Tag Archives: personal

The hardest goodbye is the one you have to take back.

Well, it’s been a fun few months.

Kidding. It hasn’t.

At the end of November, I got laid off. It was for the best, seeing as how the few weeks of not knowing when the axe was going to fall gave me the most severe anxiety pains I’ve ever had the fortune of feeling.

It didn’t feel great to no longer have a job, but at least my stomach stopped screaming randomly. I didn’t feel great though, but the holiday were at hand. I packed up and headed back down to the swamps to reconnect with my family and help my parents prepare for their upcoming move (and clear out their pantry, of course). I completely unplugged, losing myself in Smash Bros. Ultimate and The Stormlight Archive. 

I’m back in St. Louis now, and I’ve been away from words for a bit too long (aside from the book ones, I mean the words that I can do something with). So I’m dusting off the blog and reminding myself that I was someone before I defined myself as a copy editor. Don’t get me wrong, I still know my heart’s with editing, but I can’t just restrict myself to writing and rewriting cover letters anymore.

So here goes. I’m not anticipating a publishing schedule or consistent topics, but I’m going to repopulate this blog with some fresh nonsense. There are more than a few Google Docs lurking in my inbox that are half-finished ideas and drafts that I tricked myself into ignoring because, “I might pitch them (to someone?) sometime (never?) so I don’t want to post them on my blog (because words can only appear once online?).”

But I know a little better now.

Cheers.

The Dusty Trail Off

I nearly froze to death multiple times in the past four months.

Straight-up hanging from the ceiling of an ice cave, lightsaber and tauntaun innards scattered beneath me. No mystical energy field to help me get free. No warm intestines to nestle in to stave off that final chill.

But here’s the cheap shot: I’m speaking metaphorically.

There’s a cute cutaway in 30 Rock where Liz Lemon considers settling for Dennis Duffy, the human epitomization of a trash can that’s not even interesting enough to be on fire.

“Ugh, it just sounds hard. Being with Dennis is easy. If you give into it, you just start to feel kind of numb and warm, and then you just get sleepy. That’s not that bad.”

“That’s exactly what they say it’s like when you freeze to death.”

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Every day of the past few months, I repressed a thought named LizLemonFreezing.jpg. It’s been surprisingly easy work. Frighteningly easy, in fact. Enough to eventually induce a chill that traced outwards from the nerves in my spine and erupted in my heart.

Trudging the same path day after day creates a distinct wear down in the road. Beyond Paragon and Renegade Good and Evil dictates that the same wear down appears in you. A familiar crease forms inward and outward, and both see points of weakness. Internally, mine split along that crease and my insides ripped downwards. My hopes and dreams, my fantasies of happiness in merely my efforts, rained down on me.

As I looked up into the storm of possibilities, I had to look at my life.

I can work bullshit retail, pay my rent, eat rice and beans, maybe splurge on a dumb tattoo every few months. I can live, not day-to-day, but workday-to-workday. Live for the space between work. Not for myself. Not for my passions. Not for not for nothin’.

No one willingly walks into hypothermia, let alone metaphorically willingly. It’s that slight slip, the mental note of, “This isn’t that bad.” Professional stagnation is one thing; fewer people are retiring, leadership positions are becoming scarce, forward movement is sluggish. Understandable.

Personal stagnation does not exist. It’s pure hypothermia. If I don’t better myself, I’m laying down in that snow and taking off my thermals. I’m dying as a personality and becoming one of my few true fears: boring.

So I’m going to light up the sky with what’s kept me warm the past few months. Gas on the fire. Consuming new media’s kept me alive, but that’s all it’s done; it’s time for some pyrotechnics on my part.

Three times a week, I’m publishing something about a piece of media that’s impressed me. I’ve got this habit of breathlessly telling people, “Hey, this thing is super dope check it out alright bye.” It’s not a great way of recommending things that have actually moved me to feel something. So here’s the sched of what I’m calling–


Pop Culture Please


So at noon o’clock MWF, there’s going to be a dose of PCP. Yeah, it’s dumb and cheesy, but damnit, lame alliteration is one of those things that make me smile. And it only gets worse.

Monotony Mondays

My days and nights are boring, but there are things that break the monotony of my everyday life, namely podcasts and books, with a sprinkling of music. These are the IVs in my arm as I survive workday-to-workday.

Watching Wednesdays

When the week reaches that halfway point, you need something to think about and look forward to when that final whistle blows. This is all the visual media that keeps me thinking about it every seconds it isn’t being beamed into my eyeballs. Hint: there’s a reason I just subscribed to Crunchyroll.

Fun Fridayz

For when something as kooky as a Z in the place of an S is required, Fridays are for the things that I genuinely enjoy actively participating in: games. They won’t necessarily be the hottest releases and my words won’t necessarily tread new ground (“Hey everyone, this classic is a classic!”). But being that this is the category I’m most passionate and excited about, I just gave myself another reason to look forward to Fridays, so that’s cool.

They say too much PCP will melt your brain. I don’t know who they are or what actual PCP is like, but my PCP is going to be the thing I use to rebuild my brain from the stem up. These are intended to be freeform kinds of things that’ll predominately be writeups, but I’m running it like I run my DnD games: I don’t really have a concrete clue what I’m doing so it’ll all fly with a good enough roll. So let’s see what the dice say.

Yours in carbonite,

W. Griffin Matis

 

The scariest feeling.

There’s one fear we all share.

We being writers since, damnit, it’s accurate and not a brag. Just a title everyone in the news and magazine section of MU’s School of Journalism shares, regardless of ego or talent.

It’s the terror of not being published.

From blogs to features to those yellow paged notes on our phones, we’re absolutely horrified of being told those words aren’t good enough to be read. All of our work, research and typing translating to nothing more than some practice.  We’ve done our practice, damnit. We went through all of those unpublished attempts in our starting journalism courses. We’ve bled our ink.

Now we’re at the crossroads of real world/work and schoolwork. It’s just as terrifying as not getting published because the two are one in the same. Both of them are affirmations of the nagging self-doubt that plagues any creator:

“Maybe my work’s not good enough.”

Which is immediately followed by the killer line:

“Maybe I’m not good enough.”


Everyone is nervous when they turn in that first draft or pitch. It’s the equivalent of kneeling down in front of the guillotine. It’s arguable that a piece we write is our baby, but the truth is that it’s ultimately you. Yes, you distance yourself from your writing since you’re not the subject, but you can’t unsweat, unbleed, uncry.

So you’re offering your throat. And you’re not sure if you deserve to live.

It’s not a bright picture. Unfortunately, it’s always going to linger. The response to vast amounts of criticism is usually growing a thicker skin, but immediate rejection is a stab to the ever-vulnerable jugular. Shot down before it had a chance to fly. By the way, are mixed metaphors a reason to shoot down a piece?

We all secretly delight in our blogs, where we’re the gatekeepers. If a chunk of writing doesn’t meet our standards, we can push it into the drafts folder and revisit it later. It’ll get our eyes eventually.

First drafts and pitches are the opposite. Even if you’re absurdly excited and have done all your sourcing, pulled all the research, the blade can still fall.

“Not good enough.”

That’s the end of the story. Boom. I had a source tell me one time that engineering, a career that consists of solving a physical problem, and journalism, a career that consists of constantly looking for a job, aren’t so different.

“They’re kind of the same in the end. Either it’s good enough or it isn’t. Your idea can end when a source just decides to not talk to you and your story sucks. Either it works or it doesn’t.”

It was nice to hear that others understand that binary of success with which we, or everyone I guess, struggle. It doesn’t make it any easier though.


Every time I write about writing, I end up at the same answer:

I don’t know.

It’s not a good or helpful place to end anything. It’s the equivalent of ranting for ten minutes before just shrugging and walking away. There’s a lot I don’t know and reiterating that fact doesn’t do a thing. I always try to scroll back up and pick out some piece of sense or insight that justifies hitting the “Publish” button. I never find it. So it leaves me with the unfriendly ghost.

“Maybe this isn’t good enough.”

 

Top Two Tuesday: QuESt and Boogie

Top Two Tuesday is a weekly effort to recognize two artists who deserve more attention, respect, and praise in the music world. This week is a mix of two almost similar artists that I discovered almost five years apart. They’re also almost described as another artist, although that’d almost ruin any true description of them. Almost.

The best part is both of them are currently working on their respective albums– something I’m more excited about than my own future.


High Voices, Higher Intellects

QuESt

A squandered opportunist who hasn’t squandered a single beat. 

Image via @YesIAmQuESt

I was introduced to QuESt back in my backpacker days with “Gambler” off of his first project, Fear Not Failure. I promptly forgot about him.

That was a mistake.

I recently rediscovered him with his latest project, Searching Sylvan. I let one song come up on shuffle and left it. Then I listened to the entire tape in its entirety. The production was wonderfully melodic and well done, especially for an underground rapper. QuESt has this unbelievable power to spit over any beat– his voice is strange and high-pitched, but he uses it to keep pace with the production to tell stories and recite poems. He does have his certain style that he seems comfortable with– what can loosely be called Americanized grime. His production has heavy inspiration from both dubstep and DnB; the impressive thing is that he never fights it. He works with shuddering synths and deep bass so well you’d think it’s in his blood. QuESt is the hungriest rapper I’ve ever heard.

Sylvan is a loose narrative of a period of his life in his town of Miami and the struggles he faced as a person, a musician, a son, a friend, and a citizen. He plows through quick tempos to shout his frustrations as a “struggle rapper” in the aptly titled “Struggle Rapper,” then turns around and bounces through disappointments in “Erase Me.” The interludes and skits, including one from Tupac, are both personal and relatable– QuESt manages to give the listener a view of Miami from his perspective without dominating the narrative.

This is where the terrible comparison starts.

Searching Sylvan is like a more human good kid, MAAD city. Where Kendrick discusses the city of Compton and the struggle of everyone there, QuESt goes deeper into his emotions and personal reflections and painful struggles of a man trying to find his dream. Don’t get me wrong, gkMC is still my favorite album of all time– but there’s something staggering in Sylvan. 

Listen to:

1. Struggle Rapper

2. Erase Me

3. Automatic

4. The Memories

Download:

1. Searching Sylvan

2. Fear Not Failure


Boogie

A man whose thirst for success is matched only by his criticism of thirsty-ness. 

Photo by Jack Wagner for LA Weekly.

Boogie punched his way into my ears with Oh My (produced by Jahlil Beats, who has made some of my absolute favorite Kevin Gates beats). For someone who is just barely breached the scene, Boogie is terrifyingly polished. He’s mastered his flow and style almost immediately. His content is far from your expected, “I’m going to come up and be the best, I’ll call out these other rappers!” Instead, he has a way of reflecting and critiquing the life around him. His raps aren’t intimate as much as they are friendly– he talks like a friend on the corner, looking at life and his city and calling out what troubles him with a certain degree of quiet wisdom.

Thirst 48, arguably my favorite title of anything from the past few years, has this beautiful, consistent tone that Boogie takes full advantage of. The skits and interludes, including one from Tupac, are brief and offer a little bit of insight into what Boogie sees. He never changes from this personable, laid-back mood, even if he’s going off over brass or atmospheric echoes. His songs invoke vivid images of LA streets in the summer.

This is where the terrible comparison starts.

Boogie is like an LA Chance the Rapper (odd, seeing how he’s older than Chance). He’s confident on sing-song melodies and he’s just as confident on bangers (re: Oh My). He’s not afraid to change his flow or break it entirely. Now my only concern is that Boogie sticks to killer raps and doesn’t lose himself to sing-song nonsense.

Just kidding, there isn’t a chance he’ll go in any direction but up.

Listen to:

1. Oh My

2. Bitter Raps

3. Save Me

4. Let Me Rap

Download:

1. Thirst 48

Top Fives are for chumps

These are my top four records of 2014 since fives are for chumps. I’ve included what I think are the best tracks on each release, as well as what makes these records so special to me beyond the fact that they’re great music.

4. Life After Deathrow – Boosie Badazz

Best of: “The Fall”

This album means: Home.

I’m not going to lie, I was excited when Boosie finally got out of prison. He’s a legend in Louisiana, and, like Kevin Gates, a symbol of my home. His string of features were mostly garbage though and it felt like he had faded away. Once this tape came out though, it blew away all those disappointments and gave light to a Boosie with better beat selection and some killer lyricism (“‘We got you on six bodies and two attempts’ / I said, ‘Sir, you’re lying cause I don’t do attempts'” on the damn INTRO). Although the middle of the tape suffers a bit from the 2002-era Boosie sound, it ends strong with emotion-packed “O Lord.” He gets “Louisiana’s Tupac” for a reason– Boosie’s better than ever.

3. My Krazy Life – YG 

Best of: “I Just Wanna Party (ft. Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock)”

This album means: Finding happiness in my musical progression.

With skits that come off as a clips from a gangster’s life in the style of The Slim Shady LP and good kid, MAAD city, this album was another surprise for me. I transitioned pretty quickly from underground backpack nonsense to mainstream rap. MKL is just another sign of that– I enjoy this album way more than any pretentious mess from some kid in Maine. My favorite album of all time is arguably GKMC and MKL gives you the exact other side of the issues in Compton. That’s such a dynamic shift to me– the seemingly shallow antagonists that haunt Kendrick are the ones that won’t stop popping back up in my playlists. The production is killer and YG creates a few near-perfect tracks. The only reason it goes behind #2 is my lack of familiarity with most of the tracks and the album’s lack of diversity. Its high points are higher than most of #2’s, so it still deserves a lot of respect.

2. Oxymoron – Schoolboy Q

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Best of: “Prescription/Oxymoron”

This album means: Driving in the snow.

This was the fourth album I bought in Columbia (after Born Sinner, Trap Lord, and My Name is My Name). I have vivid memories of driving back from Best Buy listening to this album and clearing snow off my car while hearing “Gangsta” and “What They Want.” There are some moments on here that really haunt me– 2 Chainz’ verse on “What They Want,” Q’s young daughter popping up every so often in the midst of songs about selling drugs and murders, the flawless production on “Prescription/Oxymoron.” Although the bonus tracks can really drag this album down, its base edition is a well-done rollercoaster of messages and moods. Every song, from the celebratory “Collard Greens” to the aggressive “The Purge,” feels purely Q. If this was a competition between the deluxe editions, My Krazy Life would probably edge ahead of Oxymoron; with base editions, however, Q just barely ends up ahead of YG. His persona, his life are so evident in these tracks, it’s hard to speak ill of this unbelievably authentic record. It gives me the same kind of memories that obviously motivate Q to write his songs, things you don’t forget and shape you into your final product.

1. Monster – Future

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Best of: “Codeine Crazy”

The album means: Everything I’ve felt this year.

It’s hard to argue against the fact that my biggest complaint is that a single skit kind of bugs me. A few years ago, I would have written off Future as some “autotune garbage, not real rap!” and called it a day. Instead, some random kid on /r/hiphopheads links a single song off of Monster (“Throw Away” which fights with “Codeine Crazy” as my favorite off the tape) and I had to download it. Come 2015, it’s the only thing I still keep on repeat. Maybe it’s because it’s so recent compared to other releases like Oxymoron. But I mean, I have a slight issue with the hook on “2Pac” and “Abu’s Booming” irks me, but that’s it. Monster exceeded my expectations for a simple tape and beat out my feelings for any studio release this year (including Honest). Monster means more to me than a mixtape; it means emotional turmoil, anger, sadness, talking nonsense with friends, loneliness, happiness, partying and sitting alone in the dark. Future’s clarity and honesty allow his music to really hit home. It means so much more to me than any other tape this year. It’s a comforting step in my journey with hip-hop. I can’t even see the stairs behind me anymore. Just another couple of flights of some good music. Monster just happens to be the last one of the year.

Honorable Mentions and Accolades

2014 had a lot of killer singles– hell, a lot of albums and tapes almost made it on my top four by sheer strength of their singles (cough cough, Mastermind). But these aren’t just albums with good singles; these are albums I didn’t spend enough time with or just didn’t sit right with me despite knowing I should.

Album I Should Appreciate More

Pinata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

Madlib’s work is constantly referred to as “dusty” and “brilliant” and other terms that people who think vinyl makes sense use. Gibbs is impeccable, and songs like “Thuggin'” and “Deeper” are A+. But most of the album just faded past me, I felt too slow to appreciate it.

Nicest Surprise

Neon Icon – Riff Raff

I absolutely love “Time.” I genuinely do. “Kokayne,” on the other side of the energy spectrum, is like liquid cocaine in your veins. “How To Be The Man,” “Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwwdinz” are fun as hell. “Jody 3 Moons” is probably my favorite skit. All in all, a pleasant surprise from Jody.

Best Traditionally Southern Album

Cadallactica – Big KRIT

It’s a problem when a single made to hype up the album is better than most of the tracks on the actual album. “Mt. Olympus” was a-damn-mazing and arguably overshadows even the title track off this album. That being said, KRIT undeniably holds the title of New King of the South.

Best Shower Album

2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole

I really liked listening to this in the shower. Don’t ask me why. Cole can speak the common man’s truth and this has held my attention a lot longer/better than Born Sinner. Biggest problem is the le wrong generation speak Cole occasionally gets in to, but this is still crazy good.

#GAMERGATE

Author Edit: Full honesty, I wrote this as a weekly post for a class. Looking back on it, I cringe at the over-simplification and over-looking of some pretty major aspects of this issue. My feelings and thoughts about this aren’t as one dimensional anymore, and I’m happy to discuss it with anyone. But this post is no longer a conclusive or accurate description of my outlook.  

I love video games with a passion. There’s nothing I want to do more than lose myself in the game industry. Nothing. I’ll take anyone on if they doubt my dedication to the medium. But it’s the love I have that gives me the ability to not take it seriously. I understand that video games are a damn art form. But they, like movies and paintings, aren’t a matter of life and death. They aren’t a field for hard-hitting investigative journalism (mostly).

The idea of “ethics” in a wholly subjective medium that typically revolves around, “Should I buy this?” is strange. Disclosure is absolutely necessary– FCC regulations exist for a reason and readers don’t want their content to be transformed into native advertising. I understand and want that too; that’s as black and white as it gets. “We want legitimate writings, not decorated ads.” Understandable, right?

That being said, it’s certainly not worth the spite directed towards organizations like IGN. Criticize them, sure. But I’d hardly consider the issue of #gamergate worth the militant attitudes and unrepentant hate without any clear goal other than a vague call for “ethics.” However, this bites into the argument that I’ve absolutely despised– #gamergate is just another vehicle for gamers (who are also “dead” because of reasons) to harass indie developers/women/people who are alive.

It’s this weirdly annoying arena where game hotheads call out “SJWs,” corporations, and women as being professional victims and such and twitter hotheads call out gamers for death and rape threats and such. The problem with this stupid battle is that the two never clash– they draw in the moderate crowds on both side (gamers who want more disclosure and people who feel like there are some issues that need to be addressed in gaming culture) and make it impossible for the two to hold any kind of discourse.

Totalbiscuit’s blog post about this was one of the few responses I actually looked into– two parts in particular stick out.

I firmly believe that focusing on the minority perpetrating harassment and abuse will perpetuate more of it and give them the power and attention they so crave. The media, either mainstream or gaming does not seem to agree with me on that one and keeps hammering out article after article after article on harassment. Does it help? Has it done anything what-so-ever to slow down the #Gamergate hashtag? Has it done anything to reduce online abuse? If it has I’ve seen no evidence of any of those things. Gamergate associated boards and subreddits continue to grow, the hashtag continues to go strong long after futile slacktivist efforts to kill it such as #stopgamergate2014 have imploded and gone away. Why you might ask? We wrote so many articles condemning harassment, why isn’t Gamergate going away?

Because you are peddling a one-sided narrative.

Additionally, in reference to mainstream media:

You gave them the mainstream media on a silver platter, you failed to learn the classic lesson about the internet, that you do NOT feed the trolls. I condemn harassment in all its forms and in whatever name it is perpetrated. I don’t believe condemning it does anything, but I’ll do it anyway just to reaffirm my stance, which by the way should be assumed as being the default position of a reasonable human-being.

When gamers get called “dead” or “the worst community” or get written off as perpetrators of death threats, all opportunities for discussion are quashed. It inflames the community as a whole– if one calls out a minority within a group as the whole group, it erases the responsibility of the minority for their actions and falsely labels the majority as the minority.

The main point of all of this is that every bit of this incident has been terrible. Every response from every side has sucked. The only solution for all of this is calm, rational addressing of the issue. “Here’s our policies, here’s how we enforce them.” instead of, “The internet is a jerk, we won’t say anything else!” The issue isn’t about whether or not a reviewer grabs a bottle of water in the middle of a convention (shoutsout to Greg Miller) but the relationship between parties. That small bit has been overswept by the sea of twitter trolls, which is just disappointing.

It’s a damn shame every avenue for discussion has been blocked by both sides: you’ve got a wall with one side yelling, “SHILLS!” on one side and the other yelling, “HARASSERS!” without either paying attention to everyone else not banging on the Berlin Wall of Gaming.

Harassment is bad. Failing to include relevant information is bad.

The fact that both happen does not nullify the importance of issues within our community. If this big a mess has been made, maybe we should just talk about it. 1v1 Final Destination Fox Only No Items this whole issue and move on to a better level.

That last sentence was something that’d be on a CNN article about #GAMERGATE. I’m sorry. 

 

Arian Foster is the light of my life.

I love fantasy football.

It’s an uncontroversial statement for a lot of people. It’s not an issue that’s debated about or hotly contested. It’s a game with friends for a silly title or crude trophy.

But for me, it’s something more.

I don’t (or didn’t, rather) watch a lot of football. Fantasy football was even more of a mystery to me than offensive pass interference or defensive plays in Madden. Sports, even e-sports, have always evaded me. My attention span is so tiny and useless that I never got into it. That same tiny attention span is what has made this semester so tough– I struggle against apathy instead of exams.

Fantasy offered me a rare opportunity. It could hold my attention. It could make my brain shake off some of the dust and idiocy that have accumulated in every wrinkle.

I have passion about a few things: animals, video games, rap music. But those are a constant, easily becoming more of the white/grey noise that obscures so much of my energy.

Fantasy finally shook me awake. I poured over /r/fantasyfootball for hours, reading player summaries and what everything meant. I picked up on streaming defenses and the possibility of streaming kickers. I read threads to the bottom, clicked on every link, evaluated every choice.

It’s beautiful.

It gave me another thing to talk to my friends about, something we’re all at least somewhat interested and invested in. I got a small look into the world of stats and numbers that my friends have memorized, as opposed to my knowledge of mixtapes or games. It gave me a new connection to the few people I actually want to speak to regularly.

It gave me a new passion and reason to do something. I actually have the energy and drive to accomplish something– I’m enthralled the day after all the games where I can reevaluate and scan for available players. I can make decisions, regardless of whether or not they turn out to be the right ones. There is no putting off something because I’m scared or unsure. I can actually take action on something. I can be reassured I made the right decision. I can see my choices payoff in real time. I can see them do the exact opposite.

Fantasy football is frustrating, impossible, infuriating, confusing. A million other adjectives that don’t do a good enough job of describing how nervous I am about the games regardless of the fact I’m playing somebody who is still starting Adrian Peterson in week eight or how frustrated I am when I benched the equivalent of 80 points and came up with a loss because of it.

Fantasy football is dumb chance. It’s not even rolling dice, it’s rolling dice that have question marks instead of numbers.

Fantasy football is also one of the only things that’s given me a sense of life in the past few weeks.

It has crossed countless barriers in my brain to give me a deep-seated contentedness that I didn’t know I was missing.

The reality is that this is way too personal and involved for a stupid post about a pseudo-game played by millions. The fantasy, however, is that this stupid game will continue to give me the energy and ability to care that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Weather Whoas

A persimmon seed, Jupiter and the Bering Sea walk into a bar.

“What are you looking at?” a surly patron asks.

“I’m just looking at warm spells,” the persimmon seed says.

“I’m looking at frigid air and snow,” says Jupiter.

“Well, I’m looking at a back loaded winter and your stupid face,” the Bering Sea says before sweeping the patron away in a rush of freezing water and sending him to his watery grave.

Despite the setup, winter weather is no joke. Predictors use a variety of factors to determine what the quickly approaching winter season will hold in terms of temperature and snow. Here’s a few of the predictions for this winter.


The seeds of winter predictions have been growing for months– years even. Only the arrival of winter’s actual weather will determine which of the seeds actually blossoms. The rest will probably just be cut in half for next year’s winter predictions.


That was my first (and favorite) lead for my winter weather story and my fourth or fifth ending. I knew the lead wouldn’t make it through due to its length and the fact it wasn’t exactly that funny or insightful. But it appealed to my niche-ish humor. I remembered what I had thought when I wrote the lead for my leaves story. “It’s always better to just try,” I thought.

Of course, there is no black and white in the world of newsprint.

That was awful. I’m sorry I wrote it.

Regardless, the actual point is that just writing obnoxious leads isn’t the best route in journalism. There’s a fine line between writing for yourself (and your stupid humor) and writing for actual people. Writing for yourself is barely okay on a super-personal blog. If it’s getting published, you have to be aware that what you think is perfect is always flawed for others. It’s way too easy to just wrap it up in your head and pass it off as okay.

Remembering the reader is harder than actually writing.

There aren’t any stories that are made for you. They’re made for everyone but you. Most of the time, you have to get that story to them without your fingerprints all over it. Your signature is meaningless if it obscures what it’s written on.

Georgia clip.

During GA, I picked up a quick story from another reporter. Honestly, these stories are crazy nice. I love doing them. Brief, efficient phone calls are my absolute favorite type of phone call (behind non-existent phone calls). I called two people, got maybe twenty words total from both of them, typed it up, and sent it in. Beautiful.

The only frustrating part of these stories is that due to their limited scope, you only have so many words to write. You fight the question of, “Do I say ‘four were referred’ or ‘they referred four’?” The lack of room is constricting and comforting. It’s easy and hard. It’s frustrating and relieving.

It’s delightful.

(Derby) Damed If You Don’t.

If roller derby had a ball, I would make a great metaphor about dropping it. It would’ve been especially great if the ball was small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I’m just complaining about an imaginary ball.

The Derby Dames package finally came out, Missourian Minute bumper and all. Immediately after, I got an email about three mistakes in the brief (I handled the editing, video, and corrections)– using blades instead of skates, implying the Dames were unaware of the birthday party, and that the Dames were looking for a new place to practice (not play games). I knew each of those three but each slipped right past me.

My personal reaction to most of my mistakes is to simply ignore them or cut the person that saw them out of my life. Possibly a bit unfair, but it hasn’t given me any mistakes so far.

Each was corrected and it looks better now, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t bug me. I felt like I had really gotten to know and understand a little bit about the Dames, and to let stupid mistakes get by makes me feel like I betrayed the trust of a subject. I’m sure they’ll just as easily forget about it and move on, but I think the feelings of embarrassment and annoyance will stick with me for a bit.

I didn’t pay attention and let stupid things slip by me. If I remember these feelings of idiocy, I will sit down on every article and read the hell out of every draft. Search for common sense before sending it off.

It’s a Dame shame it happened, but I’ll be Dame’d if I let it happen again (I probably will, but not anytime soon).

Mistakes be Dame’d.

I’m done now.