On September 28, 2008, one year ago today, I started the Mojo Wire. The first entry is still there of course, titled "The First Kiss Cuts the Deepest," a reference to the Zombina and the Skeletones song of the same name. I don't recall if the song was on at the time, or if it was just on my mind, or if I just thought the title fit well with the idea of an inaugural post -- hell, I wouldn't even doubt that somewhere in my twisted mind I saw something romantic about starting this blog [re: kiss], or thought that by implying this was somehow already important to me [re: deepest], that I wouldn't abandon it.
In the beginning, I saw this as an experiment. I hesitate to call it that, of course, because the word "experiment" almost immediately brings to mind "social experiment" which, since my college years, has become code language for acting like a total dick to provoke a reaction but having a clever excuse to get out of actually being labeled a dick [which, by the way, effectively renders you a weekend warrior of douche baggery, and insults those of us who've tried to take being an asshole to a professional level. Get off the field, for god's sake]. And this never felt like something that I needed an easy out for. Honestly, there are numerous reasons not to do a blog, many of them cataloged here, and many more out there on the internet, filled with inane chatter, bad spelling, and no purpose.
"Masturbatory." That word is still in my profile, there at the side of the page. A blog very much is masturbatory. There's a level of self-importance to this that, in the beginning, I wasn't comfortable with, and the "look-at-me!" mindset is hard for me, not because I don't want attention, but ironically because I do. So much of my life has been about getting people to notice me, and often in the most backward-ass ways I could possibly think of. Maybe this was just too straightforward for me? It's hard to say. But I liked the idea of having the soapbox, even though I wasn't crazy about being "one of those guys" up on their soapbox. Still not, on some level. Sometimes, I'm all too comfortable, though, and I think, thus far, that conflict is good. When it's not there anymore, I'll worry.
But that conflict wasn't what kept me going. I'm not entirely sure what did. I think, in part, having a purpose for this spot was helpful. I largely started the blog because of the conversations I was having with Justin at the time, about staying focused, about producing work, about getting things done when all your "deadlines" are made-up or self-imposed. Answering to yourself is a difficult, because while I'm awfully hard on myself a lot of the time, I also tend to let myself slide a lot too, and having a space where I basically laid down "this is what I'm doing, this is what I'm having trouble doing, this is what I want to do..." it made all these projects more permanent. It was like I'd made a public commitment to do something, and because of that, I had to keep working, and perhaps more important, keep focused.
Not that I was under the delusions that anyone was reading, or at least not anyone who was going to hold me to my weird promises about half-ideas I posted here. In the beginning, the idea was to keep people from reading this, actually, and I kept the Mojo Wire a secret, more or less, out of fear that I would decide to walk away, and I didn't want anyone to give me grief about it. "Oh, Randall made such a big deal out of starting this blog, and then didn't stick with it -- again." That wasn't something I wanted to worry about, so I kept my trap shut about it, and when it would come up, it was just something I was tinkering with, something I wasn't sure was going to "stick." It did. I'm glad it did. And when a Facebook privacy snafu made it public, I honestly didn't mind anymore. I'd made it a couple of months -- I didn't think I was going to stop now. So I told people about it. On John's suggestion, I put up the Sitemeter, and watched the few visitors trickle in. Didn't matter -- which isn't to say I'm not glad for the people who do read, I am -- it's just by this point, I'd been at it alone long enough that I knew who I was doing this for. I was writing here for me.
I guess in a lot of ways, the blog has become about my needs. A year ago, I didn't just need to focus, I needed an outlet. My family life and my personal life were a mess. An entry I'd done about my parents break-up and my eviction from my house on Facebook had helped, and actually helped a lot. I'll probably be re-posting it later in the week, because if anything was precursor to some of the stuff I've done in the last year, it'd be this. Later notes on Facebook, many of them done in a semi-gonzo, Hunter Thompson-style were equally cathartic, and made me think something like an online journal could take the edge off of things. In a few cases since starting this blog, I think things have even been a little more dire than even I was willing to admit. Nothing worth dwelling on, but definitely something that makes me glad I had this place to come to, whether just to distract myself, or vent.
And a lot of those entries, well, they're embarrassing, and they're usually followed by long apologies. But they're still there, you notice. Almost nothing's been deleted from the blog, actually, save for a little cleanup here and there. A year ago, I wasn't even sure if honesty was going to play into this much. Short of keeping track of what I was working on, my life's not terribly interesting, and some fiction might have been preferable to some of my doldrums.
Of course, looking back, I really wasn't sure of what I was going to do here. The production diary thing was an early conceit which became really important to keep, and I'd still call a driving force behind this blog. Talking about my process was going to be a big part too, since I just like doing that, and am still fascinated about how I get from point A to B. Some have suggested this isn't very healthy, and I more or less agree. But we all deserve a few bad habits.
Other things I tried never took hold. I attempted political commentary -- and that didn't go anywhere. I talked some about personal quirks that irked me, and daily annoyances, but even to my surprise I've eased up on that a great deal. In a lot of cases, what pisses me off either isn't worth the trouble, or just isn't very interesting when stated so plainly. I feel like I skate too close to boring most of the time as it is, so I don't need to actively pursue it. And if I'm going to bitch, I should at least earn it, with some good points or a couple of laughs. I'll never take the personal out of this blog entirely, but I think I've eased up on it as far as certain aspects of my life and social interactions go. And all those movie reviews I thought would eventually turn up? It turns out I'm just critical; but not really a proper critic.
None of this I miss, of course. Probably better they didn't stick around, all told. The things I regret not having more of are equally asinine too, actually, but reading over old entries I find myself personally wishing there were more of them. Occasionally, I wrote about my dreams and nightmares here; many of them that I no longer recall having, and their content interests me greatly today. I've entertained making a second blog for them, or just writing them down when I get up in the morning, but honestly there's still a little too much ridiculousness involved in starting a "dream journal."
It also bugs me that there's so little reference to music here. In the past year, I've really rediscovered music, both old stuff I'd missed, and new stuff that I would have never found had I not had the time that insomnia has afforded me to look. I could never add the "listening to" header to this blog, of course, as the that option has always skated a little too close to making the Mojo Wire look like your run of the mill Livejournal. And as generic as the site currently looks, that is a step against professionalism that even I can't seem to make myself take. Still, I wish I'd talked more about what I was listening to, and why, because it does seem to impact my writing a lot, and I'd really hope that my work diaries would have reflected this better.
Something that has stuck? The links. I just can't help myself from linking things -- to the point that I've practically ignored the option of a sidebar full of them so I can occasionally take a day and just throw up an address to this site, or that blog. It's addictive, and it tends to get me some extra traffic from time to time as well, which is just incredibly cool, especially since that isn't the reason I do it at all. It almost becomes like a game, one where the more you talk about others, the more others talk about you. I'm always surprised more people don't try it from time-to-time.
And posting work -- the little bit of prose I put up [Method to Madness, folks], the scripts I've posted for people to read, and stuff like character sheets and outlines, which are not often seen with a finished product, all of that has found a nice home here. "Nova" was a project more or less born from the fact that I was willing to just put something I worked on out there, and someone who I likely wouldn't have shown it to otherwise [Kyle] decided it was a worthwhile script to pursue. We're filming next spring.
The Mojo Wire has become a hub for things I'm collaborating with people on. "Calamity Cash" has triangulated between myself, Justin, and Laura here since almost the beginning, and a lot of information as it concerns "Nova" and "Trendsetter" has its home base right here. I've even gotten good feedback on solo projects, just because people have found them here, and been willing to contact me, and tell me what they think. Even with social networks like Facebook, this blog has been a great way to stay connected.
And most importantly, this blog has been honored to be a shrine to two men who've left us this year. With Steven, I lost someone I saw as a father figure, and I was able to spend a lot of time here, thinking about what he meant to me, and sharing stories about him. In turn, other people came to me, and told me about their own experiences, and I connected and reconnected with so many because of it. I don't know if anyone would consider this a proper memorial, but with all the distance that separated those of us who knew Bach, it was the best we could do. I hope it was enough.
Then Dad died. So much still to say about that. Some of what I wanted to say is here. Some isn't. But even one recollection of him here is worth a million to me. And there will likely be more. I miss you, Dad.
I could go on, about death, about changes and progress. A part of me feels like blogging for a year probably isn't worth all this to-do, and that I'm being silly for spending so much time talking about it. And there are also so many people to thank -- not today, though I will, later in the week, I promise. But for today, this post is for the blog, and for myself. For keeping at it.
For another year. For a lot more years, I hope. But who even knows.
Cheers. More soon.