Note to Myself. Why, I ask myself repeatedly, do I keep writing Social Oxygen? I don’t need it for professional advancement. It takes time from my family whom I love deeply. Working on it denies me many of the pleasures of retirement. And, in the end, perhaps no one will care about it when it’s finished.
Then, finally, sometimes moments later and other times after working in the yard or reading something someone else wrote, I turn on my computer, open, read, and edit a chapter or section I’ve written. At other times, I notice that I can use what I’ve written to critique and forecast results from comments others make on TV, at social gatherings, or in something I’m reading.
At those moments I realize that I write so I can read it. This is what I want to read and haven’t found it elsewhere. I write in order to take part in the perennial public intellectual discussion about what’s important in life. I admire its participants and still want to participate.
I think Social Oxygen contributes something important that is missing from that discussion. I write so by chance someone else will read it and something in or about it will spark an action that laid dormant in their part of that discussion.
I write for the same reason I taught classes and conducted research in elementary and graduate schools, on the remote chance that it helps someone else toward a better life. I know it helps me. If it helps one other person, it’s worth my effort.
I also write, because I want to add my voice to the legacy of disciplined scholarship and understanding of empirical reality called classic education. My teachers and professors gave that view to me by their formal instruction and by their examples. I want that legacy to continue for my grandchildren and their children to enjoy as an option. I want to pass it forward to those who will consider it.
That’s why I write. Why do you write? I’d like to know. I’m sure I can learn something from your reasons.