WordPress Mitosis: Part I

Elkement had the perfect term for it: Mitosis. I got the idea from Roughseas who has several blogs, representing several areas of interest. Where I previously had one, somewhat aimless, blog now there are two. It turned out that getting it done was easy. It took longer to figure out what I wanted to do that it did to get it done! Then again that’s in-line with what I’ve always been taught: planning is key and one should devote sufficient time to it. In this case the old adage “well started is half finished” was quite true. It took a couple of hours spend (which I did walking around) to figure out what the end result should be and when I finally sat at the laptop it only took about the same amount of time to do it.

A little less than two years ago I made the final decision to retire from the public school system and pursue a career in the private sector. My end date was August 30 of 2013. That left around 18 months in which to prepare mentally, professionally and financially for the change. It was straightforward enough thanks to the ongoing efforts of my professional association (the Newfoundland Labrador Teachers’ Association) since one of the benefits it provides is a 2-day pre-retirement seminar. It was time well spent and I walked away with a good sense of clarity of what needed to be done in advance.

And I did those things.

But, I also did not want to retire as such. I have 3 ‘kids’ in University and one more who will be shortly. Two of them wear dental braces and my mortgage is far from paid off. Besides, I love work and have no intentions of stopping as long as health permits. I therefore needed to get a sense of clarity on what I needed to do and who I “needed to be” next.

I don’t like gut instincts very much. While they suit us well while walking, unarmed, in the savannah or when crossing the blue-line while carrying the puck, contrary to what Hollywood might like you to believe instincts (also referred to as type one reasoning) do not serve us very well in making the hard life choices. For those we need bore logical, reasoned thinking and that requires data.

Now—where to find that data? I could ask others but it’s been my experience that people these days are not very likely to say the hard things that often need to be said. They’ve all be brainwashed by the sticky-icky-crap from the mass media that says that we’re all okay as-is and we should accept ourselves for who we are.


While not exactly a lost cause I’m aware that I do have some serious limitations, weaknesses and just plan annoying traits and really wish to deal with them if I can just figure out what they are. So, since I judged I wouldn’t get the 100% straight goods by simply asking it made sense to go about it the way I’d been trained to—namely to engage in a data-gathering exercise.

I love to write (I love to talk too, despite being a pretty classic introvert; something I never really knew but my friend Kathy C pointed out the difference) so blogging made a whole lot of sense. I’d always wanted a blog but, being a government official, it always seemed to be a strained thing to do and so I avoided it.

As an aside it’s worthwhile to explain that a bit. Government organizations aren’t really into individual empowerment very much. What matters is the “collective voice” and not that of individuals. This is said, by the way, without a trace of bitterness. I am not one of those who says, “Poor me! I worked for a whole career amid that faceless bureaucracy where my opinions mattered not a whit. It was a mind-numbing, soul-sucking experience and now (sob, sob) here I am broken. Boo Hoo.” The truth is that while it could be perceived that way, I certainly did not see it as such (most days, LOL). My experience as, first of all a teacher, then an eTeacher and finally as official with the department of education was a truly remarkable one and I was privileged to have had such an interesting, challenging career. Yes, I’ve moved on, but my years spent pursuing that past career were good ones and I have no regrets.

When I state “governments are not into individual expression and empowerment,” that’s just to acknowledge a simple fact of life. I live in an advanced democracy (Canada) which has a well-informed, intelligent and opinionated electorate. Like our national pastime (ice hockey), politics here is played skillfully but brutally. It’s full contact in either sport. Public administrations therefore walk a razor’s edge between needs and finances and no misstep, however small, escapes scrutiny. The result is rather similar to what happens when you throw food to hungry lions. Not pretty. Small wonder, then, elected officials and senior bureaucrats try and control the message as best they can, lest anything get misinterpreted.

In this milieu, then, a blog is something of a powder keg. Think about it—an experienced but passionate professional writing about what matters to her or him personally. What could possibly go wrong?

Small wonder, then, why I shied away from blogging for most of my career…

…except for at the end. As I saw it my need for data was more important than my fear of writing something that would cause unwanted trouble. I was not, after all, unschooled in business communication and knew generally where the boundaries lay between what was and what was not acceptable. Besides, in the last year or so of my career I was, for all intents and purposes “fireproof.”

Not that I wished my career to end that way.

In June 2012 I started the blog and wrote about whatever seemed important at the time. It took a while but after some time I started to find my voice.

Voices, rather.

It seemed there were two: Around two-thirds of the posts were about my home and my outlook on life in general with the remaining one-third being about more “work-like” things; stuff like eLearning, distance education and technology integration.

So now, here I am. I’ve moved on from my previous life and my second career, which is as a private eLearning professional, is going well. Through it all, though, my love of home and for life in general is in no way diminished; the opposite in fact!

But that now leaves a small problem: an unfocused blog. Is it about life? Yes. Is it about education? Yes. Is it both at once? No.

Over the past few days, the choice became clear. I needed to separate the original blog into two—one for each of the two voices. I wanted them to both be obviously parts of me while at the same time, each having their own personality. What’s more I’ve been trained to never, NEVER, mess with business practices or work-flows unless absolutely necessary.

Here’s what I did in the end:

  • Created a new blog with a new URL (this one) but with the original title (Duck? Starfish? …But 23). It contains the original items about my home and my perspectives on life.
  • Re-titled the original blog and removed all but the more work-related stuff. It’s now about eLearning.

It might take a while to get used to this but in the end it seemed the logical and sustainable thing to do and, frankly I’m looking forward to what will happen in those two new spaces.

Next: In Part Two I’ll describe the steps taken to give mitosis. WordPress made it easy,


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
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9 Responses to WordPress Mitosis: Part I

  1. elkement says:

    An absolutely great post. I can relate so much as I often feel that many blogs (or better the really interesting ones) are triggered by the life-changing events, personal decisions, and how to deal with them.

    It is an experimental playground and I think you have to try things out.

    I have pondered about the mitosis versus synthesis thing for a long time. More than 10 years ago my personal website have split into three – personal, science and weird. I have unified them again in my current blog. The “personal” and “science” sites had / have some cross-overs with the business realm.

    • I hadn’t realized that! But yes, it’s true.
      Perhaps the same will happen to mine later on.

      • elkement says:

        I don’t hold a strong opinion on the business versus private thing. A new colleague in a project had once greeted me at the kick-off meeting, saying (in an appreciative way): “You are the Subversive Element, aren’t you?”
        (At that time the subversive / weird site was a clandestine project).

        I feel that personal websites are great filters that connect you with the clients you really want to work with.

        • You are absolutely right. Frankly I thought about this for a long time before doing it. Overall it seemed more or less a dead tie but I have to be honest what put me over the edge was that “thing” about me that loves trying something new…just because 🙂
          You might notice that I kept the original URL–the one with my name–as the site for Not Banjaxed…Yet. What I didn’t say is that I also hijacked that domain name so, later on I can move all the pure elearning stuff there if I decide, later on, to go ahead with a more unified site on the one with my name in it. Don’t be too surprised to see that in a few years.

  2. Mary says:

    Hello There, I seem to get notice of postings from the new ‘Banjaxed’ (love that word!! If it’s not banjexed , don’t fix it “:) but now not from the Duck Starfish posts . I do like the separation – it will be easier but would like to follow both.

  3. Thank you for the credit, that’s kind of you. I’m hardly the only one with more than one blog, but like me, I think all the ones who do, have it clear in their heads what fits where. Like a jigsaw puzzle. Which probably explains why I do it as love jigsaws. ‘This fits there!’ I would shout. And so it does. You could always add summary educational posts to DS23 but most of us may well probably read the other, especially as we ended up following it by default. Instant readership. Very clever, eTeacher.

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