Things have been pretty quiet here for a few weeks now. There’s a number of reasons for that, but the biggest one is that soon, I’ll be headed south. Way, way, south, all the way down to Porto Alegre, Brazil. I’d never heard of it either. Departure date is mid-July.
My wife is excited to be starting a new job at a school there this summer (in N. Hemisphere terms), I’m excited to keep on freelancing and we’re both excited to expand our horizons for a while. It’s a decision that was made back in December, and I’d initially thought I’d keep up the blog until the sweet end. Over the past while, though, I’ve discovered I don’t have the same lust for it anymore. I guess it’s part of the leaving process – the start of letting go. All that to say, this was the sort of post I thought was coming in July but seems due now.
Between now and when I leave, I’ll be finishing up a couple of other writing and radio projects, I’ll be making sure I don’t totally suck at Portuguese when I step off the plane and I’ll be finishing the process of letting go by trying to make the last dozen or so weeks in Harrisonburg really count.
Thanks to all you folks out there who have helped, in all sorts of big and small ways, make Old South High one of the most rewarding things I’ve been involved with over the past three years: writing, picture-taking, webmastering for a pittance, reading, responding, emailing with ideas, submitting enough rational online comments to keep me from losing all faith in humanity, advertising, graffitiing the Blacks Run tunnels, usually taking my calls and answering my emails, usually responding in timely & thorough manner to my FOIA requests, not following through on that lawsuit threat that showed up in my inbox, and, in sum, for making Harrisonburg the place I’m proud to call home and look forward to returning to someday. And big, specific thanks to Jeremiah – it’s been a pleasure.
Anyhow, the web hosting is paid for for the next couple years, so this isn’t goodbye forever. I hope to post a bit more here before I leave (e.g. what’s up with that Middle River Jail deal that was announced with great fanfare in February, and supposed to be signed in March, but isn’t yet?). Maybe I’ll post some from Brazil. Maybe other people will keep writing some. So put OSH in your aggregator or like it on Facebook or just stop back in every once in a while, and until next time, may the road rise to meet you and your fives always be high.
And from Jeremiah:
Since starting Old South High three years ago with Andrew, I’ve only published about 10 percent of the articles I attempted. Still, I landed a few, and I’m proud to have established a media platform for myself, Andrew, Paul Somers (our official photographer), and our guest writers, to highlight the various social, political and cultural happenings of this beloved Burg.
A lot has changed since we launched. In our original manifesto, we each claimed that Harrisonburg was under-served by existing media. I’m not sure this is still the case. I Love My Burg, Worst Week Ever, Whurk, Harrisonblog, etc have each played a role in presenting some of the people, events and developments here in the county seat.
A lot has changed with me, too.
When we conjured and activated this blog, I was still deeply immersed in what I consider the “everyday, inside” of downtown Harrisonburg. I was still running Wonder and The Blue Nile at the time. I still saw so many of Harrisonburg’s creative class on a daily basis. I still felt the city’s pulse each and every day. As our downtown lived, breathed and ached through its growing pains, I kept my heart in the ring.
But things change…mad things rearrange.
First, after spending countless hours, days and nights since my return in 2007 enthralled with our collective renaissance, I began to pull away. I kept wearing some of my hats (Rocktown Beer & Music Fest, volunteering with HDR, etc), but I started a new business that ended up pulling me away from the everyday, inside Harrisonburg. Instead of an active agent, I became more of a part-time participant. This, however, has provided a wonderful, humbling revelation. This town is chock full of engaged, creative people starting or just purposefully supporting new projects. I no longer have to be involved in or even aware of everything. There’s so much going on, there are so many people invested in this town, that it’s hard to keep up! Every spring I feel a surge of this creativity. While some ventures close the door and we might have to take one step back, we still end up taking two steps forward. Viewing this from my current vantage point, I can’t help but stand in awe of our collective will and effort to build a great town, a great community. This is a special place, and it takes a special village to pull this off.
Second, my voice has changed. I’ve been rocked by a couple of crushing personal experiences in the past two years. My boldness has rescinded, my willingness to expose myself has diminished. I haven’t felt like saying some of things which would have previously rolled easily onto the page. Where I may have once been willing to be kindly critical or provocative, I currently would prefer to just be kind. And the hope is, perhaps in return I will be treated the same. At this point, my heart is still heavy. My speech is still numb. And therefore, I haven’t been as willing to expose myself on this platform we built for bold pronouncement.
So, now it seems fitting to admit to folks that I’m going silent for a while, as Old South High retreats to an archive status for its hiatus. I am so stoked to see others in this town holding the reigns. I have no fear in the direction we are heading.