At its height, The Elegant Variation had over 50,000 daily readers. It gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of books I loved, like Rob Riemen's Nobility of Spirit, and it engendered many stimulating, international conversations between thoughtful, well-read readers and writers. After my daughter was born and my first book came out, I had to make some decisions about allocating my time, and TEV went fallow, though I've kept the page and its archives available. But I've missed the immersion in literary topics and the connections and discussions that the blog made possible.
The conversation seems to have moved on from blogs to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the rest. Blogs now feel very Web 1.0 But I've been attracted to and inspired by the intimacy and samizdat feel of the newsletter form, and thought I'd try a little experiment. I'm leaving the form open to revision (and feedback - please), but I envision an email digest (perhaps weekly, perhaps bi-weekly) for my friends, former students and perhaps interested strangers, of literary matters that interest or excite me. I've long said that successful blogs were, first and foremost, a record of their proprietor's enthusiasms and were driven by voice; and in TEV 2.0 (the newsletter edition), I'll continue to share my enthusiasms - what to read, books to buy, readings to attend - in my now-familiar (though slightly tempered with age and exhaustion) voice. Maybe it will catch on, maybe it won't. But to paraphrase Charles Foster Kane, I think it would be fun to run a newsletter.
If you'd like to go ahead and sign up, the link is here. The first issue is already on deck and waiting to go out, and includes Joseph O'Neill's THE DOG, Calvino, LA readings and "Life getting in the way" of writing time.