It’s been a week since I posted anything. Or nearly a week. I knew it’d been awhile since my Chromebook was completely dead, sitting idly on top of the subwoofer in the living room collecting dust. After a two-week build up of album lists and revisiting records of 2022’s past, I needed a break. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Why? You don’t HAVE to make these year-end lists?” True, I don’t have to. I’m not getting paid to write hours of music rehashes. In fact, I’m not getting paid for anything on here. So why the hell do I do it?
I kind of need it, if I’m being honest.
It may not be the great American novel, but these are thoughts, emotions, feelings, and opinions solely owned by yours truly. I do it much like some iron-built, turn-of-the-century manufacturing behemoth had a release valve to release pent up energy in the form of steam. If that steam isn’t released, well that machine blows sky high. Except I’m not releasing steam when I write on here. I’m releasing the excitement I get over music, movies, books, and just the daily grind. Sometimes excitement, sometimes anxiety, sometimes sadness and fear. Sometimes even joy. I write like a painter puts paint to canvas. It’s an expression of my inner life, and this allows me to be perfectly still and quiet while still putting these thoughts out into the world.
For a mostly introverted hermit who prefers the company of his immediate family and his geriatric four-legged companion, it’s the perfect set up.
I go through ebbs and flows with writing. I am mostly thrilled to sit down and write, but there are times when I feel it’s a chore. Mostly, this bummer vibe comes when I’m writing things that aren’t personal for me. I do write reviews for a local paper for some vinyl-buying scratch, and most of those never pop up on here. If I honestly dig the tunes I’ll repost on my site, but typically they stay on the pages of that local zine. Even with records I’m buying and dig, at times I kind of just feel like “what’s the point?” I’m enjoying this, and there’s a million other place covering these albums so why do I need to add to the noise in the interweb? Well, this was why I started doing this in the first place, at least that’s what I tell myself.
I started writing on here in December of 2011 as a means to share album reviews. That local zine I told you about? Well that was the impetus to have my own space to share reviews. I began sending album reviews to them, they told me no at first and to keep trying. So I worked on it a couple of months and by November of 2011 the editor said “Okay. This is good. Keep ’em coming.” Some extra money for album buying, and a means of putting my thoughts and opinions out in the world. Well, at least in a few surrounding counties anyways.
But then the thought came to me to start a blog. A “blog”. I’d heard about these blogs, and it mostly seemed negative because people that went about writing professionally looked down upon John or Jane Q. Public having a space in the vast web to share their own opinions. They weren’t seen as “real” writers. Hacks, even. This sounded perfect for me. I mean, I was a hack musician that made his own music for years outside of any sort of system. I wrote, recorded, performed, and marketed my songs myself, and while I never played a show I got some recognition. The idea of the FYI musician seemed to roll beautifully into the FYI writer.
I started with album reviews and within a couple weeks I started to write personal stories about my life. Nothing heavy, but funny anecdotes that if I go back to re-read them I do laugh, but they feel like diamonds in the rough. I hadn’t yet honed the writing muscles. After 11 years I feel I might have found my “voice”, as it were.
And after 11 years, writing personal stories or just posts on what’s going on in my head and life are the ones I get the most from. I feel something lift from me after I’ve sat and spewed that mental and emotional spittle. I’m lighter after those, and that’s what this spot in this digital universe does for me.
I’m still going to write album reviews. But it’s going to be balanced with more personal pieces, more mental check-in pieces, and more revisiting old albums because, well, that’s what feels good to me. There’s still plenty of independent artists and labels that I’m happy to spread the word about, but it may be more multi-album pieces. I can get more covered that way, I think. I’d also like to cover more films and books, too.
That’s the plan, anyways.
So why do I write? Because I have to. It’s the pressure release valve in my life. I don’t care if 5 or 5,000 people read it. Or if nobody reads it. This isn’t my retirement plan. This is my mental health plan. If there’s a handful of folks out in the world that read my stuff and get something from it, then that’s pretty amazing to me. If not, then it’s just another digital journal entry in the books. I’m good with that.
Anyways, it’s been a long break for Complex Distractions. The holidays were fine, not without a few hiccups. But we made it through, and I’ve had a couple revelations as well. I’m ready to get things rolling again. Onward and upward to 2023.