Nerd Forecast

In a new series edited by Peggy Nelson

It’s several months away, but I’m excited to have not just a mini-essay but the closing entry coming out in a 25-part series by as many writers at The collection, “Nerd Your Enthusiasm,” is edited by Peggy Nelson, who wrote in the introductory post:

The word “nerd” has gotten a bad rap over the years. Deployed in any number of movie, meme, and IRL recess situations, it has connotations of poor social skills, and a perceived too-intense focus on (variously) math, computers, chess, historical factoids, how-to manuals … let’s just generalize as a perceived too-intense focus. And despite the term’s partial rehabilitation by our current tech overlords and the world they have wrought (and the incredible wealth they have amassed), there’s still something that hesitates before application of the term, either to others, or to one’s self.

When I chose “nerd” as the theme of this Hilobrow “Enthusiasm” series, however, I intended something different, definitionally — an upgrade, if you will. I wanted to cast as wide a net as possible, and hear about what people were just very, very interested in and excited about in all its glorious detail — their passion, their hobby, their self-claimed area of official or ad hoc expertise.

It’s an incredible roster that Nelson has collected. Before my piece (“celebrating nets of nerd communities,” in Nelson’s description) pops up on December 28, there will be ones from, among others, Josh Glenn, Miranda Mellis, Annie Nocenti, Vijay Parthasarathy, Luc Sante, and Jessamyn West. Whether or not you share their particular nerd fixations, you’ll enjoy the enthusiasm and insight they bring to their self-explorations.

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