At the beginning of 2013, I set a goal of writing one blog post a week. Halfway through the year, I’ve obviously fallen short. I don’t necessarily lack for things to talk about, but some weeks it’s nearly impossible to find the time and energy to organize my thoughts, sit down, and write. It’s amazing how tired—both mentally and physically—I am after reading in a library for six or seven hours a day, and most nights I choose to spend my free time lying on the couch watching TV or listening to podcasts. The arrival of summer weather (alternately rainy and hot, but always humid) only increases my evening lassitude.
But while I haven’t written much here lately, I did a fair amount of writing for other venues this spring. To wit:
- “The Costs of China’s Mega-Cities,” at Dissent online.
- “China’s Peripatetic Xi Jinping Still Must Mind His Es and Cs at Home,” a short article for Pacific Standard magazine that Jeff Wasserstrom and I wrote together. The “three Es and two Cs” concept is something we discuss at greater length in the second edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (now officially published, although it’s been available for about a month already).
- “Ai Weiwei’s eighty-one days,” my first (though I hope not last) review for the Times Literary Supplement. I’m extremely excited to have my name in the illustrious pages of the TLS.
As much as I enjoy reviewing books and writing freelance articles, I’m trying to cut down on the number of side projects I take on. I now have exactly sixty days to meet a much bigger, more intimidating deadline: Chapter 1 of my dissertation is due September 1. After thinking about it and jotting down bits and pieces for the last several months, I’m both excited about seeing something come together and apprehensive about what the final result might look like. Stay tuned.