This morning, I filed for divorce from Return of the Reluctant, citing irreconcilable differences. It was an amicable parting. No children, no property to squabble over. No embarrassing deposition testimony read to the jury. No alimony. Reluctant and I have had ourselves a good time over the years. But I’m a different person now. And I finally confessed to a good friend on the phone that I really had nothing more to say about books or the literary world in the Reluctant format. And I laughed for ten minutes over how absurdly simple the choice was. When something stops being fun, it’s pretty easy to become decisive.
You see, four years ago, this blog was started by a guy who worked a drab day job. But that guy is no more. Six months ago, I quit my drab day job, moved to New York to try and write for a living, and became much happier. Production stepped up on The Bat Segundo Show and the show’s tone changed to something more thoughtful, controversial, and interesting. It was much more to my liking. Yeah, there are a few clunkers in the 160 or so odd shows. But for the most part, I’m proud of the output. There are some incredible conversations in the archive and I really don’t care who hates it or ignores it. The great thing about blogging, podcasting, and the Internet is that there is truly nothing to lose.
Nevertheless, Reluctant was more of a chore. Often a thankless one. A daily grind in which I regularly asked myself why I wasn’t putting this kind of energy into the novel I’ve been working on, which is about halfway done, or the old-time radio project that I can’t stop dreaming about. Or just about any wild or ambitious idea that enters my noggin. There seem to be many of those.
I may be back. Old habits die hard. Maybe there will be something even half as fantastic as Black Garterbelt in Reluctant’s place. I don’t know. But if I do come back through a blog, and, frankly I’m on the fence right now, it will be in a new form.
For now, however, I’m done with blogging. And I’m serious this time. There are pages of crazed dialogue to bang out. Stories and essays to write. Podcasts to unfurl. Actors to recruit. A troubled protagonist to flesh out, who I’ve been learning more about over the past year.
If you’re looking for new content in the meantime, well, you’ll find all that over at Segundo — including, very soon, that Will Self conversation that some of you have been asking about.
But thanks very much for helping to make Reluctant what it’s been over the past four years.
— Edward Champion
[TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Lawrence Tate observes that my Chronicle of Higher Education piece, “The Perils of Literary Biography,” can be found here.]
[UPDATE: I learned this afternoon from Josh Glenn that apparently Keith Gessen and n+1 are responsible for my decision. Actually, Gessen had nothing to do with it. It was Dan Fogelberg’s recent death that caused me to sob for days. I sang “Same Old Lang Syne” to myself several times because I couldn’t steal behind her in the frozen foods section without getting arrested. As regular readers here observed over the past four years, I was never capable of an independent thought. For all decisions, I consult Dan Fogelberg for advice. Had Fogelberg not passed on, I suspect things would have been different.]