Monday, December 31, 2012

A Sometimes Food

Shakespeare once wrote that brevity is the soul of wit. George Costanza once left on a high note. A mind more respected than those two is not easy to find. Taking that into consideration, I will do my best to keep this brief.

As I mentioned about a month ago, I recently started a new job as an Associate Editor for Cincinnati Magazine. It's a position that I am both grateful for and excited about growing more and more comfortable with. It also comes with new responsibilities and changes in lifestyle; I hope to be writing more and more for the mag as time progresses, in addition to my other editorly duties. All of these things are welcomed and galvanizing, as I'm getting to work in the profession I always hoped to, at a publication that is well-respected and offers the chance to dabble in myriad facets of the magazine industry. It is not lost on me how fortunate I am.

Because of this, Arbitrary JudgEment is now a “sometimes food.” Over the past two years, I've kept a steady schedule of two posts per month on this site, writing on whatever topic for which I felt conviction or held some amount of interest. And as easy as two posts per month may seem—and honestly, it really wasn't that difficult—I feel that now is a good time to dissolve that schedule and transition to the next phase of this blog's existence. I'm not shutting down Arbitrary JudgEment. In fact, I plan to post here as often as I feel the urge to do so. I just don't foresee that impulse manifesting itself into longer explorative pieces twice a month. Maybe it will be once every other month, maybe it will only be three or four times a year. It'd be foolish of me to assume I know how the winds of change will shift.

I started this site during my freshman year of college at Ohio University. One of my journalism professors suggested to our class that with the ease involved in self-publishing via the web (which in the fall of 2008, was still relatively fresh, new, and void of the flocks of tools with snarky Tumblr accounts), it would be wise for our future if we invested in this opportunity. I followed this advice, and soon found quite a bit of pleasure in the freedom and creativity that the site offered. It took me a few years to develop the blog into what I wanted, but the beauty in it was just that: It could be whatever I wanted. I wasn't making any money off of it. I wasn't obligated to fill any quota or navigate censorship in any way. As long as I didn't make a complete ass of myself (and I probably walked that tightrope once or twice), the site stood to help me moving forward as a writer. I believe it did. I don't know that any of the opportunities I've had in my short life as a journalist have been aided or influenced greatly by the work I've done on this site, but I know without a doubt that the writing and editing I've done for it have made me better writer and editor, expanded my creativity and critical thinking, and provided a bit of self-entertainment (which in many cases is the most important kind). It afforded me a vessel through which I could transform my brain into a cohesive conglomeration of words. It was the hoop outside my house where I could craft my game, my style. It was my arbitrary judgment bestowed upon ideas and topics that were important to me. If the site was read or appreciated or aroused discussion among anyone else, I'm genuinely appreciative of that (seriously), but that ultimately wasn't the point.

About two-and-a-half years ago, I eased into the pattern of posting twice a month, the site finally finding its form, at least in my eyes. I'm proud of the work I did before that, but I'm especially proud of the work I've done since then. (If you are at all curious, I even selected four of my personal favorites if you wish to look back on them, linked to here, here, here and here.) I wrote only what I felt passionate about or intrigued by. I don't claim to be an expert on any of these topics, but I also avoided writing about things that held little interest to me or would purposefully stir up controversy. This site has never even been a true “blog,” but rather a personal column through which I could spill out my thoughts. It will continue to be that, whenever I feel the desire for it to do so.

This venture was never meant to be widely read or popular, and it never was. If I may be completely candid, it probably received more eyes than I ever dreamed it would. This was due in large part to the friends and family who made a point to check back every couple weeks. You know who you are, and your devotion is much appreciated.

I've also witnessed, more recently, some of those very same friends and family being forced to attend to difficult and unfortunate events in their personal lives. And if I've learned anything during my time on this impermanent earth, it's that the same thing that applies to the soul of wit and Constanza's showmanship also applies to life in general: Far too often, it is far too brief. Spend it doing what you love and with the people that you love. Arbitrary JudgEment has allowed me to experience the first part of that. Moving forward, I intend to focus more on the latter as well. And from time to time, I'll be sure to stop by again.

If you wish to keep up or keep in touch, you can follow me on Twitter, on my website, or at the magazine.

As always...

Thanks for reading

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