On this date six years ago I began this website with a rudimentary understanding of web publishing and a fist-full of press contacts acquired through a bit of music writing and a brief if bizarre tour through Virgin/Capitol Records. I remember feeling, even then, ambivalent about how long I would write the site or if - far more likely - I would lose interest in a few months, dropping it like so many halfway affectations and hobbies of the American bourgeoisie. Six years and 1,211 posts later, here we are at the end.
Writing on this website taught me to write. I was, by no means, a "hack" when this began, and I am, by no means, an excellent writer now, but somewhere in those few thousand paragraphs I wrote here over the last six years, I figured out the beginnings of a voice, refined a few chronic errors, learned to swear less and then began swearing again. I got political exactly once, my first attempt at a longer music/culture piece. Of all the musicians I tried to break to an audience before they were popular, I am most proud to have stood against "Stop and Frisk" in 2011, long before it became the basis of an NYC Mayoral campaign. It is an undeniable tautology, but I wouldn't be here this way without having written for this website. It was never about making money, and I rejected advertising, even back in 2011 when the web-stats indicated I was relevant enough to court. A profit model could not possibly reason through a labor of unsexy love.
Writing on this website introduced me to enormously great musicians, many of whom happen to be great people. Taylor Rice of Local Natives, Jon Lawless of First Rate People, John Ross of Challenger, Blair Gimma of Blair and Future of What, Kyle Wilson of Milagres, Mikel Jollett of Airborne Toxic Event all gave their time and energy graciously to keeping up with me and allowing me into their process a bit, and I tried my best to give words to their wonderful music. There are so many others that there isn't time or space to list here.
I thank my friends for whom this website was originally intended, and I thank my readers. Not so much the 700,000 of you that ended up here one way or another, most by accident or for a few seconds from the Hype Machine, but the few hundred of you strangers who were my regular readers. I never knew the wide majority of you, and only a few of you ever wrote to me personally. Still, I wrote for you. Seeing the few hundred people who stopped by every day made me want to write, ideally to write something better than most blogs I read. I tried writing everyday and mostly failed. You stuck with me, and I appreciate it immensely, invisibly, from far away.
If you want to keep in touch with me, firstname.lastname@example.org will still work - though at some point the PR emails may necessitate a switch toward something else - and I'll still maintain @32feet as my Twitter handle, though even this will seem quaint in five years when Twitter isn't a thing anymore.
Julian Barnes has this awesome quote about death in my favorite book, A History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters. He writes, "I dreamt that I woke up. It's the oldest dream of all, and I've just had it." Of course, you don't realize the line is about death the first time you read it - which is another one of those truisms about human experience: there's no way to consider endings from beginnings. I would like to believe I am more clear-eyed than most on this front, but there was never time or space to consider what would happen when I stopped wanting to write 32ft/second or what it would feel like to write these words saying goodbye.
It was always about gravity or some other inexorable, ineluctable force. We would return; the beginning and the end would become themselves again. As Kierkegaard noted, the problem with life is that it is lived forward and understood in reverse. We are always cast backwards toward our future. Or as Britt Daniel sang, "I'm writing to you in reverse." I felt that way too sometimes. This was a diary of my late 20s and early 30s, what I liked and when I liked it and what I sounded like then. This both is and was that. Make sure you dance and sing, no one's gonna tell and there's no film in that camera. This is the dream of waking up.
Posted by 32feet at 5:00 AM