Thousandth Post Retrospective

Sharon December 4th, 2009

Sometime last week, when I wasn’t paying attention, I hit the thousand post mark in my blogging.  There are only 982 on this site, but I have counted at least 25 posts that somehow went astray during the shift from the old blogspot blog, which puts me past the 1000 mark pretty solidly.  There are also a few that were never published here, but appeared first at Hen and Harvest, Grist, Groovy Green or Energy Bulletin.  And back in September, I hit the five year anniversary of my blogging endeavor.  Given that I’m in the process of shifting over to the third iteration of this blog (formal announcement coming Monday morning, along with the winner of the new banner ad!), it seems a good time to consider my past.

The blog has won a bunch of awards over the last five years, but the one I’ve probably best earned is the most typos in a published genre.  I’m a terrible self-proofreader, and I always miss a bunch of stuff.  So thanks to all of you who have corrected my more egregious errors over the years and borne with the boring ones. 

The best honors of this blog have never come as awards though - they’ve come in other forms, usually as the attention of someone I really admire - and occasionally not so much.  Still my favorite honor was when one of my posts was “debunked” by, a Fox News connected site that pretends to offer impartial analysis, but actually is a right wing political loon site (note, I am not saying here that being right wing makes you a loon, just that being a loon and a right winger has been known to happen ;-)), designed to slant science.  I’ve honestly never been so proud as when “The Ethics of Biofuels,” one of my early opuses hit their pages to their outrage.  Annoying complete twits is one of my favorite things!

My next greatest moment would be when George Monbiot actually argued with me in the pages of the London Guardian on my post “A New Deal or a War Footing” about what was required to address climate change.   That was just about as awesome as something could be.   

Mark Bittman made a kind mention of this blog on his blog once, thanks to reader Leila’s kind pimping of my site.  Since Mark Bittman is the holy grail of fabulous cooking this was utterly awesome.

Getting to blog over at Grist with so many wonderful environmental writers was terrific.  I eventually petered out writing there, because of the editing and length limits, and the comparative hassle of using their site, but getting to see my stuff up with David Roberts, Tom Philpott and Van Jones was awesome.

Rod Dreher, author of the awesome book _Crunchy Cons_ and the Crunchy Con Blog has kindly done an enormous amount to spread the word of my writing, and is living proof you don’t have to agree with all your friends on everything.  He also got me a chance to write columns twice for the Dallas Morning News, for which I am enormously grateful. 

Blog posts here have led to a number of news articles - I’ve been interviewed by the New York Times (not so successful, as you may recall), the Washington Post, the AP, CNN, Voice of America, NPR and a whole host of others. 

It is sort of funny what sticks and what doesn’t - apparently I’m very mildly famous as the inventor of the terms “slow clothing” and  “slow fashion” and periodically I get media requests for interviews about the subject.  Anyone who has seen me dress will probably laugh really hard at the thought that I do fashion interviews, but there it is. 

I’m a bit of a pugnacious type, and I rarely think twice about saying what I think.  When I was first doing the blog, I admit, it never really occurred to me that anyone would actually read what I was writing, so I was totally stunned the first few times I wrote a criticism of someone, only to find out that that someone read what I wrote and wanted to argue. 

What’s even funnier is how often someone I start out attacking becomes a friend - that happened with Toby Hemenway - one of my early posts on the old blog was an attack on an essay he’d written.  We fought it out in comments, and later, he invited me out to teach with him in a Permaculture class.  Some of my favorite readers are people who started out battling with me - and who still do.  I appreciate the degree to which people do respectful and thoughtful debate here and I hope it will continue on the new site.

The very best single thing about this blog is my readership - getting to know you all has been awesome.  I’ve met some wonderful people in person at various events, while others I will probably never have a chance to meet in person, but I’ve gotten an awful lot of kindness and aid from all of you - from the criticisms of my posts, which make them better (and which often affect how things that go into my books come out) to advice and assistance.  I know that whenever I have a question or a problem about something, I can ask here and find dozen readers with good advice. 

Over the years you’ve helped me improve my pita bread and figure out whether goat health problems were serious.  You’ve given me ideas about parenting and politics, soil amendments and safety, sex, drugs, rock and roll, lawyers, guns and money.  I’ve ummm…borrowed from you a whole lot.  So thank you! 

And I’m enormously grateful for the support I’ve gotten over the years - whether I’m whining about some small problem in my life or grumpy because I’m wrong and I secretly know it, I’m lucky enough to have readers who are supportive by being kind and also by occasionally providing a much needed kick in the pants. 

In over five years of blogging, I haven’t covered every conceivable subject, of course, but I’ve covered a lot them.  I’ve written posts that were serious and posts that were funny (or at least I was trying to be).  I’ve written about love and sex, death and birth, trivial things and really serious ones.  I’ve tried never to be a one-trick pony - because my life is such a muddle of serious and frivolous, hands-on and theory I’ve tried to run that through the blog, and it has been a lot of fun for me.

I think my favorite posts were the funny one “How to Explain Peak Oil To Anyone” may be my personal favorite but I also like “Get Out the Deprogrammers” mostly because of the lively discussion in comments about what the members of my personal cult should wear, “Get Thee Over By Me Satan” which explains how the 7 Deadly Sins can be properly adapted (and committed) after an energy peak,  and “We’re Gonna Need More Pie”.

My all-time favorite serious post is my essay on “The Theory of Everything” which of course, wasn’t my idea, even thought I’ve reprinted it in two of my books - it belongs to one of my oldest internet friends, Pat Meadows, who I’ve borrowed more ideas from over the years than anyone else.  She has given unstintingly to me, and deserves special attention.  So do MEA and Elaine Solowsky, who have written pieces that I’ve reproduced here, and done a great deal to influence my thought.

Your favorites and least favorites are probably different than mine - I’m always surprised by how much attention some things get, and sometimes I work for days on something that I think will really spur debate, and get none.  But hey, that’s writing.  A half-dozen of my posts have broken the 100 comment mark, including the dark “We Regret to Inform You”  and several of the Independence Days Challenge Start Up Posts. 

My biggest screw ups in five years?  Well, unless the financial crisis gets a lot worse a lot fast, the biggest one will probably have been last year’s end of year predictions - but hey, there’s three weeks to go in December yet ;-) .  I’ve certainly said some stupid things, and lost a few readers I wish I hadn’t.  If I’ve been out and out wrong, I’ve tried to say so, but I probably missed a few.  The ones I regret most are the ones where I wasn’t thinking enough about how other people would feel about something I said.

Besides the surprise of actually being read and writing books, I’d say that the biggest surprise has been how important my religious writings have become to me, and how much they’ve begun to shape how I’m perceived.  I didn’t think it was terribly unusual to be a religious person writing about energy and environmental issues, but I find myself now being asked almost daily to come speak to religious groups of many stripes, because I’m seen as unusual in being a person of faith who speaks about our predicament in that context. 

The other biggest surprise has been how tolerant and kind my whole family has been about becoming characters on my blog.  You now know my kids, my husband, my Moms, my in-laws and my extended family and friends as people in my story, and for the most part they never complain, even when I use them as comic relief.  The boys are continually thrilled that I wrote about them, and everyone else is pretty gracious.  I hope I say often enough that the portraits you get here are necessarily fond, but limited - all of them are way more awesome than you get to hear about.

Ok, that’s my five year, 1000 post wrap up.  The new blog’s tires will need rotating and a check under the hood eventually too, but that’s a long way off now.  See you in the new spot on Monday - look here for the announcement!


17 Responses to “Thousandth Post Retrospective”

  1. Laurenon 04 Dec 2022 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for everything, Sharon!! See you on your new blog. :-)

  2. homebrewlibrarianon 04 Dec 2022 at 8:16 pm

    I’ve only been following your blog since 2007 when I somehow stumbled upon it. I can’t remember what happened that I arrived at Casaubon’s Book but I’ve been a fan ever since. Your writings have spurred me to broaden my understanding about many things including peak oil and climate change but it was your writings involving faith and action that have gotten me to start action in my own church. It’s small but growing and I thank you for providing me with enough thoughts on the matter to take that first step.

    And while I think Gene Logsden and Dmitry Orlov are both funny guys, your writings have had me howling, sometimes at inopportune times. My co-workers probably think I’ve gone off the deep end but like I care. Nobody can talk about goat sex like you can and make it hysterical.

    Looking forward to the move and your future posts.

    Kerri in AK

  3. Mrs. Pivecon 04 Dec 2022 at 8:48 pm

    Congratulations on your 1000th post! Looking forward to seeing what your new “home” is like and to keeping up with you in the days to come.

  4. NMon 04 Dec 2022 at 8:55 pm

    You taught me about peak oil! Now I bore — uh, educate — everyone I know, babbling incessantly about whatever you’ve written most recently. ;}
    I thoroughly enjoy your writing; am constantly checking in here when I ought to be doing actual work.

  5. Krison 05 Dec 2022 at 2:03 am

    Sharon, as a regular reader/lurker on your blog who never posts comments, I feel this is a good time to emerge from lurkdom and tell you how awed and amazed I am by you. I seriously do not know how you manage to nurture kids and hubby, take care of the animals, manage the farm, manage the pantry, write books, and write smart, thoughtful, often very funny, and always very informative posts — all in one day! Keep up the great work (I would weep if you ever stopped blogging), and I look forward to the next thousand blog posts!


    Kris from WA

    PS — I loved your book Depletion & Abundance (got it on Kindle to save a tree) and am reading Independence Days now. Thank you for writing them!

  6. Max Akroydon 05 Dec 2022 at 6:01 am

    I’m a johnny-come-extremely-lately to your work, having arrived via ClubOrlov a few weeks back. I’m reading Depletion & Abundance at the moment and will definitely be following your new blog. You have an enviable generosity of spirit which is a rare and wonderful thing in these scary times. So thank you, and keep up the important and good work.

  7. ex consumeron 05 Dec 2022 at 6:52 am

    Sharon, I too have finally checked Depletion & Abundance out at the library and am trying to read it before I depart on new adventures.

    I have spent the past 6 weeks reading more of your blog and those of the peak oil crowd. I greatly admire what you do here. For myself, as I read & learn, I really find myself longing for those tangible things that make life so important to me. Virtual reality is okay, but it does not compare to the day to day interactions one has in real life that cannot be defined by words or conveyed in themes.

    I spent a great deal of my summer this past year walking with a 72 year old woman with Alzheimer’s. She used to be really involved in back to the land, organic gardening, permaculture and community building. Now, of course, she has nothing but a vacant unblinking emptiness in her eyes to anything of the sort. She worked so very hard her whole life to build, to conserve, to preserve and to inspire. She too was a wonderful writer and advocate who got several laws changed in order to protect individual rights. I am very proud to hear of her accomplishments, but that is not the person I know of her.

    She is a woman I walked with all summer for 5 or 6 hours straight, up hills, through woods, in the sunshine and the rain. I sang to her and made up stories, hugged her and always let her know that the greatest honor in life were those moments we spent together, walking.

    I guess what I am just saying to you is that the things you are doing while wonderfully important - and they are, don’t get me wrong - are not everything. The reality you connect with in blogging and the insights you gain, they expand the universe but one day, those things don’t might not be so important and there is an awful lot to be said for not milking a goat or writing a blog or attending a conference.

    I explain it this way, God or all of us (however your cosmology works) went to a lot of effort to create so many different realities. There must be a reason or at least a usefulness to them all.


  8. Josephon 05 Dec 2022 at 6:59 am

    What comes through very strongly in your writing is that you are a person of integrity, that you are for real.

  9. Greenpaon 05 Dec 2022 at 11:09 am

    Yes? So? And where are the NEXT 1,000 posts please??

    Get to work!


    We’re all salivating, out here.

  10. Shambaon 05 Dec 2022 at 4:08 pm

    Have you really been blogging for 5 years? I only found you in 2007 or something.
    I love the climate change and peak oil and other nonfood issues that you comment on but it’s the food issues that kept me coming back. I found I was interested in food issues and cooking and most important, trying new things again. :)

    Mazel tov on the 1000th post and Maze tov for the new blog! (I thought that was the proper word to use in congratulating you.!

    Peace to you and all of us,

  11. Lisa Zon 05 Dec 2022 at 6:51 pm

    I also don’t remember how I came upon the Riot for Austerity and, therefore, your writing. You have certainly changed my life and the way I live it. And although it gave me an attack of anxiety and I have had to learn to put what you say, and all the new realities we live in, aside at times in order to survive mentally healthily, I appreciate what you have to say very much. The variety you speak of, which in my mind makes you more real than someone who writes only on one topic or one level, say, scientifically or religiously or politically, is what makes me come back to your blog all the time.

    I too appreciate your religious point of view. I suspect we are similar in our religiosity, though you are Jewish and I’m Christian, in that it is deep within us and something we really can’t help being. Religion/spirituality, esp. of the Judeo-Christian tradition, is so not taken seriously in our culture. (And there are some very good reasons for that-for example the caricature that some Christians have made of Jesus.) And that makes me happier still to read the writings of a serious and seriously religious person like myself.

    I’m looking forward to the next thousand!

    Lisa Z

  12. genon 05 Dec 2022 at 8:07 pm

    Even though we are both female and moms, I don’t know that I have a whole lot in common with you. And lately I have only managed be on your site about once a month, reading a couple of blogs. I will never catch up. I do have one of your books that hopefully I will get to read it after the holidays and before the garden starts back up.
    I did want to add my thanks to you for taking your time to educate and entertain. I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but I am glad it happened.


  13. Kylieon 06 Dec 2022 at 11:47 am

    Hi Sharon, Congratulations on your 1000th post! I just found your blog yesterday through Ethicurean and have just spent way too many hours reading it when I should be writing my end of term papers. I thought I’d introduce myself because you seem to live right around where I grew up, (in West Edmeston, near Cooperstown.) After I graduate from school in the city in May, (I’m a 38 year old returning student for my bachelor’s) I’ll be moving back to that area and farming with my parents on their dairy farm. At tht point I’ll probably write again and see if you have good advice for local and supportive farm organizations or other groups that might be of interest. I’m looking forward to getting to know you on the blog, and I have to say, you’re a fabulous writer and a real inspiration.
    Thanks! Looking forward to the next 1000 posts and I’ll pick up your books over break.

  14. MEAon 06 Dec 2022 at 1:58 pm

    What a milestone! Or I should say, what milestones.

    I’m glad I’ve give back a little, as your writing as give me a lot of strength, ideas (the bale of straw in the empty compost bin wee-a-torium, was the latest) and lots and ltos of laughts. And comfort — the comfort of knowing that however bleak things seem, I have the company of you and your family and your readers.

    My fav post is “The Great Sock Rant of ‘ 05.”

  15. Greg Jefferson 06 Dec 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Well Sharon, I would certainly miss your peculiar genius should you decide to call it quits. I desperately hope that you have many thousands more posts left in you.

    May your pen never rust!

    Greg Jeffers

  16. Central_PA_Chrison 06 Dec 2022 at 9:56 pm

    Excellent job Sharon. You and the work you do by sharing of your thoughts and experiences are very much appreciated. I’ve only been following for a year or two, but I’ll be looking forward to the next 1000 posts.


  17. Blog On!on 07 Dec 2022 at 12:44 am

    The best of writing time as you turn to a fresh new blog page tomorrow, Sharon. And, especially, thank you for your straightforward courage that helps us explore the issues of our time in your thoughtfully brilliant way.

    You know the way. Now, rise and shine!

    All the best,

    Danielle :)
    Tucson, Arizona

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