When Hannah asked me to write something about my five years at AltDaily, I spent a long time thinking.
I thought about some of the more personal articles I’ve written for AltDaily. Articles that explored the “nervous stumble” that caused me to move here from Chicago. Articles that were cathartic to write and perhaps cringe-heavy to read. Articles that still make me cry like a little bitch when I re-visit them.
Then I thought about my relationship with Jesse Scaccia, the editor who said “yes” to more of my pitches than he should have. The editor who lived and breathed AltDaily for four years. The editor who became so much more than an editor.
I thought about technique, which was my only concern as a contributor. I thought about how I spent over 100 hours on some articles. I thought about the first person and the third person and how with enough work they could be the same.
I thought about how teaching is inseparable from writing.
I thought about how I learned to deal with the comments and the haters and their ceaseless whinge: STOP CREATING.
I thought about how living in Hampton was first an obstacle than a blessing.
I thought about about how none of you people understand Phish.
I thought about the first time I read Laura Watkins and how professional jealousy turned into complete admiration.
I thought about the morning I woke up and croaked: Would Ghent Crushes work?
I thought about a lot more, and was going to wind up with some grand BS: How my experience of this whole thing has been wholly unimportant. How communication is always about the audience. How writing is always about the readers. How selflessness is the supreme virtue. How communities are more important than the individuals who compose them.
But then I realized that just wasn’t true. My experience has been important. My vain reasons for writing are just as valid as my altruistic ones. The capital T truth is it all matters. The thing, the people, the assholes, the bars, the bikes, the babes, the streets, the corporations, the cities, the hacks, the angry conservatives, the self-righteous liberals, the bad spellers, the fakes, the causes, the schools, the impetuous youths, the chaste, the deviant, the sick, the flexible, the gullible, the ignorant, the talented, Hannah, Jesse, Laura, me, you, everything. . .and we’re just getting warmed up.