You may or may not have already heard my news. I’ve written about it twice, and it’s going to start getting really redundant here. And wait, yes, it is about to get really redundant right here. That’s right. I’m saying goodbye again. Hold your horses, this one’s directed at THL. With all of these posts, it kind of seems like I’m dying not just moving 20 minutes north.
As the new music editor at the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, I will be saying good-bye to Miami, moving to Broward, and to The Heat Lightning – the blog which I birthed with Alesh a year and a half ago.
I’m not a public emoter past anger, furious anger, and the occasional hurt feeling tear. Every time I try to be a human, I feel like Data when he was implanted with the emotion chip. That’s why writing this farewell has taken me forever, or a week to be accurate.
When I moved to Miami as a kid, I hated it. I really hated it and everyone in it. It was only in ninth grade when I met my best friend Liza a recent arrival from New York that I fell in love with this shitty city. Liza illuminated all the beauty of this foreign place with her always seemingly rational perspective. The banyans, the sun, the sand. How could I not embrace it and make it my home?
I’d actually been considering a move before this opportunity came along, one that I think I would be nuts to pass over. I’m excited to find out about these mysterious counties only about 15 miles north. To be in charge of a blog full time, and to make enough to pay rent… Magnificent.
Now to the relevant part. I’m leaving THL. This means I won’t contribute anymore as a writer. You will likely find me commenting wildly.
When Alesh and I started this site, we thought we’d offer ourselves and our writer and artist friends a platform for expression. We’d band together to talk about things we saw, things we loved, things we hated. I think as the site evolved, we brought together all of these different elements of creative and critical thinking. We’ve had fun making our friends do crazy things, we’ve posted a range of poetry, even had Hialeah Haikus contribute, Abel’s 4,000 albums lists is superb, Jimmy talked politics, Aaron wrote about books, we talked about what was going on in other cities, posted so many thoughtful cartoons, wrote extensively about John Waters, Chuck Klosterman, and Miami music.
My hope for the site has always been that we remain irreverent and smart. That we use the internet as a platform for creative writing and creative communication. Cartoons, written interviews, art dares, these were ways to use the internet to gather and disseminate information in newish ways. It was a challenge to be different. Luckily, I’ve had the blessing of working with so many gifted and creative people and interviewees who let us challenge them. I am gonna miss all of you guys, and the writers, I’ll miss you the most of all. I can’t believe you did all this for free. You’re the best ever. I love you.
Our intention was never to be a traditional outlet providing information on local events and happenings. We wanted to take whatever was happening or not happening and filter it through our unique voices. We are the prisms and what we experience was light. THL was the rainbow on the wall. We wanted to illuminate with our unique voices. Traditional reporting isn’t enough anymore. The internet offers us so many ways to present stories. Some are better told with handwriting, sketches, in videos, or in pictures.
Once I began freelancing full time, it became difficult to add as much content to THL as I wanted to. Writing for a living often involved pitching the stories I was most excited about for cash. I still found ways to keep THL going. John Spain was a knight in neurotically shinny armor, as were other colleagues who contacted me and wrote for the site. I definitely will miss having this outlet, but I’m going to focus all of my energy in one direction now. The Heat Lightning has been a place where I could better offer people a peek into what I think is worthy and valuable. John will carry on the torch and let you know what he thinks is valuable and worthy. I trust him entirely. Well, almost entirely. I’m lucky to have him as a friend. Really.
We’ve had our share of criticism. A pretty decent amount of it. When I first started writing on the web, I thought everyone had to like what I wrote or at least tolerate it. After so many years, I realize that if you don’t have people hating what you’ve done on here, you’ve failed. People who’ve said they “don’t get it” don’t get THL, confuse me more than those who say we’ve failed at some goal they had for us. It’s a fucking blog, people! It’s a blog which has cost us more money than made us (we’ve only ever made $150, I think. I still owe John money). It’s a labor of pure love. We’re not all hustling to produce anything to meet a goal. That would require payment in money. We’re doing what we like because we fucking can.
I think of THL as one more step I’ve taken with friends in the right direction. I didn’t want to kill my baby here, and John Spain has kindly accepted the responsibility of being the editor of THL. Please keep reading us here and follow me at The County Grind. Sure you may not be into what’s playing live in Pembroke Pines, but that’s not all I’ll be editing and posting. At least follow us on Facebook. It’ll be me, but more of me! You’ll love it, or hate it, or you don’t give a shit. But if you didn’t give a shit, you wouldn’t have read this much of this very long goodbye.
It really is so hard to say goodbye. I fucking love this website. I would read it even if it weren’t something I helped build. I’m going to keep reading and commenting and loving the shit out of it. Anyway, before I weep all over my keyboard, I’m gonna listen to some Boys II Men.
Love you, THL!
Love always, Liz