Tuesday, December 18, 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!