2/28/10

A Thank You and a Eulogy

Two big ripples happened in the pond of my geekdom this weekend. The first will get it's own blog in the near future, a monumental evening of Back to the Future nostalgia. (We met Christopher Lloyd!) For that I need to thank my good friend Jen.

Item #1 - The Thank You

A little backstory...Jen and I briefly lived together. Sorta. We shared a house, she lived in the upstairs apartment, I lived in the downstairs apartment. The first time I ever really hung out with her, she threw an awesome Oscar party and invited me. Strawberry cupcakes, which were so great that I now make them for Jake for special occasions. Later, when we lived in separate locations, we started to bond the way geeks do. Via the internet over shared pop culture and artistic interests.

Jen is thoughtful. She sent me a Spock bobblehead last summer because she knew I would love it, she sent me an amazing headshot of Angela Lansbury last year in an art deco frame that still sits on my office bookshelf today. (Somehow, she intuitively knew that I loved the Lansbury, despite the fact that we had never talked about it before.) She introduced me to the Boss and countless other amazing musical selections (White Stripes songs that weren't on the radio.) via handcrafted mix tapes with hand drawn covers. Hand drawn covers! She sends me email links to cool stuff like art exhibits I might like and most recently, a link to information about a showing of Back to the Future near Chicago.

Well, I went to that showing yesterday and it was epic. But again...trying to stifle that glee for now because it's worthy of it's own entry...and I'm still processing the sheer amount of awesome that was yesterday. But much like Marty McFly, I find myself looking back across time. What if I had never met Jen? I wouldn't have done, seen, heard about, or enjoyed a lot of the things that are now very significant parts of my life. So to that I say, in the most Golden Girls way that I can, thank you for being a friend. I owe you big time for one of the coolest days of my life.

Item #2

One of the artifacts of the beginning of my professional life as a career has ceased publication. Geek Monthly is no more. Fusion Publishing went bankrupt along with many other publishing houses during the recent financial crisis.

The editor there published me when I had only done a few other things in print for local magazines. In the world of freelance, it's all about momentum. When I first pitched to Geek Monthly, I had none. After I was published there, just once even, all of the sudden I could say that I had written for Geek Monthly.

I took that confidence, that tiny little line on a resume, and I was able to pitch to other magazines with it, start writing columns in other locations, decided to go to grad school, and even began to branch out into voiceover and production.

In short, I was doing the things I had always been doing, only now I had a modicum of success. Sometimes it just takes one person to give you a break, and from there everything starts to change. I know it sounds really dramatic, but that's a moment in time that I can look back on, point to and realize that's when I became serious about actually making a career out of my obsessions and aspirations.

Geek Monthly was the bridge to my professional life. Not like I'm sitting in my high rise being fed grapes and signing checks for movie scripts, I'm a working shmo just like every other writer in the world. But now I have momentum, confidence, a trajectory, and projects...which is a long way from the frustrated writer knowing I had something to say but nowhere to say it. I have to thank Geek Monthly and the editors there for allowing me to work with them. It really boosted my confidence to get a green light from my peers, the people whose opinions seem to matter to me most outside of my family and friends...my fellow geeks.

The greatest thing about Geek Monthly was that it was all-encompassing of geek culture. Not just movies, not just music, not just one genre, all of our interests were combined there on its slick and colorful pages. It was the Captain Planet of the niche magazine market. I don't say that just as a writer who worked for them occasionally, I say that as a reader who will really miss seeing it on the stands.

So thank you Jen and R.I.P. Geek Monthly.