Tuesday, June 26, 2018

sometimes you look back on years of writing and realize something

I have written a lot at this blog.  My first year I had 71 posts, which felt like nothing.  The peak year of activity was 2012 with 717 posts. Just me. No other writers or bloggers, just Wenatchee The Hatchet.  And the thing is that's not even counting that besides the 717 posts here at the blog there was all the stuff I was writing for Mbird about BTAS. 

Like ... about 20,000 words ...

http://www.mbird.com/2011/09/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-1/
http://www.mbird.com/2011/10/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-2/
http://www.mbird.com/2011/11/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-3/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/01/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-4a/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/02/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madess-of-desire-pt-4b/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/02/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-part-4c/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/03/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-4d/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/03/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-4e/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/04/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-4f/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/05/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-part-5a/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/07/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-5b/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/07/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-madness-of-desire-pt-5c/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/08/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-5d/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/09/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-6a-apostasy-and-salvation-in-gotham-city/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/09/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-6b/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/10/batman-the-agony-of-loss-and-the-madness-of-desire-pt-6c/

and on Nolan's Batman trilogy
http://www.mbird.com/2012/07/a-path-through-three-prisons-bruce-wayne-in-nolans-batman-trilogy-pt-1/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/08/a-path-through-three-prisons-bruce-wayne-in-nolans-batman-trilogy-pt-2/
http://www.mbird.com/2012/08/a-path-through-three-prisons-bruce-wayne-in-nolans-batman-trilogy-pt-3/

I've written a lot of stuff over the years but if I had to pick something that I'm most proud of in terms of arts criticism what I wrote about BTAS is the stuff I'm most proud of.  If I had to pick what I've written about church history and Christian reflection on the dangers of technocratic mass media methodology permeating contemporary American church culture .... heh ... well, yeah, I'd say I'm glad to have played some role in documenting the peak and decline of what used to be called Mars Hill Church.  All the same, I do think I've made a case for how and why that mass of blogging activity is only a large fraction of a broader whole of my blogging activity since 2006 and that even in the peak posting year of 2012 there was plenty of other stuff I was writing.

Oh, and the Pixar film Brave, reviewed that in 2012.

And ... then there was a guest piece at Internet Monk called "There Is neither Art nor Pop, neither Indie or Mainstream…” from October 2012. 

That was also the year I completed my first cycle of 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar, which Daniel Estrem did a wonderful job recording in volume 1 and volume 2.  In the midst of cranky comments from supporters of a certain dude that proclaimed "all you do at this blog is criticize Pastor Mark" that was just some fraction of what I was doing.  I was writing about Batman cartoons, Pixar movies, composing music for classical guitar, hunting for a full-time day job and while a lot of the posts from 2012 were most certainly about Mars Hill stuff I might take breaks and write thousands of words about The Powerpuff Girls or the anime known in the United States as Eureka Seven amidst those years of chronicling Mars Hill.   Don't bother with E7:AO.  Waste of time. 

Naturally I'm not writing nearly as much now as I was back in 2012.  Having a normal nominally 9 to 5 day job can cut back writing time.

It's just not as interesting to blog at the same pace when I can work on another set of 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar or can work on a new set of solo guitar sonatas in G major, in A major and in D minor.  I recently finished a little guitar sonata in E major (though really octatonic) a few months ago. Last month I finally completed a nearly 11 minute long guitar sonata in E flat major.  It was something I started composing the day Roland Dyens' death was announced and it swiftly transformed from an homage to Dyens to also being an homage to Stevie Wonder. 

So I know longtime readers probably already know all that but sometimes I do step back, so to speak, and realize that I wrote an awful lot of material at this blog and preserved a lot of material that, at the time of blogging, was being purged assiduously by some people in charge of a brand. 

And now the analytics suggest there's a fraction of the traffic now. Peak traffic was September 2014 with 113,997 pageviews and October 2014 with 110,757 views.  A mere three years after 2014's peak September 2017 there were 15,976 pageviews.  Last month, 9,877 pageviews, less than a tenth of the peak traffic.  That's fine.  There were even times in 2012 where traffic dropped precipitously because of chamber music week and chamber music week 2 series. 

I wrote a lot that year.  I'm kind of grateful I'm not writing so much now simply by dint of having some kind of day job.  I love writing, obviously, and I hope to keep writing as long as I'm able.  I've got a number of projects incubating the complexity of which preclude just finishing them quickly.  It took a lot of reading, background research and dredging up primary source materials to write the 12,000 word prelude and review of Jessica Johnson's book Biblical Porn this year.  Though I'm not formally an academic I feel obliged to try to be as scholarly as I can be when I commit to tackling something.  So many people seemed to drop the ball on primary source verification for stuff like Mars Hill or ... to pick another topic, it seems there's been so much interest in performance details about classical guitar literature over against what does this music do that I am sometimes frustrated that discussion of guitar literature devolves into the necessary minutiae of the physical process of playing.  That stuff is great for its place but the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Fantasia is a beautiful piece which ... reminds me ... played the first movement in 2011 and while I didn't do what I'd regard as a professional-level performance I sure had a lot of fun.  And I put up a couple of performances of my studies in harmonics in 2012.  Here, here, here and here. And my prelude in C minor and its associated fugue (which, I admit, I totally could do better on if I had practiced more but triple counterpoint in C minor for solo guitar is hardly easy). That was all going on in 2012, too.

So 2012 was a year of prolific activity in writing and also in music ... and since I'm thinking about this, that was the year I composed a sonata for banjo and guitar.

But even if I can look back on all of that and realize I was writing a lot of music and a lot of words about cartoons and music and movies alongside the more notorious range of topics, for people who were committed to the old brand ... "all" I was doing was saying bad stuff about ... that brand, which isn't even really true as such.  I was pushing for reform and if reform couldn't happen I admit I prayed the whole empire would come crashing down.  Well ...

so, anyway, sometimes I feel like I write a fraction of what I used to write a few years ago and I realize it's not exactly a bad thing to write a fraction as much.  I don't necessarily mind the vastly reduced readership.  When I started this blog the plan was to blog about Koshkin's music and here, more than a decade after I started the blog with an intent to do that, I'm finally able to get around to doing that!  In a few more days, I hope, I can get back into that again.  Koshkin's prelude and fugue in E major beckons. 

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