Monday, September 8, 2008

Despues Hump Day...

All good things come to an end.

Even if those good things are actually mediocre.

It’s been about two-and-a-half weeks since I was unceremoniously deprived of my weekly RedEye column. I wrote that column for 15 months; having churned out roughly 60 to 65 pieces on my experiences and perspectives that reached the more than 330,000 daily readers of the RedEye. So yes indeed, I was sad as the fuck-all about the whole thing.

Analyzing that sadness and subsequent irritation with the whole thing, I realized it came as a result of three things:

1. Ego – I’m very humble when it comes to most everything in my world except my writing. Their reasoning for clipping me, in so many words, was that I’d said all I really needed to say and that they were looking for “fresh” voices. This from a paper with a history of keeping columnists on for many moons as they find new and inventive ways to write about the same shit. Not too toot my own trombone, but I was the most diverse columnist they had, bar none. I traversed the whole gamut of dating stuff; from religion’s role in sex to online dating to one-night stands to marriage in the black community, and never once did I think I was being stale…but then I’m naturally biased.

2. My existing issues with the RedEye - Remember that column I wrote about anal sex? What about the one on circumcision? How about the one on sexual assault? I’m damn sure you haven’t, because the powers that be voted those fuckers off the island before they ever got a chance to run. The conservative Tribune Company, in my opinion, has found itself time and again entrenched in the paradox of wanting to reach out to new readers while contemporaneously being “edgy” and “bold.” But their idea of bold is definitely not in sync with mine, as they frequently elided words, phrases, and in some instances whole columns, in the name of maintaining some puritanical standards.

I mean, how the fuck can one be expected to write a substantive sex column and not be allowed to use the word “clitoris?” Insane.

3. Cash rules – Goodbye, $3,900 a year. It wasn’t show-stopping paper, but damned if it didn’t cover my car note every month and THEN some.

As do many who mourn, I’m going through my stages. Sadness graduated to anger, anger graduated to acceptance, and now acceptance has graduated to proactiveness.

Steps three and four of the grieving process are going pretty well for me on a day-to-day basis…that is, until some stranger working behind a gas station counter gives me a candy bar gratis because he likes the column; or my dental hygienist says she loves reading it as she polishes my pearly whites, or complete strangers on MySpace message me asking what happened to it.

That doesn’t help the process all. Part of my identity as a Chicagoan is gone, and the void is rather gaping.

It’s the last step of the grieving process, however, that bore this blog; it’s something I’ve been talking about getting going for the longest, and was admittedly hesitant about going through while as a columnist in the public eye. The only similarities Eclectic Relaxation will have with Hump Day is that I’ll be writing about vagina, its ever-turbulent-yet-intriguing relationship with penis, and the wide umbrella that encapsulates that all. I’ll vacillate between that and writing about the goings-on in hip-hop music and culture. Because, oddly enough, I still give a shit.

I never felt more alive than I did when I wrote The Manifesto columns during my University of Michigan days, and never did I feel the sting of not being able to write with my patented élan than when I wrote my RedEye column. So, for those in the know, consider this blog a return to those days…with a little less wordy exposition and the tons more sense that has come with age.

Now, let’s see if I can keep this jumpoff updated on a regular basis, eh?


Carla Ino said...

Alright D -- I followed your link and I plan to follow this blog, so you'd better keep it updated! The Manifesto was the stuff of legends at UMich, and sadly I began following the RedEye columns a little too late, but that were always great reads. I appreciate your writing and the things you have to say...that's the beauty of free speech, right? And now you can say whatever you want over here. Let it get hot enough and you'll get national exposure. Look at Perez Hilton...and he's not even talking about anything.

Much love!

Carla Ino said...

ahem...*THEY were always great reads. Michigan education DID work for me.

Toya said...

ugh, i'm on of the complete strangers. i'm like wtf is my column! Ef the Red eye. i only looked forward to reading it on Wednesdays anyways.

AaronBSam said...

I would have to agree. The personalized columns like yours were the #1 reason for me to pick up the RedEye each day. I could frankly not give a damn about two-page spreads over "Purchasing a Pillow" or "Tips for Buying Jeans" or "Hey, People Work a Lot!" It's two pages of drivel that could be spent on more interesting and personalized articles that ask hard-hitting questions for reader response rather than "Do you take your dog to restaurants?" because we just wasted two solid pages about restaurants where you can bring your dog.

Kudos on surviving as long as you did with a column based on such sensitive issues (that they'd allow to print) and I can't wait to go read your articles that would never have been printed.