An Essay A Day Keeps No One Away

March 28, 2011.  In fact,  Princeton professor Jeff Nunokawa publishes an essay a day using Facebook notes.  I just friended him on Facebook, joining 2268 others.  Here is an excerpt from a recent Boston Globe article about this master essay writer:

Nunokawa has taken it over the top, though, with his newest project: He’s written more than 3,200 short essays using Facebook’s Notes feature, on subjects as diverse as literature, television, and the Spanish soccer player Fernando Torres. They’re read by academics around the world. One professor explains in the Princeton Alumni Weekly that she joined Facebook just to get access to “Jeffbook.” …

Nunokawa’s essays reveal, retrospectively, a missed opportunity in the world of Internet writing. Blogs, which are now the default format for writing on the Web, are personal, timely, and argumentative: One contributes to the blogosphere by making a point. Nunokawa’s essays, by contrast, are more leisurely and less definitive. They explore and refine a sensibility. Taken together, they don’t add up to an extended argument, but to something like Pascal’s Pensees — a record of 3,200 contemplative moments, recorded for posterity and open for comment.

Today Prof. Nunokawa wrote note 3221.  However, I’d rather highlight note 3197, based on this line:  “I was afraid” (Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”), because it is so relateable.  This note begins:

I’m afraid a lot. In fact, I’m at least a little afraid almost all the time.

I’m afraid to see how quickly our world is changing, but clearly we have no option other than to hang on for the ride and grab the steering wheel when we can.