New Year, New Blog

Although I don’t anticipate the demise of LivingSmall any time soon, for some time now, I’ve been finding that venue confining. While sustainability will continue to be an ongoing concern, it’s only part of a larger discussion I’d like to begin about how we can interrogate the conventional narratives that are driving our political and artistic thinking.

It’s not that I’m interested in contrarianism for it’s own sake, but what I am interested in is writing more posts like Franzen and “The Great American Novel”. That post felt to me like the beginning of a larger conversation I’d have liked to have had, but for which LivingSmall was not quite the right home. I’m sure it hardly matters to my twelve devoted readers, but because I have a sort of internal compass after all these years about what a LivingSmall post is, I find myself not writing about topics I’m interested in because they don’t seem right for that venue. I’ll continue to write about food and gardening and wild nature and dogs over there, while I anticipate doing more cultural commentary, writing about books and movies and politics over here.

And so, here we are … a blog under my own name, in which I’m going to work to articulate what I both want to write and want to read, as well as to identify those aspects of our current culture that drive me crazy, and why. I anticipate that there will be political rants, since one can hardly write about literature and culture without taking on the influence corporatism has on all aspects of our personal and political life. Just to get it out of the way, I believe now, as I have since the Reagan era, that the “free market” ideology of the Chicago school and all their ilk are flat out wrong, and that it is blind allegiance to that ideology that has allowed the finance industry to steal our jobs and our money and to nearly bankrupt the nation. Just in case you wondered where I stand on that front.

The internet has changed radically since I started LivingSmall in 2003, so I imagine a substantial portion of the conversation will take place in the twitter feed to the right (a feed which might change appearance as I try out different widgets). While Twitter can be glib, it’s a great way to point folks to interesting topics. If the constant flow of small bits annoys you, you might take a look at my aggregator, The Charlotte Freeman Daily, which updates once every 24 hours with interesting items posted by people I follow on Twitter. And while you’re free to “friend” me on Facebook, I find that that has become the place where I keep up with personal friends, while Twitter is the place I keep up with folks whose work or views I find interesting in the larger world.

It took getting laid off in 2009 to shock me back into working at becoming a writer again, and while I’m a long way from supporting myself at it, 2010 was a year that saw me edging back into the world of publication. I published my first short story ever, Robert Redford Speaking French, which ran in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Big Sky Journal. Bookslut has kindly given me the CookBookSlut column,  a larger venue than LivingSmall in which to write about cookbooks and sustainability, while Culinate published my short essays about food and cooking. It was Culinate who sent my essay My Inner Child: A Christmas to Remember for inclusion in the Best Food Writing 2010. The email telling me the essay was to appear was perhaps the nicest surprise of my year.

So here’s to 2011, may it be filled with many interesting conversations about books and politics and sustainability and all the other important things that fuel our days. Here too is to a finished novel manuscript after all these years. It’s been a long go in between books, in part because I lost faith in my voice and my project, so it’s my hope that this effort will feed that one.