This morning I received an email forwarded from a science editor/literary agent asking about the Accretionary Wedge, with respect to promoting a book of geological photos and descriptions. Below is my response. Names of the involved parties have been redacted with (XXXXX).
Thanks for the note, (XXXXX). I’m perfectly willing and able to “keep it going,” to use your phrase, but we haven’t been getting hosts, themes/ideas for AW’s, nor most importantly, participants. Looking over the last couple, Tuff Cookie did a stunningly good job of fleshing out the three or four participants and linking scads of related sites and posts for “outreach.” Dave Bressan only got 3 submissions for what I thought was a terrific topic in “unanswered questions.” Given that this is the first time the issue of the AW’s continuity has been raised (to me or at the AW site, at least) since TC’s hosting nearly 3 1/2 months ago, I have to ask in all seriousness, is the geoblogosphere really all that interested?
I have considered posting about this issue at my own blog, but for reasons that make plenty of sense to me, I don’t think the geoblogosphere pays much attention to it- I don’t think the question would have the impact it ought to. And sounding like a broken record, “still looking for topics and hosts,” at the Wedge’s site was starting to become a little painful.
I have been pretty frustrated about it; I have enjoyed the AW both as a reader and a participant [and as an editor, I might add], and it pains me to see so many other carnivals in the biosciences, astronomy, physics and so on, flourish while the single geology carnival sort of withered on the vine. But I honestly didn’t and don’t know how to politely pressure people into actually taking the time to put together a post every month or so. Do you have any ideas?
To revive it now, for the purpose of promoting a book, seems to me somewhat distasteful. It may be a fine book or not, I don’t know. But is this the face we want for the AW? What exactly would be the topic for such a post? Pretty Pictures? Most geobloggers do those posts as instinctively as breathing, and I’m not sure that would be a terribly engaging wedge.
Look, I’m willing to put quite a bit of effort into this carnival, but from the time I started, I’ve tried to keep a light hand on it, not make single-handed decisions, and count on the unparalleled enthusiasm of the geoblogosphere and its bloggers to provide direction. Perhaps I overestimated their enthusiasm.
I’ll CC this to (XXXXX) and (XXXXX), and I’ll also ask your permission to put this note up as a blog post, as is. This has been tough to write; I feel a little like I’m being asked to make the final decision for a loved one on life support. I want to emphasize that I’m willing to do whatever I can to keep the AW going, but I can’t live the loved one’s life. I can’t be the Accretionary Wedge. Only the Geoblogosphere can. And I’m just not seeing the effort or concern there.
Sincerely and Wistfully, Lockwood
Comments and reactions? Here’s The Accretionary Wedge‘s home page if you’d rather leave comments there… they’ll end up in my email either way. I’m hoping to track down an image I used sometime last year to tack on a somewhat less dolorous tone for the end… wish me luck.
Followup: Why is it I never think of using Firefox’s “find” tool until I’ve already spent 15 minutes scrolling? At any rate, I think we can say with some confidence that this is not the status of the Accretionary Wedge… at least at this point.
(Originally posted in Sunday Funnies, from Saturday Bulletin; I’ve cropped the caption)