Wake Up and Fight

Woodie Guthrie’s New Years Resolutions, 1942.

I had a dream the other night that an acquaintance of mine who used to have a blog did a negative review of my innocuous New Years post. In the dream he went on about how putting up that picture of a pupusa just wasn’t “serious.”

This is, of course, a silly anxiety dream. There’s no way this person would ever have complained about any of my posts let alone that one. But this dream crystalized two writing fears of mine: offending people and going off-topic. These fears lead to writer’s block and timid writing. They can also cause you to lose contact with the muses entirely.

To regain some of that muse contact I lost over the pandemic I feel like I need to let go of these fears even if I lose a few readers in the process. Which is itself a ridiculous fear since, if I were chasing clicks, I would have given up long ago.

Almost all of the “urban homesteading” blogs like this one disappeared years ago. That’s the result of many factors. One is the rise of social media, as capital found a way to monetize posting and shift the fruits of that monetization away from creators and towards large companies like Meta (gag) and all the others: Twitter, TikTok, YouTube etc. I’m sorry to say that I bought into the optimism about the internet in the 90s, that we’d all have blogs and disrupt Big Media. That turned out to be a dystopian joke. Now all we have are uncle Bob’s Qanon rants.

Another change happened during the last few years. Concern over “fake news” caused Google to tweak their algorithm such that results from large institutional sources such as The Washington Post, The New York Times etc. are favored over humble blogs like this one. In the golden age of blogging I could expect traffic from posts on niche topics. Now that search traffic has dried up.

And, yet, I still find this blog worthwhile even if traffic has greatly diminished. Root Simple functions both as a diary of sorts and as a way to explore new concepts and ideas. I hope that un-censoring myself will help me get back in touch with the muses. I think that the letting go of the fear of going off topic will actually be the biggest step. Wish me luck and I thank you all for sticking with us over the years.

Leave a comment


  1. Thank you for sticking with us, too! I’m always glad to read the “thoughtstylings” that you (both) share!
    I do miss the podcast, but I imagine it was a lot of work to create.
    Looking forward to hearing the uncensored voice of Root Simple in whatever form it may appear.

  2. I’m still reading and will still read as long as you post. I miss the open and familiar voices of personal blogs. I still follow the ones I’ve followed for years but probably I should comment more–if I were writing one I’d really want the comments. Will try to do better!

  3. still reading with great delight and gratitude, i always look forward to your posts. thank you!

  4. I’ve been reading & listening for years and have gotten so many ideas from you and Kelly. I appreciate the diversity of your posts & episodes. Sometimes the ones that resonate for me are a surprise, like the one on the Apocalypse (Nov 16, 2018). I came for the urban homesteading and stayed for… it all. Mostly for the sense of there being real humans behind the screen, not just content machines. Call in those muses, forget the rest.

  5. “Read Lots Good Books” and “Dance Better” – These are a couple of New Year’s resolution I like. Also, I love personal blogs and miss the proliferation of them. Thanks so much for keeping on with Root Simple.

  6. Like others, I came here for the urban homesteading and stayed for all of it! Keep writing whatever strikes your fancy and it will likely strike the fancy of many of us.

  7. We don’t say it often enough, how much we appreciate your posts. Your writing is solid and occasionally vulnerable, which makes us like you even more. I wish I had your tenacity in posting.
    xx from Michigan (formerly Chicago). H2+Art

  8. I check your blog almost every day. I really appreciate the varied content. I began reading your blog before I retired from public school teaching–and just after I bought my frankenhouse–parts of which are about 100 years old–with depression-era add-ons. Your blog has inspired me in many ways. Please keep it up!

  9. I so appreciate your posts and look forward to reading them. I have been a faithful reader for many years. Keep up the good work!

  10. I love your blog, and check in daily. Maybe I’m niche too – musician, urban homesteader, cyclist, knitter. Anyway, very thankful for your work!

  11. Fear so often holds us back from what needs to be said and done. I say, Go for it. We loyal readers will stick with you…and perhaps you will inspire us to leave our own fears behind. I appreciate all that you bring to my eyes and mind.

  12. “What would you do if you were not afraid?”
    Always a remarkable question to ask ourselves, regularly.
    I continue to read you over the years because of the wide range of content, the usefulness in application, and the humble attitude of continual learning you and Kelly model. Amid all the collective grief and isolation of the past two years, we all need to model love and kindness and encouragement to one another, no matter what differences in politics anyone has. We’re all just flawed human beings.

  13. Yay, so glad to hear you will be continuing to share your thoughts. I really look forward to your posts. Thank you for all that you do!

  14. Please, please keep blogging! I truly enjoy your posts and the excellent links you include. I still go back and read Kelly’s wonderful post from 2012 about her desire for a personal uniform and the fascinating comments it engendered. Root Simple is smart, funny, offbeat, thoughtful, thought-provoking and original – in short, everything that seems to be in short supply these days. Happy New Year to you and Kelly and thank you both so much for all you do.

  15. I feel ya, Erik. It is more comfortable to stick to “safe” topics with “broad” appeal when it comes to writing for the public, but…there is always so much of that vanilla already. It is something I’ve struggled with over on my blog. I found Root Simple because I was learning more about how to make my home a unit of production instead of just consumption–you and Kelly taught and inspired me a lot–here and through your books. I think you’re hilarious, quirky, and awesome. I’ve been glad to know you in this way and would, most certain, mourn the loss of your writings.

    Now, about that Guthrie photo….Epic! I love its wide ranging nature–Take a bath. Change socks. Love Everybody. Make up your mind.–This looks like a fun way to make myself some goals, remind myself of what is important. Plus, I bet it will be a hoot to look back on in a decade or two. I know what I’ll be journaling tonight…

    Happy New Year to the lot of you. 🙂

  16. Yes Root Simple!!!!! do not conform!
    I’ve been reading for years and there are things you wrote years ago that I continue to muse over long after. I got Josie Baker’s bread book because of you. I make my own lip balm because of you! For two years now I’ve kept an indoor worm bin because you led me to Worms Eat My Garbage. I have IRL friends with less impact on my day to day life- what you do here is really important and valuable. We readers are lucky 🙂

  17. I love blogs and i love your blog! I only wish you posted more.

    I’ve always failed to understand how people (and corporations, too) thought moving their content to Zuck’s fever dream was a good idea.

  18. I had to look up what a pupusa was when I read your NYE post. Learnt something new again.
    I enjoy your blog , even though so many things don’t relate to me here in Melbourne, Australia. There’s always something that tickles my fancy and leads me to investigate further.

  19. So many kind and loving comments here. I really, really appreciate your support. I can’t tell you how inspiring this is to get feedback like this. Best wishes to all of you for a happy 2022.

  20. Yes! Let go of what you “should” write and let us know what’s on your mind. You’ve been an inspiration for years, and I hope for years to come. Happy new year!

  21. Thank you Erik for all you and Kellie have posted for all these years, and please keep it going! I found you right after your first book, Urban Homestead, came out. I had been reading a blog from another SoCal family, and they were trying to copywrite and capitalize off the urban homestead concept. They had attempted to go after y’all and the whole thing turned me off of them and on to you!
    From bread ovens, gardening, music, book suggestions, I read your content regularly. I always look forward to your weekend linkages too! Just received the mushroom book you featured recently and can’t wait to dig in to that.
    Take care, Happy New Year. To your Health and Prosperity!

  22. I love the eclectic material. I hope you’ll continue to write about whatever crosses your mind!

    And I love the blog form. Social media has never made any sense to me and I’ve never engaged but this at your leisure and ours with as much content as the subject warrants form is right up my alley.

    So thanks for lots of tangents and lots to think about!

  23. Keep it up. I don’t read as often as I’d like, at least regularly, but do like to binge every few weeks or months and all of the content is appreciated.

  24. Thanks for posting this. I’m delighted and refreshed to have discovered an insightful blog like yours. Believe it or not, Google did route me here (in search of pine litter composting advice) and I think my question was just niche and obscure enough that you are the only person who had a well written answer albeit in 2009.

    It’s wonderful to find intelligent discourse on both responsible pet ownership and environmentally friendly practices, and I’m glad you’re still going strong!

  25. I’ve been reading for many years, years before you were forced to change the blog’s name even.
    I’m glad you still write 🙂

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