This is probably the only time that I’ll be writing in a very direct fashion here, because when I started Agendacide 13 years ago, it served an entirely different purpose for me.
Obviously a lot has changed over many years. I’ve changed repeatedly and in many a different direction. I’ve made many a mistake, and maybe foolishly, I documented a lot of these things. In fact, when I re-read some of these entries in an effort to understand recurring themes and patterns in my life from time-to-time, I can’t imagine why I would want the world to know about these things — but I didn’t care who was watching then, and I wanted to be able to relate to others in the best way I knew how.
Over time, external factors (like my career and the technologies that index web content) changed the way in which I was able to communicate. I’m not blaming the evolution of these things, and I realize that innovation is the name of the game, but I largely refused to evolve with it. I became extremely self-conscious and obsessed with the permanence of anything I’d ever written. Additionally, knowing all too much about technology and the ways in which it flows through a digital ecosystem started to, in short, freak me out. Without getting into too much of the details over all these years, I did grow professionally through my love of the web — but my life, career, and the knowledge of how things actually worked took away its magic.
I got to the point where I understood the medium so well and for so long, that I hadn’t been able to enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I’ve dealt with stalkers, gone through some of my own online character assassinations, had it interfere in my friendships, jumped into nerdfight commentary — unable to draw the line between my personal and professional life. And amazingly, after this, it will never matter what I do in action, in person, (and to tell you the truth, my friends rarely see me,) but people will and can take words quite literally and make them representative of the type of person you are.
Way before all of this crazy web shit happened, I was actually a writer (first and foremost) and (secondarily) a musician. So it’s safe to say that prior to the advent of the internet, and bringing it into the forefront of my life, I was an amazingly different person. At some point, I threw those things away and I forgot who I actually was. I could hypothesize as to why I decided to do that, but with regret, I have to say that it was largely due to practicality. The web proved to be far more profitable and a decent career direction for me, and I immersed myself in it to the point at which it affected my life in not only intellectually uplifting ways, but also came with its share of emotionally unfortunate ones, as I began to slip away from myself.
I liken this instance to back when I was a music journalist, much earlier on in my career. I would go and review bands and artists, and went to many a live performance and reviewed many an album. I was also a college radio DJ, and ended up running my college radio station for a while when I wasn’t working record retail on the side. After a while my love of music — both listening and playing it — and the ever-so-perfect lyric, would all turn to mush. Back then, I used to listen to the things around me much more deeply, and would feel closer to my own thought process than I’d ever been through a universal connection with a writer/songwriter. But that devolved into spectacle and flash and bang, and beyond that I was unable to discern the fun and magic from the truly authentic and from the ridiculously pretentious and trite.
After that whole entire stint, I had to not listen to new music and not even play or write anything — to my own detriment… for years. I guess it’s just that sometimes you just get burnt out and hit a wall, until you approach things from an entirely different perspective. This is what happened with Agendacide. As much as I wanted to blog, I couldn’t. I was growing and changing and didn’t want to feel as if I was performing for anyone or pandering to an audience. I don’t even perform songs I wrote more than a decade ago because they are so out-of-touch with who I am in the present, so it feels like I’m just going through the motions with little sincerity. And, by the same token, when I look back at this blog’s long list of archives, while certainly entertaining, it’s not very indicative of who I am anymore.
To add to this kind of creative frustration, my concept of friendship warped a bit when my personal and professional circles started overlapping on the internet — and it called into question those that I considered close to me, and those I considered to understand who I was and what I was about on a very surface level. I felt unsafe and unable to understand who I’d truly be able to confide in. For all the years that I wanted to reach out and show people who I was, I felt the desperate need to hide everything for fear that I’d be judged or ridiculed for my choices or ideas, because it was safe. Admittedly very cowardly, but safe.
Many years back, a venture capitalist told me that I was an artist at my core and I didn’t forget that. In fact, I think it takes a certain person to understand the art and commerce of science, and it seems ironic that I’m currently in graduate school for business. And while I am floored by learning new things and how they are applicable to the things that I do professionally, I feel as if I’ve emotionally neglected myself.
“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever youâ€™ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns. At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values. That is why itâ€™s hard doing interviews and being visible: As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, ‘Bye. I have to go. Iâ€™m going crazy and Iâ€™m getting out of here.’ And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.” â€” Steve Jobs (1985)
This brings me to talking about the current state of this site. (I know! How meta.) After all, what is it to me? The traffic going to it is flat, which is fine. I feel no need for anyone to be watching or for anyone to be updated on what is going on in my head. But, after I’d taken some time from it, over years, it has become the place in which I am able to jot down ideas, or work on pieces or songs without the constant scrutiny that came with former lives of mine. I don’t have to be any more than I am, or anything more than I feel. I am simply myself, laid bare — it’s a safe place in which I’m able to do nothing but work out issues and thoughts I may have not addressed, and I also get to share them.
You’re probably wondering what brought this on. At the top of the year, I also made a promise to myself that I’d strive to be a bit more emotionally accurate and honest, and listen more to the world around me a bit more deeply. Through a set of bizarre circumstances that I still have yet to understand, I be-friended someone who reminded me of who I was at my core, and what I had kept buried within myself for the longest time. They never explicitly said, “This is who you are at your core.” This person was a stranger to me then. But the difference is that I was listening deeply, which is something that this person seems to be incredibly good at.
Just so that I don’t over-intellectualize all of it (because to be quite honest it’s really quite an amazing story), in summary, meeting this person changed my life and taught me a great deal about acceptance.
I know, right? That shit is deep.
If you’ve been reading Agendacide, I wanted to address a couple of things:
- The voice behind the writing
- The style of the writing
- The purpose of it
- The methodology
- The actual content
I swear this is the last time you’ll hear of it.
If you notice, it’s much different from the established previous writing style and that’s for very good reason. Obviously, I’m different now, with different things going on in my life, and that voice within me surfaces in other ways. One of the things that I realized out of this exercise over the last couple of months is that, process-wise, I try to write beyond myself. It’s my way of trying to reach out to others and say that I feel the same. Sure — I guess it comes off cloaked and rather vague, but that’s for two reasons: 1) Sometimes I can be quite embarrassed when people take me literally, and 2) I write because I don’t believe that I’m the only person that feels this way.
I write because it’s freeing, and a release, with an understanding that there are other people out there in the world that feel the same way I do. I write because there’s beauty in many moments, however vague, that echo the same within another person. I write because it’s all I know how to do when life disappoints or fails to provide an answer to what I’ve been asking about for many years. I write because when I do, I don’t feel so alone.
The content here isn’t about me — or at least, it isn’t, wholly anymore — not in the way that I see it, anyway. There is only so much navel-gazing one can do on a blog before they feel a sense of responsibility to someone else, or feel the need to perform or put on airs knowing that someone will see. But I don’t think that’s really it for me anymore. As far as the technicalities are concerned, it might feel like I’m writing about someone specific, but to tell you the truth, I’m actually not.
What you see and what you will read are a collection of instances related to multiple people that all harken the same emotion. Sometimes this happens within one piece, and other times I mash-up instances. And, sometimes it’s not really about me, but me writing from another person’s shoes. It could have happened to me last week, or a year or two or ten years ago. I write about people — living or dead, those that I’ve loved, or those I don’t know. Some are actual characters in my life, and others I make up. I could take one memory and mix and parlay it into another, but regardless of the avenue that I take to get there, the emotion is the same.
I use a load of devices to bring the lesson out as I tend to recognize patterns within my memory really well. I find that when I write something, it’s not necessarily applicable to one person, but resonates across multiple situations. I mainly write now so that these instances can move between other moments, and they may or may not be applicable to your own life, or my own in a very direct way. Ultimately, it’s with the knowledge that we all go and grow through similar moments such as these. The pieces, in some way, detail others in and out of my life that made me feel a certain way at a certain time — and, it’s all based around the same emotion.
So just so that you know, I’m not really writing about you. If you feel as if I actually am writing about your life, well! All the better. I’ve done my job. I’d like to hear about it, too. (I was never really much of a journalist, anyway. Only you can write the truth of your life.) I’m writing because it’s the only thing I know how to do when sometimes, my self-imposed silence between becomes too much to bear, and I’m trying to uncover the truth beyond myself. And you can help.
Something helpful to keep in mind here: True words are not always pretty, and pretty words are not always true. Please do the appropriate algebraic logical expression for that, because I’m fine with that statement alone. There are just some things that you cannot explain with logic. And that’s what I’m looking to do here.
Thank you — deeply, for reading, for however long you’ve been reading Agendacide. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.