days of naze
|i hear a call
A little audio gift (85 kb .wav)
for my Faithful readers on
the first anniversary (7/14/99) of
the site. Hand cranked to help
you on the long march.
An obnoxiously large
(101k .wav) audio greeting
from the Author.
|July 14, 1999
What I learned on the Web
Right now my life switch is cranked to up to 10. It's blaringly loud, everything all the time, non-stop and quite frankly I wish I could dial it down a notch or two. My eardrums are ringing and my nerves are wearing thin.
But right now I want to set that aside and talk with you about this place.
I take solace here. I can't hold it in my hands, but I treasure it above all my possessions. And the little miracle that makes this campfire special is that you wander here out of the dark, taking some comfort from the heat and light. Not in great droves, but one at a time, which gives me a chance to meet a lot of you, recognize your voices. It gives me a place to invite those from whose campfires I have warmed myself.
One year ago today I launched days of naze. And in that time it has changed me in ways subtle and profound.
Regular Readers will not be surprised to learn that that first step was the culmination of more than a year of sketched notes, hard html lessons (not well learned) on a borrowed laptop, my actual first computer purchase, and late nights re-chewing the mess into something I didn't hate. In the Summer of '98, the upstairs extension hadn't been installed and I had to run a phone cord out the window, down the side of the house, and into the kitchen window to reach the phone jack.
I set a goal (maybe more of a hope) in those months before launch. Each month I wanted at least one e-mail from a reader. A message that said, hey, that story meant something to me. A connection. I know you -- I see some of me in you.
And that hope was fulfilled.
I can't help but smile when I think back on some of the e-mail you've sent me. Susan went out and experienced Barber's Adagio for Strings for her very first time after reading about my encounter with it. Man, I can't explain to you how much that means to me. Yesterday, a fellow violist with a love for Shostakovich wandered in.
Fellow Spawn are somehow drawn here. Wendy, a fabulous e-mail correspondent, a spitting image of violinist Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, and a real Ozzie Gull (that's Aussie girl for you Yanks), manages to keep me grounded with regular zingers lofted across the Pacific. Robert used Altavista to find a college friend with whom he had shared a flat in London in the late 80's;he found Stephen, my lifelong friend, on the Spawn page. Baby, the Net is a beautiful thing.
Every once in a while I'll go through the referrer logs (it doesn't take long ;-) and get a cheap thrill by flushing out lurkers, like Thomas and Lisa.
It's been a gas. And along the way I managed to learn a thing or three by accident. The first of which being that this business is really more of an act of faith than I like to admit.
And what is faith without temptation?
Any pursuit that consumes as much mindshare as days has mine, is bound to present temptations to embrace the Dark Side of the Web.
I suspect that guilt is a frequent companion of Web writers. But guilt, Dear Reader, is a quick path to the Dark Side. Guilt is founded on a sense of Obligation to the audience. Obligation lives in the neighborhood of Resentment. And that's a neighborhood I don't care to live in, nor do I wish to move you all there. I can only spin this stuff as long as I really feel the need to do it. And right now I'm feeling like I've got at least another year in me. I figure you'll come back as long as you feel like there's a reason too. I don't struggle too much with guilt as you can see. Most of the time I can kick it's ass.
The economy of personal narrative can also take some time to wrap your mind around. Okay, I weave these little stories and give them away to people, some of whom I will never see or hear from. And if I stop weaving everyone walks away. Man! You guys suck!
Obviously the economic model ain't the right one. What we've got here is basically a conversation, a little call and response. In a conversation the expectation is that the other will speak. If not, we turn away towards another conversation. And that sounds pretty reasonable to me. The twist is that you're never quite sure of how many folks are turning away. Comes with the territory. While I was not entirely vexed by this question, it took me a long time to process this.
Envy is a little harder to dismiss.
Id: Two words. Photo. Shop.
Id: Two more. Hard. Work.
Well, let's just say that the Id keeps us in line.
And while I'm on this little jag (you don't have a bus to catch do you?), I can't leave without saying a little something on the ultimate Web Existential Question: Can you truly know someone from their web site? I've always thought it odd to read protestations from Web authors: "you don't know me". If we can't reach one another with our words, folks, it's game over. A life sentence to a metaphysical hole. Maybe what they mean to say is "my site isn't an excuse for you to assume a way inappropriate intimacy with me".
I guess maybe I need a good stalker to set me straight...
Which brings me back to you, My Dear Reader (ba-dump-bump ;-).
It's getting late and I can't let Bastille Day (Pacific Time) pass without uploading. Never forget that you are an irreplaceable part of this place.
Thank you to Mysterious Grace for your kind words and comradery, to Norwegian Kristine living in Sweden who wrote to me in Norwegian and later kindly translated, to Kevin, Randal and BillC for being there in the early days, to Kymm for the Open Pages Web Ring (a beautiful and democratic thing), to the people in the UK at the Classical Music Web Ring, to my old friend Mick for staying in touch, to Walter for reminding me to be more thankful to my mother, to Natalie my orchestral soul mate down in Berkeley, to Joan for a beautiful e-mail at Christmas that meant a lot to me, to Adam for the haiku-rama (see you at fray3), to Rob, Halcyon, and Alexis who are huge inspirations to me, to Derek for casting that first strand of Web to mine causing me to jump around the house like a fool and to every one of you who saw something you liked, said something nice and maybe even linked. (I probably missed somebody -- we'll get you next episode. Promise.)
When I began to cobble this site together in earnest, nearly 18 months ago, I listened to one album over and over again. And one track on that album put words and music to the feelings I had that were compelling me to do this crazy, irrational thing.
It ends like this:
p.s. Cogito ergo click: new days notification.
|previously on days of naze
the play's the thing
what have you done for me lately? music box melody.
|May you never be more active
when you are doing nothing.
|in the feedbag:
film: Leaving Las Vegas (A-) horrific and yet somehow beautiful; Cafe Flesh (B) - quite good judging by the standards of the genre; Chisum (B) - Billy the Kid turns from the path of reform to avenge the death of John Chisum's (John Wayne) friend
favorite spontaneous phrase of the week: (returning videos a half hour past the deadline) "Is there any amnesty tonight or just cold justice?".
magazine: Vanity Fair - On Stanley Kubrick; Esquire - On Nicole Kidman.
book: An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. A major Rashomon trip through post-Cromwell England. (Still working on it.)
|aspiring to Avagadro's number|