Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanks For All The Fish

ohno Dear Charge Shot!!!,

There’s no easy way to say this, so: I’m leaving you.

Look, it’s not you. Nor is it me. It’s my contract. I’m taking a temporary position working for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Baghdad, and working for The Man means no blogging. I doubt I’d have time, anyway.

See, I knew you’d start crying. That’s why I brought all this whiskey.

From where I sit, Charge Shot!!!, you were the answer to more than a few questions. Graduation sent us spinning into the world with degrees in hand and only the vaguest idea of how to use them. As we struggled to get our bearings, the financial collapse foretold months before by Bear Sterns started gathering serious momentum. Right after the national media reported more than 50,000 jobs lost in November, 2008, Andrew G-chatted me with an offer: “Craig and I are talking about maybe starting a game blog?”

I signed on. Why not? I was doing more editing than writing in my day job, and if four years at Kenyon College taught me anything, it was how to write a competent sentence (most of the time). It would be something to do.

It was much more than that. It didn’t take the sardonic remove (“we’ll review games or something, I guess,” was Andrew’s pitch) to disappear and get replaced by hours of earnest, hard work. Andrew taught himself HTML while Craig and I cast about for interview subjects. We weren’t trying to go pro – we weren’t fooling anyone, least of all ourselves. But we wanted to make something we were proud of.

Turns out, writing 1,600 words a week about videogames while holding down full-time jobs is rough on your brain. Nine months in, we decided to give our noodles a break: we would embrace those who didn’t know an FPS from an RTS by writing about pop culture at large: movies, music, books and television.

The redesign’s biggest success wasn’t the new look, which was airy, fresh and extroverted; nor was it the sanity-saving relief of feeling free to not write about videogames. It was the cadre of talented writers we enlisted: Boivin, Jordan, Pankin, Steph, Joe and Chris. I was pushed to be smarter and sharper – if they were going to put this much into Charge Shot!!!, then I had to match their commitment. Or at least try. Given Chris’s ability to reduce any given musician to a single post, Boivin’s insatiable thirst for pain or Steph’s habit of collapsing graduate-level science into a digestible format, I’m not sure I ever stood a chance.

I’ve had a fucking blast writing for you, Charge Shot!!!, and I hope to resume doing so whenever the government lets me. Maybe by then you’ll have figured out a name that makes sense to someone who’s never played Mega Man.