Cleaning my vehicle the other day, I discovered a long-forgotten CD under the seat. It was Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend. Turns out it’s been seven years since that album came out, and I hadn’t missed a thing – they were just now set to finally drop a new album in the coming months. New release Friday came last week, and of course I was going to stream their new album Father of the Bride two or three times, especially considering how good their lead single, “Harmony Hall,” is. I found the album a mess – all the ingredients are there, but some were overcooked and some half raw. That’s life; it happens. I’d just like to take care it doesn’t happen to me.
I started blogging around 2012, first on Tumblr, then self-hosted, and finally the WordPress Premium platform you see here. Tracking each year until now, I always found myself horribly repulsed by my own writing in increments of one year after hitting the publish button. The year 2015 would lead me to reject 2014’s scribblings, for instance. That is, until last year.
I currently find myself observing an unusual phenomenon: I am in love with my blog pieces from 2018 – all of them, front to back. Not like, in a cocky way. I just enjoy perusing them and building upon their themes. I still have heroes that compose far better pieces than me, many of whom have guest starred on Normal Happenings. And, like with most artists, I am my own worse critic. A perfectionist at heart, I have to choke down the need for flawless writing and release the pieces in my perceived flawed state. But I see a trail of increased writing competency weave its way in and out of each post, and it makes me happy to see that something clicked in 2018 that was not present in the previous years. This is very new for me.
I’ll get back to you with what that x-factor is when I figure it out, but I have a feeling my writing got better the second I stopped obsessing over stats.
I’m quick to say, however, that the most profound realization had nothing to do with blog posts – it was the discovery that I am not alone. Working with an all-star designer who did everything she could to make Normal Happenings’ aesthetic thematically on point, making real friends via social channels, rallying dozens of talented writers together to collaborate on common interests – things really came together to teach me it’s no fun being the lonely contrarian alienated from any sense of community.
I think it’s a wonderful thing that I’m happy with my past writings for the first time ever. Rather than falling from the heights into overambitious confusion in the same manner that the aforementioned Vampire Weekend experienced, I think my newfound contentment is a sign that I’m finally at my place where I can build and build and see what happens.
They say that what a writer composes is a reflection of themselves. While true, in my case, I think my pieces define myself, and they make me a better person in the process. So thank you for enjoying Normal Happenings – you’ve really helped turn something normal into something beautiful!
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