Sharon December 18th, 2007

Several years ago, I started blogging about peak oil, climate change, agriculture, energy, food, sex, knitting, justice, population, family life and anything else that struck my fancy. I called my blog “Casaubon’s Book” after George Eliot’s Casaubon who sought to write a book that would bring everything in human history together in one universal narrative. It is a great project, but, of course, Casaubon is a fool. I picked the title as a caution to myself, a reminder that I sometimes think I understand more than I do. And if it was hard to spell and something of an oblique literary reference, who cared - after all, there were four people reading my blog.

Well, things have changed a little since then - I’m now writing and speaking publically about peak oil, climate change and depletion issues, and the most common problem I have when I go stand up in front of crowd is that I hear constantly “Cas…what?” “How do you spell that again?” “I can’t even pronounce it.” Had I realized anyone other than my mother would read this, I probably would have picked another title. And I’m fairly sure there are more than four people reading what I write.

So I thought it was finally time to offer people a better alternative to an arcane, hard to pronounce literary reference. I’m keeping Casaubon’s book, and will continue to post there. All material posted there, however, will be crossposted over to this blog, and I will also run some additional material here.

The differences between the two go beyond the name. For a long time, I’ve been advocating that people diversify economically, and with some ambivalence, I’m taking my own advice. I’ve been advised for years to put ads on Casaubon’s Book, and declined - I didn’t want to read them, and it is hard to be anti-consumerist and get your money from advertising. Heck, I haven’t even had a hit counter, much less a technorati rating, because I did not want to spend my time thinking about readership - for as long as I could, I wanted to spend my time imagining I was talking to a tiny audience - less intimidating that way.

The thing is, without intending to, I’ve become a writer more than a CSA farmer. I’ve decided this year to give up the CSA, and focus on subsistence farming, pasture farming and educational work, including, once I get my own ducks in a row, teaching people hands on. And while I still claim the title “farmer” for myself - I believe I and a billion subsistence agrarians can’t be wrong - I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m also a writer, and that I have limited time and energy. Four kids, one of whom is a toddler, another disabled, homeschooling, teaching, writing, speaking, growing our food, food preservation, keeping house, working on raising goats and sheep along with our poultry…there are only so many hours in a day, and I’ve run out. Something had to give.

And one of the things that has given is that if I want to concentrate on the things I want to do most, I have to find some ways of making money that aren’t too time consuming. Writing, thus far, is far less profitable and more time consuming than farming or being an English graduate student, and that’s saying something. This compromise is a way of deriving some economic benefit from all the time I spend writing, while also allowing other people to choose to ignore the ads and products if they wish.

If you want to read my material without the commercial content, you are welcome to do so at www.casaubonsbook.blogspot.com. If, however, you want to buy the books I’ve recommended, and you don’t mind the ads, please go ahead and use this site. There will also be some content posted at each site that is seperate.

I’m delighted you are here, and I hope the title is much easier to remember!



3 Responses to “Welcome!!!”

  1. danon 27 Dec 2007 at 2:59 am

    Shalom aleichem from Taiwan, where I reside after 40 years in the USA, and 5 years in Japan, and now 11 years in Taiwan. Your intro is very interesting and looking forward to seeing your books in the future. Power to you!

    I am sure you never heard about polar cities before, and now, at this moment, ! , you have. I feel that global warming is going to do us all in in the future, that govts are not going to tackle it, that the tech fixes are not going work, and that only a few people will be willing to live austere lives. I am already living an austere life. I don’t have a car, i don’t use a car, i don’t use any transport by my bicycle, i don’t use airplanes anymore. i don’t buy anything new, just fresh food. i don’t own anything. and i live a simple life quite happy. I am ready for whatever happens.

    So polar cities is my concept for that what if scenarip. take a look at my blog at http://pcillu101.blogspot.com to see images and vist climatechange3000.blogspot.com, too, to see more

    email me and tell me what u think at danbloom GMAIL….monbiot and lovelock are right, i believe all is lost, but it won’t get bad unntil 500 years more. slowly, drip drip drip. but your movement of riot for austerity is welcome, it is another shocking wake up call. go go go.


  2. danon 27 Dec 2007 at 3:03 am

    This is what Anne Haynes posted on Dot Earth blog at NYTimes website, run by Andrew Revkin:

    “For the “efforts to balance infinite human aspirations with a finite Earth” theme - presumably you’re aware of the Riot for Austerity movement that Sharon Astyk is part of?

    …which makes me, personally, want to scream, since it a) provides such a convenient target for the deniers’ “if you accept global warming you’ll have to completely change your way of life” cudgel - already way too persuasive, for the class of folks who reason by outcome - and b) provides an easy “oh but I’m already doing my part” out, for people who are into relationship, not politics.

    (fyi, had a set-to with Sharon and her posse about the Riot, in comments here
    and here, that made my level of optimism drop about 90%. If (IMO) even the people that get it don’t get it…)

    — Posted by Anna Haynes “

  3. Emilyon 27 Jan 2008 at 8:41 pm

    As a regular reader of “Casaubon’s Book,” I just wanted to give you kudos for your launch of this second website. Your description of the “too little time/not enough moola/too many cool things to do!” dilemma makes a lot of sense, and I think you’ve found a great solution. I added your new blog to my rss feed and will read them both. I’m glad that I can support your writing (via advertising income to you)simply by reading this new blog.

    Best of luck as you continue to make changes that work for your family, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and furthering these important conversations about our future.


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