Monday, March 20, 2006

A Good Day for a Good-Bye

[Update, March 21: There's four inches of snow outside my window. What was I saying yesterday about the first day of spring?

Previously I had a long post up here, talking about why I've decided to say good-bye to blogging and blog-reading for the time being, about my job and family situation and why they need my undistracted attention right now. On reflection, I've decided to take that post down--it was pretty confessional, even by my own standards, and perhaps I was overreacting to certain recent events. Of course, maybe I wasn't: that remains to be seen. But either way, it's probably best to let things play themselves out, at least for a little while longer.

If you really want to read what I read, fear not; I'm sure it's cached somewhere on the internet. Plus I'm saving it, and maybe will put it back up again someday. In any case, to those who read it before, I mean what I said about how much I've learned from and valued the exchanges, insights, and laughs I've gotten from blogging. I hope I can come back to it someday. But if not, and if whatever path I end up on doesn't involve a return to this or any blog, I want you all to know that I've had a blast. Thanks.]


Anonymous said...

Good bye and good luck  

Posted by Nate Oman

Random Kath said...

I have been a long-time lurker and really enjoyed and learned from your writings, so I am very saddened to hear that you are stopping. (I also think my presence must be the kiss of death, but that's another story . . .)

This line of yours, however, made me write:

". . . I've always imagined this blog as part of my intellectual and professional position; my exchanges with other bloggers, as a part of my contribution to the life of the mind. Well, if I'm not going to be living that life, or at least if I have no idea how I'll be living it, then the blog itself is in question, at least to me. "

Just because you will not be in academia anymore doesn't mean that you will not be living the life of the mind. As long as you are a breathing, literate, inquisitive being you will always be a part of that life - you just won't be paid to do so. I know that other bloggers enjoy your contributions and insight, and no matter what happens will always do so because you are a thoughtful, intellegent person who has something to say.

I know my husband and I struggle with our own life directions everyday . . . one of the joys of being mid-30-something these days, yes? I wish you and your family all the best on your journey.

Posted by Random Kath

birdchaser said...

As WC might have said, had he lived long enough...Never, never, never, never, never give up the blog. Keep yourself out there, be mindful of your readers and how you are presenting yourself, but use the blog to help get you your next gig.  

Posted by Rob

Guy Murray said...

Suffice to say, the way things have played out here at Western Illinois have made it pretty clear my whole gestalt--my notion of myself as an employable (much less tenurable!) colleague and teacher and researcher, an academic and an intellectual--just may not be workable


I'm not sure I would fully agree that having things play out how you perceived they would or wanted was a condition precedent to actually being a colleague, teacher, researcher, academic and an intellectual. Thought I don't really know you, I've read many things you have written (mostly over at T & S), and from at least this modest guy's opinion--I think you fit nicely into all those categories. Sorry to hear about your current disapointments--but they will be further experience in your life's journey.

I hope you don't give blogging up forever. You have much to contribute, particularly to the LDS blogging world, where we need faithful intellectuals out on the front.

Best wishes to you and your family.

Posted by Guy Murray

Lee said...

Russell, I'm sad to read this. Mostly for your sake due to the disappointment that feeling that academia isn't working out for you must cause, and secondarily for the loss to the rest of us if you permanently hang up the blogging. Naturally what's going on in your flesh-and-blood life will and should take precedence over this, but hopefully you'll return (maybe in some new blog-carnation?)

I've never been one to engage in blog-triumphalism, but I do like to think that it can provide a kind of extended conversation where even those of us outside of academia can participate in the life of the mind in some kind of meaningful way.

In any event, I wish you well and based on what I can tell from your writings I predict you'll land on your feet whether it be in the academy or elsewhere.

All the best,


Posted by Lee

manaen said...

I'm sorry about your current disappointment in your career. However, after a couple left turns in my career plans -- bioscience to education to corporate finance -- I found: 1) something in which I excel and 2) that there can be tremendous creativity and satisfying service in any pursuit in which you excel. (An example: I coordinated seven different business plans one year to save a planned factory that now employs 3,000 people. After it's opening, I felt great satisfaction as drove by all the new houses, schools, and stores that we created.) I hope that your career changes also end up being the trade of something good for something better. There can be real adventure in finding this.

I hope you hang around. Your comments have been valuable to me, whether sharing your wisdom or my personal favorite: your riff on dogs in the "Deer Are Evil" thread on T&S. 

Posted by manaen

Daniel Larison said...

Prof. Fox,
I am sorry to see that you will be giving up the blog for now. Your encouragement of my writing has been a great help, and I wish you all the best as you turn back to the far more important tasks that life has set for you. It is probably the case that everyone who blogs could probably be putting his time to better use in some way, but it is still a shame that your insights will not be available to most of us in the future.

Daniel Larison

Posted by Daniel Larison

Stephen said...

Again, you have my best wishes and sympathy. 

Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Barb said...

My eyes are a little blurry and I was ready to call it a night when I felt that I should check out the blog Ethesis. I saw a link here. This is my first visit. It sounds like a lot of good is going here. I hope there is more to come. At any rate, I look forward to reading the archives. I wish you all the best!  

Posted by Barb

Barry said...

Good luck! 

Posted by Barry

Sarebear said...

Hey, Russell. I've enjoyed your blogging muchly, although if blogging is what needs to go, so you can attend to other things, Godspeed to you and strength and support.

The despair I felt inside when my husband lost his job the last day of January this year . . . they didn't even call him, he went in to work as usual and they were like, dude, what are you doing here, you don't work here anymore . . .

The complete and utter collapse of feeling that your life has anything workable in the only direction(s) that you have invested SO MUCH in, emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, time-wise; that you have put so much of YOURSELF into, and then to have it fall apart, made me and my husband feel like WE were falling apart . . .

I posted sometime around there a post or two that described how I felt, without saying that he lost the job as we did not want family to know at that time.

I even tried to kill myself a week or so after the job loss. I just felt so . . . untethered, and bereft of having any usefulness to ourselves, to what we had worked for, to our decisions that now seemed so . . pointless.

Anyway, I know I can't say for sure that everything will work.

I do know, though, that with alot of prayer, by us, our family, and others, and aLOT of agonizing, and courage, on my husband's part, and some serendipitious things (that were opportunities the Lord sent our way, AFTER the trial of our faith, and the opportunities even BECAME a trial of our faith), and much praying and agonizing over whether or not to even DARE to hope that this new, but very scary opportunity, might come true . . . and to ACCEPT, in my very bones, to the depths of my soul, that if it did NOT work out, that it would be the Lord's will . . .

That last, there, was a spiritual wrestling match of emotionally wrenching proportions; but the morning after I settled the match, the Lord blessed us with a much better situation, that we couldn't have even hoped for.

Anyway, I am not saying that it will work like this for you; February was a horrible time for me and us.

I just pray, so much, that the Lord has something really GOOD in mind for you that you might not even be able to imagine; something that will be of great worth and benefit to you and yours. That is my prayer, and also that through this time of struggle that He will send you peace and strength.

I hope I haven't offended. Or that I've created expectations of anything, but know that I KNOW how deeply difficult this sort of thing (I'm kinda guessing as to what kind of "thing" is going on, here) can be, and that we were just there, and IT HURT SO BAD. And I would never presume to say Hey, just have faith, it'll work out.

That's too simple, and insulting. Just related MY experience, is all, but it's such a personal, individual thing, these sorts of struggles and devastating events and such.

Here's a big hug, if one could be sent through the ether towards you.


Posted by sarebear

Anonymous said...

Your blog, in its various iterations, has been a favorite of mine for quite some time; you will be missed. As for the job market, I'm not sure whether sadness or anger better captures my feelings--it seems an absurd waste for the academy to lose you. Good luck in your future endeavours.


Posted by Peter

Hugo said...

It's been a busy week, so I'm catching up on my blogs today -- and I am sorry we are, temporarily, losing Russell Arben Fox.

I am lifting you and your family up in prayer, which sounds hopelessly inadequate. My consolation is, Russell, that we both worship a God who isn't.

Peace and best to all Foxes. 

Posted by Hugo

Anonymous said...

Russell, I'm very sorry to hear you have troubles. I missed the original post so I'll just say: good luck pulling family and career and life back together into some happy form.

Posted by jholbo

Daniel Nexon said...

Russell: I didn't see the original post so I'll just echo the last comment. I wish I had better to offer, but I hope to read your writings again... Your blog played a major role in my decision to try my hand at it. Academia is tough, particularly for political theorists, and I wish it were more fair to deserving people (such as yourself). 

Posted by Dan Nexon

joe o said...

Good luck. It can be hard to see now, but things will work themselves out.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to email, this makes me really unhappy in a number of ways. I'm really sorry about this from multiple angles.

It doesn't add to my good feelings about academia. 

Posted by Timothy Burke

Stephen said...


Just dropping by again to note my concern and good wishes.


Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)