Happy Birthday, blog!

It’s been exactly a year since “No-Sleep Blues”, the first post on “Oh, Something Arty…”, went live. What a year!

This time last November, I was struggling with my second attempt at National Novel Writing Month. At two weeks in, I was losing focus: I found myself sketching the characters instead of writing about them, and the writing itself was devolving into an extended rap battle. So I took a step back and said, “Being this productive is wonderful: but I don’t think this is the medium I need.” In that spirit, I launched this site as a place to share all the work I did in whatever “arty” medium pleased me: music, sketches, writing, whatever!

That worked well for a few months. There’s a nice smattering of drawings and recordings from that stretch – most notably “Shady Made Us”, my tribute to Eminem, the most-viewed post by mid-January.

But then – well, Sherlock happened.

After much pressure from my most reliable friends, I broke down and watched the first episode of Sherlock, the BBC’s adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. By chance, I’d spent a lot of time the previous summer with my family’s Complete Sherlock Holmes, and I was thrilled by the echoes I heard in Steven Moffat’s script of the original stories. So, on a whim, for the benefit of my friends, I wrote up some of these parallels, tweeted judiciously about my new article, and…stared at my stats page, dumbfounded, as literally thousands of readers descended on my blog. (1)

This was wonderful, but it was also the beginning of a dark time for me. The short version is that I wasn’t sure how to handle this new audience. Suddenly, my eclectic and fairly intimate collection of random artiness was playing host to strangers with a very specific interest. What should I do? Should I launch a separate site, specifically for pop criticism, and keep this as a more personal/private place? That seemed like a good idea. But nothing kills creativity like rules and officialness: that new, more ‘presentable’ page scared me to death, and I sank into an unhappy cycle of not-writing and guilt.

After a few months in the dark, I crawled back over here and started putting the pieces back together. It’s been a nice mix so far: a little pop crit, a video game review, another Sherlock piece, and, just last week, my first recording since January. A month or so ago, I restructured the pages of blog to separate pop crit and random artiness for anyone who only wants to deal with one side of me. So far, that seems like the right balance of structure and mess 🙂 I’m still getting my groove and my confidence back. But this is fun again, and I feel safe. Yay!

—> Meanwhile, that first Sherlock article will not die: it still gets thirty to fifty hits a day, which, given that it’s almost a year old, is pretty amazing. It makes me happy to think I’ve contributed something. That article filled a need in the world, and I was part of that. That heartens me. It makes me feel this whole project is worthwhile. And it gives me something to aim for: maybe, some day, I can reach those heights again. And if not – at least I got there once.

Thank you all for being with me on this journey. I’m really happy with what this space has become, and that has everything to do with you: all of you who comment on Facebook or in the comments here, or e-mail me to say you liked a song, or tell me in person you’ve been reading here – you raise me uppp, so I can staaaand on mouuuntaiiins….

/ahem

— seriously, though: you are what make this all worthwhile. Thank you again! Here’s to another exciting year. I have NO IDEA what will happen. None! But I’m glad you’ll be with me.


Arden

——————————-

(1) I was lucky. The timing was perfect. My friends were especially excited about Sherlock that January because the second season was in the middle of airing. But of course that meant that Sherlock fans the world over were at their most excited and hungry for reading material. The same excitement that prompted me to write the article also provided its audience.

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