On earth as it is on 1:11, October 8, 2014, I’m a fifth year graduate student at Yale finishing up his PhD in Roman history. Until last year, I was going to write a dissertation explaining how the Roman Empire fell involving a lot of math. But then, I realized that this aspiration would prove to be difficult, considering that I actually know very little about math. I had no experience with statistics or mapping software; to make matters worse, if my experimental approach failed, it might have imperiled my finishing the doctorate. So I decided to scrap that plan for the moment and stick to writing about what I know best: Roman orgies.
You see, I’d done some intensive work involving orgies as an undergraduate at Harvard. My thesis was even called “Sex and the Eternal City.” My opinions on the topic have evolved since I was a senior in college. I now have some unique insights into the subject. All joking aside, the topic is actually fascinating, and the secrets of the Roman orgy may hold clues that provide insight into some of the most abiding mysteries in Roman history. I’m embarrassed to say that my old paper was little more than a regurgitation of the scholarly consensus on the subject. My dissertation will be something very different, though. Beyond my work on ancient Rome, I teach classes as an adjunct professor, coach the Yale Debate Association, and write novels, raps, and ESL curricular materials. I just finished writing a novel about Israel, where I was born, and am trying to get it published; it culminates in a hunger strike on the Temple Mount, and the rise of a Palestinian Gandhi. I’m also about to start a transhumanist society at Yale. In my spare time, I watch a lot of MTV.
I’ve been meaning to start a new blog for a long time now, but I hesitated for several years to do so. As you can tell from the previous paragraphs, I have a lot on my plate. More fundamentally, I’m very shy about sharing my work, and am pretty cowardly in the face of criticism. Most of my writing is done in private, and often only for the consumption of a few close people. For example, only a handful of friends have seen the rap I filmed this summer in Jerusalem, and virtually no one has seen much work on my dissertation on Roman orgies (including, I’m afraid, my dissertation committee…)
But as the end of my career as a graduate students looms ever larger, I think that having a central place to consolidate my efforts, to say nothing of an audience to see what I do, will inspire me to write with greater discipline and enthusiasm. And who knows—I might even make some new friends here.
Let the games begin.