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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ten Years After – Thinking About a Decade Spent at Blogcritics

First appeared on Blogcritics.


blog1Ten years ago today I wrote my first article for Blogcritics. Time is a funny thing – something we either want to remember or wish to forget, depending on the events that occur within a period. One may enjoy remembering a first date or wish to ban the memory, so thinking about a specific time is sometimes rather subjective; however, one thing one cannot change is that the date happened. That’s, fortunately or unfortunately, forever.

As I look back at ten years here at Blogcritics, I am amazed at not only how quickly the time has passed but also that I can remember so much of it. 2005 is in many ways like yesterday in my memories, and yet the concept of a “decade” dictates that it was a distinct and long period. I want to think about that period as a whole, but distinctly and irresolutely the days, months, and years break into separated sections of my life and the times I (and we) lived through.

If I am having complicated issues with contemplating this past decade of writing and editing at Blogcritics, in the bigger picture others much more learned and experienced in the matter of time study have problems with it too. As theoretical physicist Sean Carroll notes, it seems that “time” boggles his mind too:
But the particular aspect of time that I’m interested in is the arrow of time: the fact that the past is different from the future. We remember the past but we don’t remember the future. There are irreversible processes. There are things that happen, like you turn an egg into an omelet, but you can’t turn an omelet into an egg.
This may not help in my contemplation of time, but it also makes me think about all the articles I will write in the next ten years. While looking back at the last decade of articles written (and the hundreds that I edited as well), I see a wide array of very diverse omelets to be sure.

blog2My first article written for Blogcritics appeared on June 25, 2005, and was about my reaction to the death of James Doohan, the beloved actor who played Scotty in the original Star Trek TV series and films. At the time Eric Olsen was in charge of things, and BC was known as a place that featured “a sinister cabal” of bloggers writing about topics from soup to nuts and everything in between. 

During these ten years at BC, I have written about so many topics, all made possible by this forum where writers are welcomed, nurtured, and encouraged. Great editors like Eric Olsen, Lisa McKay, Bill Sherman, Jon Sobel, Gordon Hauptfleisch, and others helped me write better articles, to look for things in myself as a writer I didn’t know were there, and that is a gift that keeps on giving ten years later.


blog5I wrote about so many things, including my ongoing personal situation regarding the 9-11 attacks and their aftermath. Having the outlet to write about my devastated city (and my family’s loss on that day) at times proved to be therapeutic, and at other times cathartic. Having BC as a venue to explore my complicated emotional journey has been mostly my opportunity to heal, no matter how slowly, through writing about it.

blog4Over the years I wrote ongoing reviews about the TV series 24, reviewed countless films and other TV series, and offered my opinions on life, education, politics, and sports. All of these articles would never have been written without the encouragement of the BC editors.


Then, somewhere along the way, Eric asked me to become an editor. It reminded me of my time working in retail when, after spending so long as a regular worker, someone asked me to become a manager. In those days I turned that opportunity down, but I couldn’t say “No” to Eric, especially with his offer to be co-head sports editor with the great Charlie Doherty.


blog3During that time I turned my attention to writing about my favorite teams – the New York Mets, Jets, and Knicks. I also wrote about other sports matters, and continued to turn out articles on the TV shows and films I enjoyed. Charlie and I worked with our sports writers and encouraged them to submit regularly, and we continually looked for new writers to join the fold. It was a fabulous experience and got me to appreciate sports writing more than I already did.

In what seems like more a dream than anything else, at some point Eric left and BC ended up in the capable hands of Jon Sobel and Barbara Barnett. The once “sinister cabal” became “The Critical Lens on Today’s Culture and Entertainment,” and the format of the pages changed as did the sections and editors, but what remained was a distinct goal to get the best writers writing the finest articles on all things that mattered. As for me, I went from being a sports editor to a Culture and Society editor, where I remain today.

Just as with Dr. Carroll’s “arrow of time” concept, I have no idea where I am going, no "memory" of what articles I will write or edit, but the ones I have written, the ones I have edited, are indelibly left as memories – and their resilient footprints are also left in the archives to explore.

During those ten years I have “met” so many writers and editors, without ever seeing them in person. In this virtual writing reality, relationships are developed, and I respect these fine men and women who take their writing as seriously as I do. Also, sadly, along the way people have come and gone, and I miss some of them very much. When I learned that Gordon Hauptfleisch had passed away, I especially felt the loss of a man who had been a great writer, editor, and friend. Thanks to BC, I was privileged to know Gordon and many others in the BC family mourned his loss.

I think that sums up why, after ten years, I am still at Blogcritics. Whether a “sinister cabal” or a “critical lens,” it is a writing community like no other. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be a part of it and, if you are not yet a writer for BC, I encourage you to come aboard and be part of a creative experience that will support, encourage, and challenge you.

I look forward to the next decade and can only imagine the writing I will do in the future, but I know for sure that I have miles to go as a writer, and there are countless eggs yet to be cracked and many omelets I look forward to making.


 photo credits: blogcritics, history.com,startrek.com, moneyballhitter.com,comicbook.com

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