It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you. Without a strong rhyme to step to. A long, long time — more than a year. Many of you know that my energies of late have been mostly devoted to a podcast I co-host with JF Martel called Weird Studies. Weird Studies has grown to become something like a part-time job, and as I had a full-time job to begin with, there’s been little time left for blogging. And the blogging I am doing is now appearing on the Weird Studies Patreon page.
So for those of you who have faithfully followed us for years and have enjoyed the writing that has appeared here at Dial M, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I’m still blogging; the bad news is that if you want to read it you’ll have to pay the princely sum of 3$ per month. (And you also get JF’s marvelous writing into the bargain, so really, can you afford not to pay?) But all this means that Jonathan and I have decided to retire Dial M for good. Sometime in the summer our WordPress subscription will run out and the site will disappear. I am going to republish my various things on magic on the Weird Studies blog, and some of my more durable posts, such as the “How to Read Academic Writing” piece, will appear on a personal site I plan on launching some time in the next year. But Dial M itself is going away.
So this is goodbye, but not farewell. Dial M started as a let’s-run-this-up-the-flagpole-and-see-if-anyone-salutes-it experiment; actually, if I’m being honest, the decision to start it was so long ago (2006!) that I can hardly remember what I thought I was doing. But I certainly didn’t think that it would become, in some ways, the one thing that would most determine the course of my professional career. The voice I developed in writing it, a voice that hangs out in a zone between academic and vernacular registers, became the voice of my formal academic work. My most recent publication, “Style as Analysis” (which JF and I discussed in an episode of Weird Studies) might give you an idea of what I mean. So, too, might an essay forthcoming in the Journal of Musicological Research called “What Was Blogging?”, which presents my final and most comprehensive thoughts on this medium. (You can read a draft of it at — you guessed it — our Patreon site.)
Even more generally, blogging gave me a sense of how scholars can, if they wish, participate in the creation of a para-academic discourse. Building spaces for such discourse has become my life’s work; I will never be done with it. So as I say, this is goodbye, but not farewell.
To all our readers: thank you. And see you later.