A FEW WEEKS AGO I published a blog post here titled Are you an overbearing manager if you identify with The Devil Wears Prada?
This may have surprised some because it was the first one published on The Skeptical Guy since July 25, 2019 — nearly four years ago.
I added a short Editor’s Note to that new post. It said — The Skeptical Guy is back. I’ll explain my absence very soon.
That’s what I’m doing now. I’m answering the obvious question, “What happened to you and your blog, anyway?”
3 things contributed to put this blog on hold
I’ll try to keep it brief, but it wasn’t just one thing.
- My mother, Kathryn Hollon, fell and broke her leg in four places in late August 2019. Doctors had to put a rod in to attach to the bone, but the leg injury made it impossible for her to continue living with my sister. We had to put her in a board-and-care home so she could get 24/7 assistance, but like with so many, her fall was the beginning of the end. She made it to her 93rd birthday on January 28 but passed away on February 18, 2020. I was thankful she missed the Covid lockdown, but as the executor of her estate, my Mom’s death changed my focus for some time.
- I started a job in September 2019 as Managing Editor for the New Zealand-based HR Technology company Fuel50. It was a part-time contract position in the marketing department, and it introduced me to the joys of Zoom as a way to connect with workplace colleagues. I didn’t know how long the gig would last, but I worked for Fuel50 until the end of May 2023 — the better part of four years and longer than I expected. It also kept me pretty busy.
- I was threatened on LinkedIn by a former Texas cop who had moved to Portland, Oregon and wanted to “cancel” me. He accused me of racism because of a post here titled Dear California Legislature: What If I Don’t Want to Live in a Sanctuary State? The post wasn’t racist — a word now used as an all-purpose label for many things that aren’t racist at all — but this guy said he would call my Dean at California State University, Fullerton, where I was teaching part-time as an adjunct professor, and get me fired. He also threatened to reach out to my other employers and demand they fire me as well. His goal, he said, was to ruin my life. He didn’t follow through, but his attack cooled my enthusiasm for this blog.
The first two items fall under the category of “that’s life.” The last one was an early warning about so much of the terrible behavior we have seen over the last five years.
But life goes on and my focus on The Skeptical Guy has returned. That’s partly due to my work at Fuel50 coming to an end, but also because I have fewer outlets for writing and expressing myself — so why should I ignore this one that is right in front of me?
My hope is that I can grow this blog beyond what it was when I stopped back in July 2019. And, I hope you will give me some of your thoughts and feedback as well. That is one of the things I have missed the most.
A final lesson from my mentor
One more thing: One of the many things driving me to write and share more here is the recent death of Tom Plate, my first post-college boss and a dear friend for more than four decades. I recently wrote about Tom and the impact he had on me in Tom Plate: A Great Journalist and a Good Friend. Life Won’t Be the Same Without Him.
I can hear Tom’s voice in my head sometimes, and he’s always reminding me of why it is important for writers and editors to do one thing — keep working on your writing and editing!
Tom did this right up to when he went into the hospital in early May 2023, just a few weeks before he died. On April 22, he wrote this on Twitter about the passing of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan:
“He gave a lot, tried as best he knew, tried to keep The Faith, and stayed active after leaving office. Andrea and I loved his monthly book club.”
That’s one last thought from my friend and mentor. He reminded me of this: If Tom Plate can keep writing up to the end, so can I. And I will — right here on The Skeptical Guy.