy sets in.

But I am not--absolutely not--renouncing blogging altogether. There have been times when I have been tempted to shut down the blog because of blog fatigue. This is not one of those times. There have been other times when, like every junior scholar in the blogosphere, I have wondered about how to weigh the professional risks and rewards of blogging. This is not one of those times. In fact, I agree with Dan Cohen that it's a great time for academics to start blogging.

So I'm certain that my moratorium on blogging will not be indefinite. At the same time, I can't predict right now when it will end. Besides, since the end of this year will find me in such a different place than I was when this blog started, I think it makes sense, whenever I do return, to start a new blog, at another address. Until then, take care and thanks for stopping by. I'm extremely grateful for the exchanges and friendships that Mode for Caleb has made possible for me, and I hope that even an extended sabbatical will not mean that they must come to an end.

Collective Improvisation:
Congratulations on the great changes you and yours are experiencing!

[on blogging, the phantom pain goes away eventually. Mostly]

Posted by Blogger Jonathan Dresner on 8/31/2006 05:19:00 AM : Permalink  

Good luck with the new school year and congratulations on the new addition to the family. Sounds like very exciting times. Thanks for your support of my blog as you were one of the first to include a link to my place. Perhaps our paths will cross at a conference in the near future. Enjoy the teaching.

Posted by Blogger Kevin on 8/31/2006 07:21:00 AM : Permalink  

Wow. You will be missed, Caleb. I understand the decision - right now I resent ANYTHING that takes me away from the amazing ride of early parenting - but I will say I can't think of any blogger whose writing and ideas I've respected and enjoyed more than yours. (It helps that we've often shared the same, let's say, "deliberate" schedule of posting, for which you need never apologize. A Mode for Caleb post is worth a dozen of some other guys.) Congratulations on the new job and the impending arrival. Do your best to enjoy every minute of both. And do keep in touch, by email if not by RSS.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 8/31/2006 11:37:00 AM : Permalink  

I am very sorry to see that you will be leaving. You will certainly be missed.

To tell the truth, however, I have seriously considered whether my own blog hasn't destroyed my chances as an academic. I keep looking for some reason why I didn't make it, and this is, after all, one of the obvious possibilities. I've come to resent it a little for that, and to wonder if hanging it up might not be a wise choice.

I guess I'm more experiencing a "blog fatigue," a la Musgrave, than I am a "so much life, so little time" crisis as you are.

I wish you all the best in your upcoming endeavors.

Jason Kuznicki

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 8/31/2006 11:48:00 AM : Permalink  

Good luck!

Your blog continually reminded me that I needed to set the bar higher for myself. You demonstrated a quality of writing, and a quality of thinking, that provided an excellent model for any would-be historian.

And, from what I know from people who faced a situation similar to yours, babies are better than blogs!

Posted by Blogger Dave on 8/31/2006 12:51:00 PM : Permalink  


While I certainly will miss your thoughtful postings, I completely understand. Between teaching and parenting, your life is about to change in ways you can only begin to comprehend. But in my experience they're wonderful, amazing changes....

Still, I look forward to your return to blogging in the future. Until then, I'll have to settle for running into you at conferences.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 8/31/2006 03:12:00 PM : Permalink  

sorry to see you go... thanks for writing this blog, it's really taken me in some directions i would have missed otherwise! best of luck in everything, especially parenthood (i am also going to be a first time parent, in just about 10 weeks, so we are in much the same boat).

Posted by Blogger paul on 8/31/2006 03:15:00 PM : Permalink  

Congratulations! I hope you will stay around the blogosphere, though. And for goodness' sake, leave the blog up -- for you, because otherwise, it'll turn into a pornspam site -- and for me, because I've linked to it in Blackboard! Er ... seriously. Let me know If I need to copy and paste the skimming post, pleeeeeeaze??

Posted by Blogger Another Damned Medievalist on 8/31/2006 05:56:00 PM : Permalink  

Congrats and good luck! I'll miss your ongoing contributions to Blogland.

Posted by Blogger chutry on 8/31/2006 11:10:00 PM : Permalink  

Congratulations! I'll miss you too.

So, no plans to start up a parenting blog?

Posted by Blogger Scrivener on 9/01/2006 08:57:00 AM : Permalink  

Please keep the content here!

And if you're so inclined to send baby photos via email to people you know would care to see such things (and appropriately gush over them), please do! :)

Posted by Blogger JM on 9/01/2006 10:43:00 AM : Permalink  

Thanks, everyone, for all the kind words and good wishes.

ADM and JM, I am going to keep the blog up, and JM, I'll be sure to put you on the baby pics list.

Paul, congrats on your own imminent fatherhood, and good luck!

Scrivener, no plans right now for a parenting blog, although if I ever had one, I would certainly take your own blog as an inspiration.

Posted by Blogger Caleb McDaniel on 9/01/2006 01:38:00 PM : Permalink  

Congratulations on your new career and impending parenthood! Like everyone else, I'll miss reading your thoughts.

If you do start up another blog, please let us all know.

Best wishes!

Posted by Blogger Leslie M-B on 9/04/2006 12:53:00 AM : Permalink  

Congrats from Japan! With two kids under 3 and feeling like a first-time full-timer again teaching here for the year, I think you are making the right decision. The first 3 months with our first were a real bear; of course, now that she's almost 3, we think her younger sister is a piece of cake and are treasuring her pre-crawling period (which, judging by her response to her 3 cousins [all under 5] this past month, is going to end too soon). After the fall (or maybe spring) semester ends, you may find your inner Berube or Bitch PhD, but if not we'll just look for your articles and books! Enjoy!

Posted by Blogger The Constructivist on 9/10/2006 10:50:00 AM : Permalink  

I'll miss your blog, Caleb. Mazal Tov! for the new arrival.

Posted by Blogger Fido the Yak on 9/20/2006 02:36:00 PM : Permalink  

Caleb...I certainly understand your wanting to devote attention elsewher, but I wanted you to know, that I have been reading your blogs for some time now (Kari W.) let me know where to find you! I love getting to peek into that beautiful mind of yours! Mom

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 9/26/2006 07:03:00 PM : Permalink  

October / 2006

We are interested in learning more about history blogs and in finding ways to promote them. To aid in this effort, we are circulating a small questionnaire and will make the results available in Tapera (in Spanish) and in Digital History Hacks (in English). If you wish to participate, please return the questionnaire to
Thank you very much.

William Turkel - Digital History Hacks - Digital History Hacks
Nicolás Quiroga – Tapera –

First post (mm/dd/Y):

1. Which history-related blogs do you visit most frequently? (1-5)
2. What factors do you think are involved in your choice of blogs to read? (For example: quality of information, writing, institution, author profile, rankings, entertainment value...)
3. What factors characterize your own blog? Which are most important?
4. Have you changed the objectives of your blog since you created it?

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 10/01/2006 12:59:00 PM : Permalink  

Congratulations! I know I'm late, but I wanted to say it anyway.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 10/03/2006 06:30:00 AM : Permalink  

Caleb, I realize I'm coming to your blog very late in the game, but here's to hoping you'll start back again when you can... you're a thoughtful, good writer and I'd love to hear more of your thinking.

Hope all is well with your wife and babe!

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