Warp & Woof, v. 2.0
Welcome to Warp & Woof, a blog from William Sundwick. I’ve been working on this project intermittently since I retired from the Library of Congress in 2015, after 42 years of service.
Back in the day, maybe 10-15 years ago, when blogging was something people did – before social media addled their brains – there was a category of amateur writing called a “life blog.” I suspect that’s where Warp & Woof fits, although that genre is now passe.
In earlier versions of my welcome post, I asserted the lofty purpose of facilitating readers in their supposed quest for “some ways to navigate the philosophical, moral and aesthetic dimensions of life.” That sounds rather pompous now. But I was only starting to write in early 2017, and for the first three years of Warp & Woof the blog was primarily a fun, therapeutic endeavor for me anyway. It still is.
I aim to write well – by my standards. So, criticism is probably not as welcome as endorsement, or perhaps the simple acknowledgement that somebody is reading my posts!
At launch on Ground Hog Day, 2017, I set up a structure based on five separate pages. Taken together, these five pages would includer all the different realms of thinking in which I indulged. They would encompass who I was as a senior citizen with a long history of reading, participating in life (and politics), raising a family, and serving the world of learning and research as a librarian, then information technologist, at the Library of Congress.
What were these five pages? I chose their names, with tropes, as follows:
- The Present – “what matters for sure!”
- The Past – “what used to matter”
- The Future – “what may matter, who knows?”
- Totems – “objects that matter, or mattered” (really about car culture, and growing up with the auto industry in Flint, Michigan)
- Beats – “sounds that matter, since we never get tired of hearing them!” (reviewing my peculiar tastes in popular music)
They each have a logo as well, shown in upper left of each post and on Warp and Woof blog page.
As Warp & Woof developed over the next three-and-a-half years, there emerged a body of work on each page, with The Past and The Present clearly leading in the number of posts. Perhaps that reflects my age cohort, the people most important to me, and my own intellectual orientation.
I decided to include anything about politics, sociology, and history in The Past – makes sense to me (politics and sociology because they reflect a long-building tradition meaningful only in the context of your understanding of the past). My experience with my grandchildren as they grow, my own concerns over physical and mental health for people like me, and some more philosophical pieces, fill the page named The Present. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of posts on The Future page, as those topics I defined belonging there are generally not reflected so much in my reading. It was supposed to cover economics (always about our striving and limits), anthropology (return to primitive tribal roots is where we’re headed), eco-catastrophe, and all things sci-tech (which I don’t really keep up with these days).
Perhaps most interesting to readers, since they cover actual topics, not just my own boring experiences and thoughts, are the remaining two pages: Totems and Beats.
Totems came about because I believe that the automobile has had an enormous effect on American (and world?) culture over the last 100 years. Not just that cars have enabled much greater mobility, not just because they represented freedom and economic growth for decades, but because I grew up in Flint, Michigan as a General Motors brat. I spent my childhood and youth enamored with the flash and bling of new GM cars each model year through the ‘50s and ‘60s. Cars were totems for an American middle-class culture. To me, it was the golden age of American culture. Also, says current historical narrative, a golden age of American prosperity! Yes, it is a nostalgia page, take it for what it’s worth.
Beats, be forewarned, is about certain trends in popular music. They may not be the same trends that the reader identifies with; but, hey, this is my blog! So, the page is about the music I like. That has some variations, but strongly favors edgy, avant-garde, or punk bands. The folk, or “roots,” tradition appears only as it seems to have influenced harder rock interpretations later (i.e., Delta Blues to Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan).
This new launch of Warp & Woof is on the WordPress platform, replacing Blogger. It gives me a chance to spruce up the appearance a bit and make better cross-references to contents. Also, the word cloud is more digestible, limited to “top tags.”
From its launch in 2017, my progress with Warp & Woof was mostly encouraged by the Arlington (VA) Community Education program’s “Daytime Writers” group. The instructor, moderator, mentor for the group was Jerry Haines – until his death in June 2020. He had to quit teaching earlier in the year, cancer. But he kept in touch with us, his stalwarts, until the end. Jerry’s guidance and encouragement, along with the regular feedback from the group’s members, more than anything, is what enabled me to keep going with my project. I haven’t been able to write in months, without Jerry, or the group. Quarantine fatigue may also be partially responsible for my hiatus – no experiences to write about! But, mostly, it has been no Jerry to give me pointers and no loyal audience of readers, small though it may have been, that has enforced my silence.
I hope to “get back in the saddle” now. We’ll see if a new writers’ group emerges to fill the void left by dissolution of the old group. And hope still exists for my mystery readers out there, whoever you are, to subscribe and give me virtual feedback. I would love to hear from any of you!
Let Warp & Woof v.2.0, “things that matter,” begin!