This is not the first time I’ve run such a project. In November of 2012 I began posting one animal to Facebook per day. I would include a link to a resource about the animal—often but not always Wikipedia—and a brief entry summarizing what I found interesting about it. I did this for a calendar year, ending exactly 365 days later in November 2013. During this time, I missed 4 or 5 days; 3 of those were because the Internet went down at home and I didn’t want to abuse my Internet access at work.
However, even when I quit then I had planned to start again with a new category, and about 6 months later I asked if people would be interested in a different sort of thing each day of the week (I had decided to cap it at five days a week). Quickly I found that some people would be willing to collaborate, so to accommodate collaboration and allow advance preparation of the posts, I decided to transfer the project to tumblr, though I still do cross-post to Facebook every day.
However, the weekly basis does have a slight advantage: it’s easier to remember everything and to start to understand how it all fits together when I return to the same content at least four times. I did get this benefit posting animals, too, because I have a fairly good memory and I could keep in my head the taxonomic relationships between all of the animals. (Indeed, the first idea I posted in this project was Linnaean taxonomy as an homage to that experience with the first project.) I’m not sure if the trade-off is quite worth it on its own, but the advance work certainly makes the project easier on my schedule, and I can take days off without worry. Last time, I had to arrange for friends to cover my travel-based absences. Also, the way it is now, I get to have collaborators, which is great.
I like this project quite a lot. I enjoy sharing things I find wonderful with other people, hoping they experience the same. I worry, sometimes, because I have little capacity for effusive praise; in general I simply present what I find wonderful and assume or hope that other people will find it wonderful, too. To facilitate this I try to find details about it that will draw out what’s unique or fascinating about this creature or this idea or this cloud in particular. Simply describing an octopus’s neurology or a fire whirl’s dynamics seems praise enough to me. Discussing an idea’s complexities and repercussions, even critiquing its failures, is for me an exercise in appreciation. (People have told me, in the past, that it’s clear that I care about ideas, and I suppose this is true; I don’t know what it would be like not to.) However, as much as I admit to being biased in favour of ideas and fantastic beings, I am glad I chose to write about rocks, weather, and flora as well; their concreteness, and their independence from human need or activity, gives me the same sort of wonder that the animals did: their sheer otherness from human endeavour is a relief from our self-absorption and neurosis. They are grounding to a person as easily detached as me. Even if there was nothing else interesting about them, this would be wonder enough in itself.