Friday, October 30, 2015

"The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding."

On Losing Grantland

I never wrote for the site, read it only sporadically, and loved every minute.

I got introduced to Jason Concepcion and Rembret Browne. I developed a deep abiding love for the prose of Jonah Keri. I got into arguments with my friends over some of their lists.

More than that I learned. Grantland gave me a goal. They were a signpost in the distance - something to which I aspired. Sure, I write here occasionally and I put words to the page about games, but I still wanted  to be the best. 

I wanted to push myself and do long form pieces. Pushing stuff into my sent folder because I couldn't stare at the ink anymore never felt right. The desire was always there to go back and prune and cultivate.

Because that's what would have happened if I worked at Grantland.

Follow those writers. Learn from them, because I have no idea if we'll see another site like that again.

And that fucking sucks. 

EDIT: So shortly after I posted this, I was reminded that Grantland did some really shitty stuff (detailed here). 

That behavior is irresponsible and dangerous and should not be lauded. The desire to push young writers to be better should. 

This is not black and white - the site did good work on some fronts, and terrible work on others. 

Because of their role in the linked story, there should be a very heavy and healthy dose of criticism. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Let's Go Mets

The last time the Mets were in the playoffs I poured my emotions into the games. I was in grad school and the games were a connection to home.
After they beat the Dodgers in the NLDS I got a call from my then girlfriend where she ended our relationship. And so I dove deeper into the NLCS against the Cardinals. 

It didn't go well.

So nine years later I'm happily married and the Mets are back in the playoffs, matched up again against the Dodgers. 

A lot has changed in nine years.

Let's not waste this shot guys.

Let's go Mets. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Getting Words Out

Today I started wondering about why I started writing. I could have stopped. But I didn't.
Grad school demanded pages upon pages of words stapled at the upper right hand corner. These papers were required and I actively enjoyed proving my point.
Those two years working towards my Master's Degree were tough. I was nowhere near my comfort zone. College wasn't as hard of a transition - my best friend had already been there for a year and I recognized many faces in my own class. Buffalo may have been the same state but it was far from the same state of mind. I struggled. My roots - Magic cards and Case Logics full of my identity were lost in the transition. My boss and I clashed. I got dumped. 
That year I found comfort in words. I retreated into my books and worked on excelling in the classroom. Magic Online provided comfort - a collection as strong as my research university internet and as portable as my laptop. It was known and new. It was safe. I wanted to play more but was on a budget so I started writing to feed my habit.
Starting to write was hard. The first thing I had ever written for a major website was spurred on by my then girlfriend. She encouraged me to submit those words. During that first year she dumped me over the phone. I remember the long process of severing any strand tying myself to her and writing, even for me, was a frayed thread of her. 
Somehow, in my whiniest days, I overcame my own petulant self and started writing. 
I graduated, got a job, moved a bunch and stopped writing. Then I started again. I got poached, switched sites, added more responsibilities, got let go. At some point I crossed the 100 article mark. I think I'm over 150 now? I don't know. I write more now than I ever have even if I have fewer features. 
At some point, bemoaning a lack of funds to my content manager, I got a chance to take on the role of editor. My role started with news updates. I would slide my massive lap top (smaller than my first) into my bag and drag it everywhere in case stories broke. They did.
Weekends I would have to take breaks from dinner or cooking or laundry or fun to get push an update live. 
I've written on vacation - I was working towards deadline on a cruise ship when I regained wireless and saw I had been let go from a gig. I write in coffee shops and on my couch. Right now I'm waiting for that same best friend from college - my best man from a few months ago- and I'm working on a device I bought specifically for writing.
I couldn't carry around my lap top anymore. I bought it before I considered myself a capital double you Writer. Odd, since I had been earning money from it for six years at that point.
Last week I finally gave in and bought myself something specifically to put words out into the world. I've been writing for eight years. I don't know if I'll ever feel like I'm actually a Writer. But I guess I am?
That same content manager who gave me a job also told me to read a book - Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. Something that stuck with me from Clark's words was a way around writer's block. 
Just start writing - let the words flow. That's what this piece is. It's getting words out.

I write because I'm a Writer. I don't know what I would write about if it weren't for Magic. I'd probably have some Hot Takes on sports or be a mediocre reviewer of obscure music. Maybe I'd be better - you can tell me since in the archives here are my attempts at other topics.

I don't know if this is a new start. I'm not leaving my other gigs - I love them too much. But sometimes, I just want to write about the Mets or doing a deep dive on a song. I want the words to get out. 

My head is cluttered enough as is. I just spent hard earned money on something that will let me write on my terms. I better well fucking use it.