Thinking about my many years here at Blogcritics, I appreciate the profound impact this experience has had on me as a writer and as a person. It gave me a venue for my work and a global audience as well. As an editor, I learned of many new perspectives and read and edited work from writers from all over the world. The word “appreciation” comes to mind but only begins to describe how much this place has meant to me.
I recall a few emails between Eric Olsen (co-founder with Phillip Winn) and me back in 2005. Once I went through the application process, Eric welcomed me aboard. The first article I wrote was about the death of the beloved James Doohan, who played Scotty on the original Star Trek series.
This was a monumental step for me as a writer because before this moment I had written mostly fiction and an occasional poem. Unsure of myself as a nonfiction writer, this opened the door for me and I never looked back. I started writing movie reviews, opinion pieces, television series reviews, and even a piece about my turkey meatloaf recipe. I found my nonfiction voice and discovered it could carry a tune.
All these years – and hundreds of articles – later I am forever grateful for the opportunity Eric gave me to join “a sinister cabal of superior writers.” He also eventually brought me on as an editor, and that allowed me to grow as a writer as well. There is nothing like reading and editing other people’s work to learn so much more about being a writer. It also provided a chance to “meet” so many writers as I worked with them while editing their articles. These virtual connections have been rewarding ones, and I have BC to thank for them.
At first, I functioned as co-sports editor with Charlie Doherty, and along the way I edited some very fine articles about teams, players, and big games. I also had fun writing articles about sports – many about my beloved Mets and Jets – and I especially liked writing stories that explored sports’ controversies like baseball’s steroid debacle and football’s problem with concussions (chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE).
When Eric passed the reins of BC on to Jon Sobel and Barbara Barnett, BC’s heart never skipped a beat. In their capable hands some sections morphed into new ones, but the basic cool vibe remained the same. I then became a Culture and Society editor; therefore, an even wider variety of articles came my way, many about theatre, actors, and the arts. I felt like I had found my niche.
When Jon and Barbara decided to start a BC Flash Fiction section, I became very excited but I was also a bit daunted – the challenge of writing a short story 1000 words or less seemed difficult for me. Word counts have always stressed me out – I can see myself as a kid counting the words of an essay with my pencil. How was I going to be able to compress my fiction into something 1000 words or less?
It took me some time of trial and error, but once I got a handle on shortening my work for this format, I got into it because I had met the challenge. Eventually I had written enough flash fiction stories to put them together in my book Flashes in the Pan. This is another reason why I think of BC with so much gratitude and affection – it has inspired me to change, to adapt, and to explore new pathways as a writer.
There also came a time when I realized that something happened to me – I couldn’t visit a place or see a movie without wanting to write about it for BC. This changed how I went about my vacation or sat watching a film. In the end I think it gave me a greater appreciation for travel and moviemaking because I was thinking about what I was doing in a completely different way.
So, after almost 14 years and probably a thousand or more articles written and edited, I am profoundly grateful for BC and the people connected to it. Thank you to Eric and Phillip, Jon and Barbara, Christopher Rose, Josh Lasser, Lisa McKay, Charlie Doherty, Eric Berlin, the late great Gordon Hauptfleish, and the many other writers and editors I have worked with here at BC.
It has been a rewarding and unforgettable experience, and it provided me with incentive to work harder and open myself to new ways of thinking and writing, and that is truly invaluable.
Thanks for everything, BC. It has been a blast!
Klaatu barada nikto!