I wanted to take a moment to wish The Gazine a happy birthday, but it’s a weird thing to do. First, I have to find enough breath to yell into the woods. I’m talking to everyone with Internet access, so I’m talking to no one, exactly. In this way, wishing The Gazine a happy birthday reminds me of one of my own birthdays, one that I spent camping alone for no reason other than to see what it felt like to be completely isolated for the occasion.
What has the Gazine accomplished in one year? Nothing, really. It’s not a publication, per se, but a genuine blog, albeit a little more tidy than the average. I can’t think of what The Gazine may have accomplished, any more than you might accomplish something by leaving your personal diary on a table at a public building, hoping some people read an entry or two that they find compelling enough to share with friends.
I do have a few memories to share. Early on, I pissed off a Famous Writer by recording him without his knowledge and then talking to his PR person and revealing what I did. I felt creepy and stupid, but also kind of provocative. So, no regrets.
I’ve written some of my favorite posts drunk. I’ve wasted hours tampering with stock photos just to make some stupid joke work. I’ve interviewed great people and felt bad that they didn’t know how much of an echo their insight was creating on my supposed audience’s side of things. I’ve felt the rush of watching a post take off on Reddit, refreshing my statistics display every five minutes to watch the bar graph bloom. And every time I get a comment from a Mysterious Reader I kind of blush. Are you talking to me?
I also get a kick out of calling people on the phone and telling them that I write for The Gazine. Keep in mind that The Gazine is just me and it gets as few as five hits a day on bad weeks. So it’s like telling someone “Hi. I write in my diary every night before I go to bed and I’d like to pitch you a few about your involvement with the Mayor.” Still, The Gazine, in all its glory, is mentioned in the pages of The Guardian, In These Times, and CounterPunch.org, just because I said it’s real. Sometimes all you need is a name and you exist.
There are a few long-winded posts that I’m tempted to delete, but I’d rather not whitewash this project. Just like the budding writer who muses about politics in his personal diary, I have this fantasy that someday someone important is going to go through the archives and just flip their shit. Like Jonathan Franzen googles “consumerism good times” and spends all day scrolling with his mouth open.
In the end, though, I’m keeping The Gazine going because at least once a week I have an idea that is too weird, too local, too dumb, too convoluted to send to out to a legitimate publication—or maybe I just don’t want to let someone else edit my idea because I think it’s just how I want it—so I put it up here. If fifty people read it in the course of a year, so be it. But sometimes, every now and then, a post floats out there into that intimidating chasm filled only with information—and someone makes sense of it.