Liz Tracy's take on The Heat Lightning's one year anniversary which ends up sounding like a thank you speech
Earlier, I thought, I’m finally ready to write this. I’m ready to write about The Heat Lightning’s one year anniversary and what it means to me. I was going to write it like a formal, five-paragraph essay, but it’s sort of turned into a thank you speech.
I started THL last May with Alesh of Critical Miami and Buildings and Food “fame” when there were no other blogs like this in town (Alesh is so famous, BTW). We sat in his apartment drinking fancy beer, searching for unused URLs. After he said weather, I said heat lightning, and this site was born.
We clearly modeled it after the Gawker/Awl format, both visually and by inviting multiple people to contribute. We wanted to include the talents of all of our friends, so we made sure to post cartoons, videos, and all sorts of writing, even when it was saucy and sometimes when it was not popular. We wanted THL to offer our loved ones who didn’t have the freedom or volume of content to full-time blog or had something to say that couldn’t be posted elsewhere, or that just liked us, a forum to post. We wanted it to be funny and smart, and you know what? Sometimes, we’re fucking funny and sometimes we’re pretty smart. Nobody’s good all the time.
We are an exercise in non-commital blogging. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to being a pop culture, arts, news, sports or even water sports site because it’s the internet, it’s a website not a dissertation, and we didn’t have to. I did know that I was especially done with Miami-only blogging. I wanted to bring Miami to the rest of the world by including the rest of the world in Miami’s blog world. After writing Miami, bro for about three years, I was done, bro and besides, I have friends all over the country with things to say that I appreciate that I think other people here do, too.
Alesh bowed out, and John stepped in. I love them both, and this is both their site as much as mine, whether they like it or not. We’ve had a ton of wonderfully interesting, funny, and smart creators come, go, stay, leave, return, get pissed, fall in love, cry a little… you get the point. I appreciate you all more than you can ever imagine (awwww…). I also really want to say thanks to all of you guys and gals who read and comment on the site. You are the coolest people around. Really. You are the awesomest. Even commenters that are mean or grammar Nazi-ish, thanks for caring enough to express yourself on here.
Anyway, here we are, a year later, and people are still sending good shit to post on this baby! How fucking radical is that? I know that within the South Florida blogosphere, we were met with some resistance, but we just kept truckin’. People have trouble with change, I just didn’t think they’d see something that wasn’t solely a Miami thing as such a huge perversion or offense. It’s not easy being a woman with a strong voice writing in a world ruled by bullies with dicks. It’s nice to have friends who I admire to write alongside me. To the haters, I say, fuck you a little for stressing me out, and also, thank you for reading (I hate emoticons, but I would totally insert a winky eye here… Wait, isn’t that a term for a penis? Ahhh! So, this is why people hate us!).
What I wanted was to host a diverse site with different voices. I wanted to unite us! I have tried to minimally edit people’s words, to let them have their time to communicate with a (sometimes) larger audience than they’d get on Facebook or on just one blog alone, and in their own words.
Anyway. I took a risk here starting this site. I really was scared at first that it’d fail, and then things really didn’t go as planned, and now, I just am glad we did it and are still doing it. Thank you very much.