The Blank Canvas

When I sat down to write my first blog post, I was immediately struck by a sense of paralysis. It reminds me of the “blank canvas effect,” the intimidating prospect of attempting to create something within an empty space and running the risk of making a mistake. Every art teacher I’ve ever had always urges the same remedy: pick up your pencil, pen, or brush and fill up that space until you aren’t afraid of making a wrong mark. So here are those marks.

A quick introduction to the road to my decision to begin a blog. I am a recent graduate of Pomona College who majored in American history, and am one of those people who was genuinely excited about their major. My interests led me to uncover history-related sites and blogs such as the History News Network, American Historical Association, PhDinHistory, Easily Distracted, and Tenured Radical. I am also fascinated by the rise of the digital age, and how it affects traditional scholarship. It was this interest that led me down the path to begin subscribing to digital humanists such as Dan Cohen, Tom Scheinfeldt, Mills Kelly, Lisa Spiro, Bill Turkel, and Jeremy Boggs.

After months of reading blog posts and listening to podcasts, I realized they were influencing how I thought, studied, and reflected as much as any class I had ever taken. My approach to history, scholarship, and learning in general had been transformed for the better. This realization ultimately inspired me to take a crack at joining and contributing to this thriving online community. It’s an intimidating prospect, but at least I'm no longer staring at a blank canvas.