What is it about blogging that introduces completely new and (mostly) interesting things about people who are close to you? Take, for instance, my friend Leo. Leo has recently begun penning his own blog, Fifteen Key, the title of which is taken from an 11 year old Uncle Tupelo song. I’ll get to that later, though.
Throughout the roughly 12 years I’ve known Leo, we’ve had a lot of conversations about almost everything. Some conversations are very memorable, inspirational or poignant, while others, well, others can be ridiculous…or fun. Or stupid. Anyway, we’re friends. We know a lot about each other. Here and there, though, I find things out about my friend that I never knew before. It’s not even anything I can specifically cite. It’s just little things I pick up on here and there as I’m reading his missives. I can only guess he’s probably experienced the same thing reading my blog. Leo’s just an example, really.
In fact, the information and thoughts in this space have got to be quite fascinating for people who are really close to me – family especially – as they’ve probably witnessed sides of me here that they’ve never seen before. It’s not that I’m a completely different person around them, it’s just that blogging has brought them daily access to me, something they haven’t had since I was, what, eighteen? I’m happy to provide it, of course, and I’m thrilled that they can have access to me and keep up to date whenever they want. Nothing beats actual interaction and conversation, but since my immeadiate family don’t live in the state anymore, sometimes it’s hard to see them with any regularity. How’s the weather up there?
On the flip side, it’s probably even more fascinating to people who barely know me. It’s also a little frightening. I recently met the boyfriend of a close friend of my wife and I. We went out for dinner a couple of weeks ago and we had a great meal and a very nice time. The topic of my blog came up and at the time, I encouraged him to check it out. Even further out there in the web-o-sphere, I would imagine someone who I went to high school or college with was probably paging through their school yearbooks at some point and saw my picture (sidenote: Steph claims I had a mullet, and while I don’t completely deny this, I do insist my mullet was incredibly mild. I will post my high school picture here for a vote soon). Inevitably, somewhere, somehow, someone you knew way back when has Googled you, just to see. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Just admit it. So imagine someone’s surprise when they find this link and discover four years of journalistic writing. Has that got to be a fascinating find or what? Wild thing, this internet.
Oh, hey, don’t get me wrong – I’m not claiming for a single second that my writing is fascinating or that I’m some terribly interesting dude. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is this: if I found some kind of alternative universe where all my old classmates, teachers or old girlfriends blogged years worth of stuff, well, I’d be calling in sick to work for a few days straight. And so would you.
So other than a desperate attempt to leave some kind of written proof that I existed, or because I think it would unbelievably awesome to have my children and grandchildren read my archives someday and wonder what the hell I was smoking (for the record, nothing, kiddos), I’ll pose this Sex and the City type summary question: what are blogs for?
I’m not going to answer that just yet. Maybe another time, though. Of course, feel free to comment. But if history is any indication, most of you won’t.
Anyway, getting back to Leo and Uncle Tupelo. As you probably don’t know, Uncle Tupelo were probably the most important band that came across my ears so far in this lifetime. Not because I was obsessed or because I followed them around the country or anything (just the former, really), but their music made me change my life in ways that still reverberate strongly with me today. The band split up in 1994 and splintered into what became Son Volt and Wilco, a pair of bands that took their intended seperate paths, but the truth is the two will never equal what the one did.
To that end, a lot has changed since those days of the mid-nineties when all that really mattered to me was new albums, nightclubs and filling my pockets with Rolling Rocks so I wouldn’t have to keep going back to the bar during the show. All that mattered to me was every Tuesday when new albums came out. And when a new Son Volt or Wilco album came out, lookout dude. My level of anticipation was in the red. Leo (or anyone else, really) can tell you.
Fast forward ten years now and Son Volt, recently re-formed, have released their fifth album, Okemah & The Melody Of Riot. My level of anticipation was certainly high, but it never even touched the kind of excitement I had back then. And I miss those days sometimes, I miss that feeling deep down in the pit of my gut that I had when I’d get home and rip a CD open with excitement and drop it into the player. But I’m glad I’m where I am now and I’m glad I had those extremes back then. So when I say I’m in a different place now, I think what I really mean is that I don’t think I’ll ever be as excited for a new album or a live show as I was back then. Sad? Yeah.
Come October 23, though, I assure you that I can be found at The Paradise in Boston, MA, watching Son Volt rip through it. Oh, and I’ll be excited. I may even have some Rolling Rocks in hand, for old times sake. Because I believe that Jay Farrar remains one of our planets best songwriters and one thing that hasn’t changed is my belief that he remains a very important artist in our generation. But it will never be the same. They may still make great music that holds up to what they did previously, but it’s me. I’m the one who’s playing with a different deck. I’ve got other things to be happy and excited about these days (and bummed out and stressed about, too, I guess). Life, baby.
The thing that gets me is that for those of you who know me well enough, or have just met me, you actually know the deck, too, just because of this place. Wild stuff.