In a characteristically personal and highly emotional blog post, Andrew Sullivan of The Dish today announced to his readers, "I've decided to stop blogging in the near future."
In saying goodbye, Sullivan, who is HIV-positive, quickly dismissed questions of a looming health crisis, but did tell readers his health was one of the reasons he'd decided he needed to make a change.
"There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen," the 51-year-old journalist wrote.
Sullivan said stress had taken its toll. "I've had increasing health challenges these past few years. They're not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they're simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. These past few weeks were particularly rough -- and finally forced me to get real."
And Sullivan wrote that part of "getting real" means recognizing he has other ambitions. "I'm a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it's been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms," he wrote, adding, "I want to write a book." He does have several books to his credit already.
The note to his readers also allowed for a very personal revelation about his priorities: "I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a 'blog-widow,' my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I'm always tied to the blog."
As The Wrapnoted, Sullivan is one of the preeminent bloggers in the nation, and over the last two decades has become well-known for his blogs in support of and ultimately against the Iraq war, in support of marriage equality, and touching on major issues in politics and religion, the latter especially regarding the Roman Catholic Church, of which Sullivan is a member.
But it was in 2012 that Sullivan's influence and reach were revealed, in a blog post in which he broke the news that CNN anchorman Anderson Cooper had come out to him, and therefore to the world. Cooper made the announcement in an email to Sullivan that he asked be shared publicly, writing, "The fact is, I'm gay."
Before launching his own subscription-based site, The Dish, in 2013, Sullivan wrote for The New Republic -- where he was editor from 1991 to 1996 -- and for Time, The Daily Beast, and The Atlantic.
Sullivan disclosed the enormous success The Dish has become in his farewell message: "In just two years, you built a million dollar revenue company, with 30,000 subscribers, a million monthly readers, and revenue growth of 17 percent over the first year," he said.
Beneath a wistful, rosy photograph of still waters beneath a dusty horizon, Sullivan acknowledged that leaving his readers was difficult -- "My eyes are swimming with tears," he said -- but concluded with a thank-you to his readers, and a promise to return: "I need to decompress and get healthy for a while; but I won't disappear as a writer.
"But this much I know: nothing will ever be like this again, which is why it has been so precious; and why it will always be a part of me, wherever I go; and why it is so hard to finish this sentence and publish this post."