Taking a Break Until Next Year

First published at 365gay.com on November 19, 2010

This column will be my last for a while. I’m taking a break—maybe for a month, maybe longer—to recharge my batteries and focus on some other projects. So I wanted to take an opportunity to say “thank you” to my regular readers and to let you know what to expect in the meantime.

I’ve been a columnist for eight years. I started with occasional contributions to Between the Lines (www.pridesource.com), Michigan’s LGBT weekly. Those turned into a bi-weekly column there, which occasionally was picked up by other regional papers, as well as the Independent Gay Forum (www.indegayforum.org).

The early columns manifested both my training as an academic—I’m a philosophy professor by day—and my lack of training as a journalist. The paragraphs were excruciatingly long, and you could tell I was just itching to throw in footnotes. (I still have a habit of too many parenthetical asides, like this one.)

Slowly, thanks to practice and the critical commentary of several friends, I found my journalistic “voice.”

In 2007 Jennifer “Jay” Vanasco showed me great confidence by inviting me to become a regular opinion writer for 365gay.com. Soon thereafter the column (which by then had adopted the title “The Gay Moralist”) went from bi-weekly to weekly, a schedule I find both invigorating and daunting.

I still work full-time as a philosophy professor, teaching every Monday and Wednesday at Wayne State University in Detroit, as well as speaking on gay rights at about two dozen other campuses annually. Increasingly, I find myself writing columns on planes (this one is being completed while en route to the Skepticon convention in Missouri), my elbows pressed against my seatmates while I type. I’m also working on a book project, and I should be working on a (now overdue) encyclopedia entry on homosexuality and ethics.

I don’t offer any of this as a complaint. Quite the contrary: I get paid to think and speak and write about stuff that excites me, and that’s about as cool a job as one can have. But the schedule (especially the travel) has been draining me lately, which makes it harder to produce good work.

My fatigue also turns me into Cranky McCrankmeister, as my very patient partner Mark can attest. It seems like a good time for a hiatus.

Here’s the exciting news: while I’m gone, this space will be taken over by Chase Whiteside, the 22-year-old journalist best known for his “New Left Media” interviews at Tea Party rallies, Sarah Palin booksignings, and similar events. (Watch them at http://newleftmedia.com/)

I’ve met Chase on a few occasions, and I can tell you he’s smart, charming, incisive, and wise beyond his years. His videos, created with Wright State classmate Erick Stoll, have been viewed by millions on YouTube, and he is fast developing a reputation as a journalist to watch.

You can watch—or rather, read—him here, on Fridays at 365gay.com beginning December 3.

Meanwhile, I want to say thanks. Thanks to Chase for taking over and lending his fresh perspective to these pages. Thanks to Jay Vanasco for her ongoing faith in me.

Most of all, thanks to you, my readers, who have inspired me to do this for so long. The relationship between writers and readers is a strange one: I’m speaking to you, but I don’t know you; you may feel you know me, but you’ve (typically) never met me. I’m the tired-looking stranger in the airplane seat, putting his laptop away.

But I’ll be back soon.