What Should I Write About?

It’s been a long and crazy week this week, and I’ve barely had a chance to think about what my topic should be for my next blog post. So I decided that that’s as good a topic as any. What should I write about for my next blog post?

My initial thought was to write about what it’s like being the parent of a child with autism. However, I’m short of time this week, and I really want to put some serious thought into that topic, so it is on the back burner for now.

My wife and I went to a ballet on Saturday in Waterville, a town about 3 hours away from where we live. While we were driving there, I was talking about my blog and how I couldn’t think about anything to write. My wife, the brilliant and lovely woman that she is, came up with all kinds of great topics for me to write about. I can’t remember any of them.

I could write about video games, and how fantastic they are. Sweet, sweet video games. I played a couple of demos last night. One was for a PS3 game called inFamous, and the other was for a game called Heavy Rain. Both were excellent. I must buy them both. Someday.

Writer’s block is such a strange thing. Why is it that some times my brain is full of (what I think are) wonderful ideas, and other times it’s like there’s just an empty void swirling around inside my head? Well, I suppose right now it could be because both my children are shrieking and my wife is trying to tell me various random things. That might have something to do with it at the moment.

My wife just reminded me of one of the topics we talked about in the car on the way to Waterville. She bought me a book at Borders for my birthday, and I was telling her about how exciting it is to browse the stacks at a bookstore and find a book that I’ve heard of and want to read, so she suggested that I write about that. This requires a little bit of explanation. I have a real passion for history. I majored in history in college, I am a member of the American Historical Association and the World History Association, and the vast majority of what I read is historical literature. I generally don’t read “popular” history books. I’m more into historical monographs, which are basically books written by historians, for historians. They tend to be rather dry and/or technical, and thus they are the sorts of things that bookstores don’t exactly sell many copies of. So when I find one that I’ve heard of at a place like Borders, it’s quite exciting.

Speaking of books, my children find books quite fascinating, which, as an avid reader, makes me very happy. My son has a bookcase full of books, and he loves to just take them out and gaze at them. We’ve actually had to pack a large number of his books away, because he’d take them all out and cover the floor with them. And my daughter, who is only 6 months old, absolutely adores being read to. She quivers with excitement when she sees a book, stares at them with rapt attention, and tries to turn the pages and eat them. It fills me with joy to know my children love books so much, especially when it seems like so many people nowadays don’t have any interest in reading books. It also makes me feel a little guilty, because I definitely don’t read to my kids nearly as much as I should. It’s somewhat difficult with my son, since he has autism and is very particular about what he likes and doesn’t like. But I really have no excuse for not reading to my daughter, since she’s young enough that she doesn’t care what I read. She just likes all books.

I suppose I could write about my recent thoughts about going back to school someday. As I mentioned earlier, I love history, and not just in a “history buff” sense, but rather in a “I want to spend my life in a dusty, dark archive doing research” sense. When I first went to college, it was with the intention of someday getting a Ph.D in history. However, as time went on, that just became less and less feasible. But it’s an idea that I haven’t completely given up on yet. I want to specialize in world history, since that’s the field I’m most interested in, but programs that offer that specialization are fairly rare. I’ve also thought about getting a master’s in library science. I love libraries, so that seems like it would be a good fit too. But that’s a dream for several years from now, for various reasons.

Another possible topic would be for me to talk about what exactly world history is. I imagine that the average person would look at the term “world history” and assume that it meant “the history of the whole world”, but that’s not really what the term refers to. World history is more a way of looking at history from a larger perspective than that of the “nation-state”, which is the unit that historical analysis is traditionally based on. World history looks at various themes, like migration, disease, trade, and so forth, and examines how these things united (or separated) various areas of the world. Another type of world history compares two areas of the world (such as, say, China and Europe) and looks at how these two areas were similar and different during a given period of time. No matter how one looks at it, world history is a very expansive and wide-ranging field of history.

Well, this has been a long and rambling essay, but at the very least I have some ideas for future blog post topics. Hopefully next week I can come up with something a little more cohesive.

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