Last spring, I wrote about an “awesome blog” I’d found. The writer, John B., was an American who had just moved from Hangzhou to Shanghai. He wrote about language learning, cultural observations, and a number of other topics. In particular, he had written an inspiring post about his goal of learning five languages, an amusing account of The perils of being a preschool teacher, and an interesting post about this picture. To top it off, the layout of the blog was phenomenal. I loved it. Less than two months later, he destroyed the entire thing.

“Alright, it’s his blog… he can do what he likes,” I thought. Soon after, though, he had a new blog. Its layout was great, too. He didn’t allow commenters anymore, but the material was interesting, just as before. Just when I was getting back into it, John took down all his posts! Again!

After not much time, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, another blog popped up at, commenting was back, and it had a kick ass design, too. That’s the crucial part that made it so annoying. I’ve liked the layout of every single iteration of his blog more than that of my own, but I don’t have the creative ambitions to do much more with As I was thinking about the waste of all of those templates, a thought formed in the recesses of my mind. John. B… b… blog… blog butcher…

I’ll call him John “the blog butcher” B.!

Needless to say, that last blog I just mentioned is gone, too. In the current incarnation of John’s blog that I linked to in my post, Chinese Character Simplifications, no comments are allowed. However, something else caught my eye:

2007 is going to be a great year. It will be a year in which some of the things that I have been working toward for the last few years come to fruition, and it will be a year in which I challenge myself in ways I’ve not before attempted. I have, as always, big goals, and I still believe that Teddy Roosevelt got it right when he said:

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Part of the challenge I’ve posed to myself is to write consistently for the next 12 months in order to revive those writing skills I once cherished but that have atrophied badly since leaving college. The writing will be done here, as another part of the challenge is creating and maintaining a blog for a year, as starting and stopping projects is an extremely counterproductive habit, and one that I have honed to a fine science. While I cannot promise that what I will write will be of interest to anyone, I will still write, because it is the act of writing, not the adulation of readers, that I need right now.

John Biesnecker:Welcoming the new year

Well, said. I’m positive that some people will find your writing interesting. I always have. Now let’s go one year without breaking all my links to your posts!