May Wrap Up: The month of May was come

By Erika Grumet

when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit.
-Thomas Malory

Lusty for clicks and comments for sure…

When I sat down to write this, I had a cat at my feet, a cat at my head, and one under my right elbow, who was also insisting on sharing my crackers while he pawed at me and tried to prevent typing.  He didn’t want me to pet him, just hold my hand still so he could smush his face against it repeatedly until it was very clear that I am his human.  Writers and cats just go together, and I assumed I’d include another picture of one of my cats being either cute or interrupting my work, and then I got this alert on my phone:

This notification appeared on my phone…which I had to take a screenshot of and share, of course.

So no cute cat photo, but a heartfelt “thank you” to those of you who have been reading and following along here as I take a minute to reflect on a month (almost) of blogging.

We started the blog to add another way of engaging with Ivory Tower Boiler Room listeners, and to have an outlet to connect with other scholars and podcasters, and even to showcase the work of some writers that might not be seen otherwise.  It’s been a more time consuming project than I anticipated when we first began discussing it a couple of months ago, but it’s also something I have found great joy (most of the time) in working on.  There are still things to be done, tweaks to be made, before I’m satisfied, and getting the initial pages set up was a source of great frustration, tears, and metaphorical rending of garments, but once that happened, it really has been worthwhile.

There have been moments-mock arguments about the use of singular or plural possessive nouns (writer’s vs writers’) which make me smile, and unexpected decisions to make-our decisions to cover the incident at Fran’s House and then right away after that the tenure case of Nikole Hannah-Jones forced us to confront the question of how political we wanted to allow ourselves to get, even when the issues are ones we care deeply about and already share the same feelings on.  We were all taken by surprise when Adam’s post about Nikole Hannah-Jones began climbing rapidly in views; none of us expected that kind of traffic at this stage.  We’ve negotiated some minor differences of opinion about things, raced to get things up on time, and really given thought to what direction we want to take in the short term.  Having the website and blog has helped us to create some new partnerships and also opened some doors to us, although more can’t be said about that quite yet.  

We’ve had our growing pains, and difficult moments.  We’ve had laughs.  We’ve talked about wishes and hopes for the future of the Ivory Tower Boiler Room. We’ve given ourselves a place to reflect, react, respond and to grow creatively and we want to invite more writers into our space to do that, too.  

For me personally, after our first Writers’ Round Table podcast, writing my whole Big Think about not being a writer, I’ve inched closer to actually being able to call myself that, spending so much time writing blog content has meant that my own stuff has been sidelined a little bit and I feel guilty about that!  One more step towards calling myself a writer, I guess. 

We’ve just introduced our True Crime Tuesday, which will appear most weeks, about true crime and academia.  That feature is brought to you by Mary DiPipi, who you’ll hear more from in next week’s Big Think, too.  You’ll also see some plays coming up and a column by Tiffany Sowa; I’ve previewed the first one, and it was a really interesting read.  There’s also at least one book review in the works, too.   We’re thrilled to bring you those three different writers and three different features, but we created this space not only for ourselves, but to share the work and ideas of other people.   Next time you read a post, leave us a comment, even if it’s just “hey I read this.”  Or even better yet…get in touch with us about something you want to write-it can be a one time piece, an ongoing series-we’re open to almost anything. This isn’t just our space, this is a space for writing community, and in order to do that, we want you to help us build that community.

So here’s to our first month…we hope you continue to visit and that you’ll join us to share, too.

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