Back in August, I announced the end of The Long Swim, feeling that it had run its course. I've got a real soft spot for my little blog and its role in my swimming life, and I didn't want to let it just wither on the vine as I became less inclined to engage in such a public documentary and commentary practice. But recently, I've been missing it. I hadn't realised how much I had become accustomed to using the blog as a space for testing out ideas and writing more informally than I have to in my academic life. I'm currently starting a new book project, and it's a bit like wading through treacle - have really missed the chance to float ideas and think things through outside of the more stressful space of the 'manuscript'.
So, I've changed my mind and am resurrecting The Long Swim, albeit in amended form. Most significantly, I'm going to move away from an entirely swimming focused blog to cover a wider range of issues that I'm interested in. Consequently, some of my future posts may well not be of interest to readers who have come in search of swimming content, and as well as ongoing swimming blogs, I am anticipating future posts on issues of feminist body politics, fat politics and the politics of food and consumption. Some of these concerns intersect (at least for me) - for example, one of the key triggers to me restarting the blog has been the recent flourishing debates online about low carb diets and swimming. In another example, my current book project is about obesity surgery, and will inevitably draw me towards thinking about our attitudes to fat more generally - a key preoccupation in the marathon swimming community. Other topics are less obviously connected to the blog's previous swimming focus; my new research project on the menopause, for example, does not have obvious resonance with swimming... although the paucity of research of the experience of the menopause among swimmers would also suggest an interesting potential point of connection. I sometimes feel like swimming contains a little bit of everything; it is something useful for me to think with.
I had thought about setting up a new blog rather than risking changing the character of this one, but that feels too complicated, especially since I don't experience the different issues that (pre-)occupy me as distinct from each other, and I certainly I don't have the organisational skills or energy to sustain more than one blog at a time.
So, I changed my mind and The Long Swim is back.