Site's Editor and Publisher Decides to Shut Down Amid Health Concerns After Months of Overwork, Fatigue and Insufficient Sleep Almost Lead to Potentially Fatal Car Crash
Dear Daily Kos Readers:
After just over five years of publishing my own blog site -- and nearly 40 years of writing as a journalist and an editor -- I am, with regret, announcing that I am retiring from the grind of banging out a 1,500-word column every week and that The 'Skeeter Bites Report -- which has been carried on DKos since 2009 -- is ceasing publication.
My home site will remain online for visitors to peruse its five-year archives until March 31. After that date, it will be taken permanently offline and its domain name URLs will be discontinued.
Like many other blog site owners, this endeavor has been a labor of love for me. This column has never been, nor has it ever been intended to be, a moneymaking enterprise. Consequently, I've never left my day job -- or, more accurately, my night job, as I work the overnight, or "graveyard" shift.
I've also hosted a weekly music radio program on Thursdays for more than 12 years, which requires me to devote several hours of advance planning. However, the radio show -- a two-hour mix of smooth jazz and soft R&B -- will continue.
Juggling between my full-time job, my radio show and The 'Skeeter Bites Report over the past five years -- including a 16-month period when this column was published twice a week -- has taken both a physical and psychological toll on me. Physically in the form of fatigue and insufficient sleep and mentally in the form of increasingly frequent bouts of "writer's block" -- better known simply as "burnout."
Indeed, the months of insufficient sleep nearly cost me my life early Monday morning. I was driving home from work and found myself nodding off -- and came within a yard of crashing through the guardrail and plunging into a river that ran parallel to the road.
Needless to say, the experience frightened the you-know-what out of me. It was the closest thing to a near-death experience that I ever want to come to. When you're suddenly confronted with the reality that you could be seconds away from dying, you realize that there are far more important things in your life than banging out a 1,500-word column every week.
"That's it!" I said to myself. "I can't go on like this!" I was getting on average just four to five hours of sleep a day -- and often just three hours of sleep. At my age -- I'll turn 58 in April -- my mind and body can't take that punishment anymore.
And so, with this issue, The 'Skeeter Bites Report is riding off into the sunset. In the five years since its launch in December 2005 -- and especially during the 16 months from September 2007 to January 2010 when it published twice a week -- The 'SBR had seen phenomenal growth, eventually syndicated to over 150 Web sites, including DKos.
But this column has remained a one-person operation throughout its five-year run and, for the sake of my health, I simply cannot maintain it any longer.
Moreover, I have reached that point in my life when it's time to "pass the torch" to the next generation of online journalists and bloggers, who have far greater reserves of energy than I do.
That this generation employed the power of the Internet to topple a 30-year-old despotic regime in Egypt is a tribute to their courage and a stark testimony of just how powerful this interactive medium really is. In many ways, the Internet is having a more powerful impact today than television did in the 1960s during the civil-rights movement.
It was never my intention to seek either fame or fortune through this medium. But it is my hope that in the past five years, this little corner of cyberspace helped to influence its readers into taking the steps necessary to effect political and social change here in America.
Although I am bringing down the curtain on 40 years as a journalist, writer and editor -- dating back to when I was a reporter on my high-school newspaper -- I'm not disappearing completely from the media.
My radio show will go on -- and if you're a lover of smooth jazz and soft R&B, as I am, I invite you to log in any Thursday from 12 noon to 2 pm Eastern Time (9 am to 11 am Pacific) and listen to the live Webcast of my show.
I thank you for your support.
Editor and Publisher
The 'Skeeter Bites Report