Less well known than "Rip Van Winkle," Washington Irving’s famous tale of extreme somnolence in the Hudson Valley, is the fact that it was included in a collection of sketches purportedly written by the late Diedrich Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker, of course, was himself a fiction, created by Irving as a literary conceit and in-joke. Knickerbocker’s first appearance, inspired in part by Sterne’s metafiction playfulness, and in part as a spoof on overblown, pedantic history books, was as "author" of Irving’s A History of New York. The book’s publicity campaign launched with a series of faux news items about the puzzling disappearance of a "small, elderly gentleman, dressed in an old black coat and cocked hat, by the name of KNICKERBOCKER.’ Discovered in his room was "a very curious kind of a written book," which the landlord declared should be sold to the highest bidder as compensation for Knickerbocker’s outstanding rent. The History was published to great acclaim, and The Sketch Book, also "found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker," followed in 1819.

All of this is just preamble to directing your attention to the elephant on the page: I’ve been missing in action for months. It’d be convenient to insert a spectacular Knickerbockerish headline here as explanation ("Edublogger Kidnapped by Aliens, Returned Months Later None the Worse for Wear"), but the reality is much more prosaic. Life intervened. Work got busy. You know the story.

So, like Rip Van Winkle, I’m coming down from the mountain with grizzled beard and rusty fowling piece to find that many things have changed, and many other things have remained the same. Heartfelt thanks to the friends who sent out search parties.

In the story, after waking from his twenty-year sleep,

Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found many of his former cronies, though all rather the worse for the wear and tear of time; and preferred making friends among the rising generation. . . ."

Not a bad recipe for getting back in the swing, especially that last part. There are some exciting things happening among the rising generation, and friends to make and learn from. Much to do. While I haven’t been actively blogging the last few months, the time has been eventful. While resuming my old walks, I also hope to write the occasional catch-up post about what’s been happening and on my mind—call it the Knickerbocker Chronicles.

So, without further ado. . . Knickerbocker Chronicles, Volume I.


Finnian Peter, aka Finn, born November 16, 2007 to amazed parents. For you voracious fans of baby photos out there, find more than you can shake a volume of Mark Twain at on our Flickr photostream .