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A couple of members of my family have recently pointed out to me that, since I started this blog back in March 2007 on livejournal, it’s evolved from being mostly a chatty family-and-friends update-on-my-life sort of space into something more political in nature. Sure, I still throw on pictures from the neighborhood, talk about travel and Boston. But the majority of posts I put up here these days at the Future Feminist Librarian-Activist have to do with the scholarly and political issues I’m interested: sexuality, gender, feminism, books and reading, and political events.

This has happened for a number of inter-related reasons. Partly, because Boston and graduate school is no longer a new adventure, I have fewer “firsts” to share. I don’t carry my digital camera around these days when I run errands in order to take photographs of, say, the Boston Public Library or Trader Joe’s. I’m not moving to new living situations or starting new jobs.

At the same time, I’ve discovered that this blog is one of the few places in my life right now where I get to cogitate about the feminist and women’s studies issues near and dear to my heart. While elsewhere in my life I’m immersed in the History side of my brain, this blog is a place where I can do cultural analysis and engage (however lightly) in current politics. It operates as a much-needed pressure valve, of sorts, and helps me connect to the wider world of feminist activism and analysis via the feminist blogosphere. Since I don’t have as much time as I did pre-grad school to spend time on other blogs comment threads discussing these issues with other folks, posting on my own blog is a way of at least keeping my foot in the door and keeping my mind limber vis a vis feminist issues in a fashion that doesn’t (usually) turn into a black hole of Time Lost on the Internets.

And finally, as this blog as moved from being purely personal and pitched toward my family and friends to something that has an ever-so-slightly broader following, I feel it’s less appropriate to share some of the more personal facets of my life in this space. I am also mindful that these days a lot of my personal life overlaps with that of my significant other, who gets a say in what I share and don’t share online for other folks to see. Since this is new territory for me to navigate, I’ve often erred on the side of caution when recounting personal anecdotes in this space.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, as I said at the top of the post, a couple of family members have remarked recently that they feel less in touch with what’s going on in my daily life than they used to — and this blog is not as useful a tool as it used to be for checking in as it has been in the past. I have, actually, considered splitting the blog and starting one (like my brother Brian and his girlfriend Renee have) that’s personal news as opposed to quasi-professional in nature. And that’s probably a good idea, but something that I honestly don’t have the time and/or energy for at the moment. So while a new blog isn’t off the table for good, it’s been back-burnered until I finish up this grad school thing.

For now, I just wanted to let you folks who come here looking for personal news that I’ve heard your feedback and I’ll be working toward some sort of solution! In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to the blog function known as “tagging” which can help y’all navigate the blog for more personal news amidst the sunday smut lists and feminist soapboxing. You’ll notice at the bottom of each post I add a series of labels (on this post “blogging,” “family” and “domesticity”) that identify the basic content of the post. On the left-hand sidebar below the Archive (the list of posts in chronological order), you’ll see the list of labels I use in alphabetical order and the number of posts tagged with each label.

Clicking on a label will take you to all the posts, in reverse chronological order (newest at the top) that are tagged with that label. For example, domesticity. For those of you who know how to bookmark URLs, you should be able to bookmark a particular label to return to later, to see if there are any new posts under the label. The URLs for each label follow this pattern: http://annajcook.blogspot.com/search/label/LABEL NAME.

So “domesticity” will be found under http://annajcook.blogspot.com/search/label/domesticity. You should be able to bookmark that label and return to it later. While you can see that many of the tags overlap with more personal newsy items, the most frequent labels I use for personal posts are

from the neighborhood (photos)

Obviously, any other tags you are particularly interested in you can likewise bookmark to check in on regularly. Or simply hop on over to the blog and click on the relevant tag in the list for up-to-date results.

I hope this helps y’all feel a little bit more able to navigate the Future Feminist Librarian-Activist for the posts you’re actually interested in without being overwhelmed. I promise more streamlined changes when I have some time to actually follow through on them. I fear at the minute I’d be setting up a new blog only to let it lie fallow for lack of material and time to devote to updating it.

And, as always, I love hearing personally from friends and family via email. I can’t always turn around and respond immediately to correspondence but I do keep mail in my Inbox until I’ve responded — so I promise you won’t be forgotten!