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Ten Years of Dysfunctional Literacy

January 19, 2022

I missed my blog’s ten-year birthday celebration a few months ago. There’s been a lot of stuff going on in my life, so I haven’t been posting stuff as frequently as I normally do, and then a few months ago WordPress notified me that Dysfunctional Literacy was ten-years old at a time when I couldn’t write anything about it.

I don’t think my blog cares that I missed its birthday. I remember my wife’s birthday every year, and she remembers everybody else’s for me, so that’s all that matters. Still, ten years on one project is pretty good for me.

I haven’t been writing as much for Dysfunctional Literacy recently. I used to post stuff twice or even three times a week. Now it’s about once a week. I’m not writing less. It’s just that most of my creative energy is directed toward my book now.

Yeah, I know. Every English teacher (and former English teacher) wants to write a book. I have several different rough drafts for several different books, but each one is seriously flawed in its own way. I’ve been a little frustrated since I retired because I haven’t been able to put any of my potential book ideas together like I’ve wanted.

In the last couple months, however, I’ve been working and improving one particular book. It’s been my favorite for a while. I wrote the rough draft a few years ago but haven’t been able to fix a few issues with it until recently. Now it’s almost done, but I won’t say much more about it until the whole thing looks/sounds right.

That means Dysfunctional Literacy has been neglected a little bit. I don’t mean to neglect my own blog. Dysfunctional Literacy got me into writing again, over a decade after I’d given up at the end of the 1990s.

The quality of my writing on this blog over the last ten years has been mixed. The early posts from a decade ago are really bad, so bad that I’m tempted to delete them. On the other hand, these posts show how my writing has changed over the years.

I’ll give myself credit; I was willing to experiment with my writing back then. Maybe I was too willing. Some of that early stuff is really stupid. Most of what I’ve written since 2013 has been solid, though. Flawed but solid. But 2011 and 2012? Haha! I really should delete some of that.

When I started this blog, I was teaching, but retirement potential was about six years away. I wanted creative freedom without the fear of getting fired, so I did my best to keep any connection to me off my blog. That was probably a wise move since my most frequently read posts turned out to be stuff like “Why Is **** a Bad Word?””

In my defense, I could argue that posts like “Why Is **** a Bad Word?” are educational, but maybe they’re inappropriate for a middle school teacher. You could make the case that a middle school teacher shouldn’t write stuff like “Why is **** a Bad Word?” Because of stuff like that, I never promoted or even mentioned my blog to anybody at school, not even to other English teachers. I never stood in front of my class and said, “Hey, students, do you want to read something really cool that I wrote on my blog?”

After all this time we’ve spent together, I feel a bit guilty for missing my blog’s tenth birthday. I could buy some flowers for Dysfunctional Literacy and promise never to write any more books again, but I don’t like to make promises that I can’t keep. I mean, right now I just want to write one book. That’s it. I’m not greedy. I’m not going to write a bunch of books just for the sake of writing books, but if I get an original idea for another one, I might write it, and then I’d feel like I was breaking my promise.

My writing priority for the next couple/few months is book first, blog second. I hope my blog understands. Maybe I’ll be done by April for Dysfunctional Literacy’s 11th birthday. It’s not quite as special as the 10th. But if I’m done with the writing/editing portion of the book, I can spend more creative time with the blog. All the blog wants is positive attention. Maybe by April I’ll be in a better spot to provide that.


  1. Marilyn Kriete permalink

    Happy belated birthday, dear blog! I always enjoy your posts!

  2. fromnowhere12 permalink

    Congratulations! 🎉I can’t wait for your book. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your blog is great! I would not be here otherwise… We will wait patiently for your next post.Happy writing!

  3. Good luck with your book. You’re a great writer.

  4. Happy belated birthday! I always have a good read, a good chuckle and some food for thought when I read your posts. Good luck with your book, I have no doubt it will be fantastic, if your writing on here is anything to go by.

  5. Happy belated birthday! I’m sorry I missed it and hope you can forgive me. BTW, my friends say that they’re busier now that they’ve retired than they ever were before, so don’t beat yourself up too much for not writing as often as you’d like. Now if only I had a wife to remind me of everyones’ birthday….

  6. Don’t worry about those early, terrible posts. I’m not saying they’re terrible, I’m just saying not to worry about them. For one thing, everyone’s first posts are terrible. Second, very few people, if any, dig into those early posts. Not that it doesn’t ever happen, but it’s very uncommon, I think. For all practical purposes, those early posts are safely tucked away in a veritable black hole.

    • You’re right. Every once one in a while, somebody stumbles into one of those 2011/2012 posts (probably by accident), but it’s statistically nothing.

  7. Congratulations on a long blogging career. 👍🎉🎊 I am new to blogging, your posts look exciting and entertaining.

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