Dusting off ye ol’ blog

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve taken three steps back from the blogging business for a while now. Although I don’t want to provide an exhaustive list of reasons for why I did this, I do want to offer a brief explanation. The first, and probably most important reason, is that I don’t feel like I had anything urgent to say- and when I don’t have anything to say it is better just to keep my mouth put my keyboard down rather than to splatter some drivel out there.

The second reason is more complex and is something I’m still not sure I’m totally ok with. I began this blog writing under a pseudonym, and that felt comfortable to me. We can have all kinds of tired arguments now about the benefits and drawbacks of pseudonymous blogging- but the bottom line is that writing this way allowed me to have a voice, a relatively strong voice, without being overly self-conscious. Over time, more and more readers in my actual field of work read the blog and linked my pseudonym with  my real life identity.  I would get lots of lovely emails and complements at meetings about the blog, and that was all great. Except that it wasn’t. The fact that I suddenly knew WHO was reading the blog, fundamentally changed things for me and I developed a bit of  performance anxiety. I’ve got a little bit of inner perfectionist (DrMrA would disagree and say I have A LOT of inner perfectionist)…. and I always seem to choke at the most important times and in front of the most important people. So, instead of continuing to blog and second guessing every single word- I just chose to quiet down for a while. I toyed with shutting up this blog, and starting another under a different name. That doesn’t feel right to me either- because pseudonymity is a thin veil and sooner or later the same thing will happen again- better just to get back on the horse and deal on this blog, I think.

Anyway- in the time I’ve been away a lot has happened. I filled my lab, we did lots of work with a great team and I’m now looking forward to advancing in my career taking on a bigger leadership role. There is PLENTY to write about there. There was also a lot of real life stuff- an illness/hospitalization, single-mom-dom for a while, building of a house, a death, minor struggles with my own teenager… experiences that have scarred and shaped me over the past few years. Some of this was joyful, and some was (and still is) terribly difficult, but I’ll feel less alone in my existence as a mid-career scientist married to a scientist + two kids, if I dust off the old blog and write!


17 thoughts on “Dusting off ye ol’ blog

  1. I am almost a nurse now, and glad of it. Few benefactors of the tournament model would have done what you did, and I thank you and the editors of Nature for accomplishing it. But don’t be surprised if you hear the pseudonym “Merry Shelly” bantied about on the internet some time in the future. I hope you continue to work to right some fairly profound wrongs. Best of luck to you and your lab. Also, on a more serious but -I assure you- kindest note, I wish your young ones parents with the kind of perspective that measures success by what you may have to give up to achieve. I hope you and your spouse will not forget that we are humans- not super people. Let it not be said that I had a relatively easy time of it in this game. Peace.

  2. Really happy to see you back! I started reading the blog when I was a senior grad student and now I’m a TT PI…..we’ve all come a long way baby! I’ve always appreciated your voice!

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