Happy Birthday, Wimbot

Today marks the second anniversary of Why It Matters.  Last year was a busy one.  Here’s what happened, and also what’s coming up:

I won’t bore you with numbers, but traffic in this second year increased dramatically.  This means either: A) You’re suitably entertained and spreading the love; or B)  Tagging every post “Miley Cyrus Side Boob” really paid off.

The “From the Stacks” section (introduced January 20) seems to be particularly popular, at least as defined by number of views.  There must be a lot of folks out there looking for info on obscure albums.  Either that or you really enjoy seeing what kind of weird shit I’ve spent my money on.

Interviews are fun, and in the last year we’ve had some really good ones.  I was especially pleased to chat with personal favorites Mother’s Finest,  the brilliant Jesse Budd from Flipron and the great Jon Butcher.

I don’t do a lot of reviews because I’m morally opposed to writing a bad one.  Making art is tough, putting it out there is even tougher.  Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it isn’t good, so who am I to condemn it?  (Offer void when discussing Nickelback.)

Fortunately some amazing albums were released this year by Rush, Bob Dylan, Alabama Shakes, and The Mars Volta.  And events!  Write ups of time spent with Patti Smith and Todd Rundgren in particular hit my “I think I made a good thing” button.  Moral: There’s no dearth of good material out there to say good things about, so enough with the cool posing at others’ expense you cynical, hipster bastards.

The Bad Album Cover Hall Of Fame and the Controversial Album Covers gallery opened this year, thereby negating everything I just said about not being snarky.  But come on: everybody enjoys a bad album cover.

Very few of the (hopefully) good things I made reached escape velocity this year.  I think I submitted three stories for publication, only one of which was picked up.  This is partly due to laziness but mostly because I like my little Why It Matters universe.  There’s a rhythm, syntax, and logic to what I’m building here that for whatever reason sates me.  I’m happy in my little world, and I feel like a phony and a beggar knocking on the doors of others.  Here’s a story.  Do you like it?  Do you like me?  Can I be in your magazine?  I’ve always been a horrible joiner.

I made a few small efforts to broaden my little universe, one of which was commissioning the brilliant Chris Cinder to create some unique artwork (still available!).  Another was Keep On Stomping,  a chapbook of seventeen seventies era stories.  That was a fundraiser for my kid’s school band, but it’s out there now.  It has sold horribly, yet remarkably well given that I haven’t pushed it since fundraising duty ended.  (By the way, have you bought yours?)

There were a couple of special writing projects this year, one satirical (“The Rise of the Planet of the Lemeloes”) and one historical (“The (Kind Of) Complete Woodstock“).  I was happy with both, and if the mood strikes I’ll do more of these little sidebars.  That’s one of the many benefits of being a solo act – absolute creative control.

The memoir/creative non-fiction pieces keep chugging along.  From my perspective these are the backbone of Why It Matters, though they receive the fewest views.  Cowering in a public restroom to “People Are People” doesn’t have the same mass appeal as an Electric Ladyland write-up, but that’s okay.  I remain committed to my platypus vision of a music memoir.

My intention was to get the character Jim out of high school before this anniversary post, but things don’t always work out as planned.  He’ll be out of that joint soon enough, bear with me.  In fact, in the next year this beast should evolve into a story that I’ve been writing in my mind (and many times — poorly — on paper) for twenty years.  It’s my own littleTropic of Cancer, only without the talent, the French, and the windbag philosophy.  (Incidentally, “Cancer” is one of my favorite books, so don’t think I’m knocking it.)

My responsibility to you over these last two  years has kept me on task.  I know you’re out there, even if you don’t leave a footprint, comment, like, or rating, and I know that if I don’t keep producing you won’t keep clicking.  This has been a good and productive relationship for me — I hope that you can say the same.

So with that in mind I’m going to write a few checks now for WIM Year Three so that you can ensure that my ass cashes them.  Here we go:

  • More live appearances.  I only got out there once this year.  Listen, it’s not as easy as it seems.  Most readings are dedicated to poetry, not essay.  Also, public reading is beyond my anxiety-ridden comfort zone.  It’s important, though, and I need to do more of it.
  • Podcasts.  This may be the live appearance compromise, and it’s also the big goal for 2013.  I don’t know exactly what this beast will look like, but it will revolve around the creative non-fiction pieces.
  • More submissions.  Yes, I know that I said a few paragraphs back that I don’t really care about placing Why It Matters pieces in other places, and I don’t.  On the other hand, I recognize the benefits of doing so.
  • Another exclusive Why It Matters print. This one is a bit of a stretch goal.  I need to find an artist whose work I admire who works cheap and gets what WIM is all about.  (Heyyyyy, wait a second…..)
  • Another chapbook.  The last one was a rush job, but I still enjoyed doing it.  I’d like to take a little more time with the next one and make it special.  The thing about the prints and books is that I’m lucky if I break even.  I only do them because they’re fun little projects and as thank yous for those of you who provide me with such tremendous support.  With those two points in mind, why do another one if I can’t make it a nice package?

Enough.  I thank you again for sticking with me for another wonderful year, and so does Wimbot.  And now I’m going to go lick the frosting off of his big, stompy foot.

9 replies »

  1. Happy anniversary! I’ve seen every action packed episode! However, it now seems I won’t be searching for that Miley Cyrus side boob photo anymore. Grrrr.


  2. Consider the very novel-like mechanics of this blog; tales of BlackTeeKid’s harrowing adolescence of identity persecution juxtaposed by BlackTeeDude’s music-filled adulthood, resplendent with emotionally-supported progeny.

    Musicians sometimes receive justification from passionate fans… “Your music saved my life.”

    SPOILER ALERT: BlackTeeKid was saved by music.

    I am in the minority of Staff fans… the true tales of South Kakka-Lackey are the poetry, and the albums/reviews are the prose. Enjoy both, but the creative non-fiction bits are the jaw-dropping solos in this blog composition.

    Some fortunate people have a splendid childhood, avoiding major tragedy. Perhaps these people don’t relate with these tales of pain and loss and hardship? I am not one of those. I have been saved by music. Music has permeated my life, seasoned my soul. Music can facilitate tears and joy in one sitting. These tales of adolescent hardship resonate with me.

    But I’m confused by the disparity in reader views. Your REAL writing towers over the rest.


  3. Well, Milo beat me to it – I, too seem to be part of the minority. I savor the memoir pieces – the minute I read the first line of Young Jim in the e-mail I am over here as fast as my slow internet will allow.

    “The Rise of the Planet of the Lemeloes” ranked a close second, I so hope the Lemeloes come back.

    Congratulations on your second year. I know it took a while, but I am so damned glad you decided to carve out your own corner in cyber-space. And ecstatic that so many people found you and decided to pull up a chair and stick around.


  4. Gee, I just realized it’s still Sept. Must be all the Thanksgiving decoratons for sale everywhere. Come back and read this in two months…


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