I have been blogging here at Wizbang for almost five years.
I have written almost 4,000 articles.
I have collected almost 80,000 comments on those articles. (Excluding spam, contest entries, and my own comments.)
And it appears I will not reach any of those landmarks.
Last week, I was contacted by Sam Munson, the online editor of Commentary Magazine’s blog, Contentions, about becoming a contributor. I was flattered as hell, and Sam and I had a good talk about what it would entail. Naturally, there were some strings attached:
1) I would only write about subjects that the readership of the magazine would find interesting.
2) I would have to give up my anonymity.
3) I would have to commit to them exclusively.
4) I would have to submit my articles to an editor for review before publishing.
I thought about it a while, consulted with numerous friends, and in the end made the very hard decision to accept Sam’s offer — only after I spoke with Kevin and told him about the offer, and how I was inclined to accept it.
Leaving Wizbang is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. While I’ve only been a writer for less than five years, it was over five years ago that I first started posting comments here and winning the caption contest on a regular basis. Indeed, I often boast that my blogging career is built on a base of fart jokes.
And now I’m a regular contributor to the online version of Commentary.
I have nothing but praise for my colleagues here at Wizbang. Kevin nominally put me in charge of them, but that almost never meant anything. (Hell, half the time Kevin changed my title, he didn’t bother to tell me about it or what it meant — I’d just notice that at some point the masthead had changed.) They are as fine a group of writers, thinkers, and people as I have ever been privileged to work with, and I shall miss them all dearly.
Even more importantly, I will miss you, the readers. I have always measured the success of my work in the reactions of others, and it has been your comments — both in quality and quantity — that has affirmed when I have said something right. (Or let me know when I’ve done something wrong, as is far too often the case.) And while I have always written to please myself, I have always held two criteria before I publish: 1) is this something I find interesting? and 2) can I make it interesting to the readers? I haven’t always succeeded, but it’s been your constant responses that have helped me improve that over the years.
I have made some wonderful friends through the years here at Wizbang. I know I run the risk of slighting some, but here are just a few of the bloggers I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing and dealing with:
And retired bloggers LT SMASH and Jeff Harrell.
Also, I don’t intend to make a clean break of things. I am leaving as an author, but intend to pop by every now and then and leave comments as the spirit moves me. Hell, maybe I’ll see if I can reclaim my earlier title as king of the captions. Probably not, as I’m both rusty as hell and the competition’s a hell of a lot fiercer now, but it could be fun to try.
When I first started blogging, I was amazed at how naturally it came to me. It seemed that I had been waiting all my life for technology to catch up with me, to create the perfect venue for me to express my talents and conceal my limitations. I have a face for radio, a voice for print, and an attention span of a gnat. Only now can I express my thoughts in a written medium that allows for almost instantaneous feedback..
Moving on to Contentions is a hell of a big step, and it’s a step up. But I wouldn’t have gotten there without all you folks.
Mostly, especially, above all else, Kevin Aylward. Four years and nine months ago, he took a chance and entrusted his site to eight people while he took paternity leave — one of whom was me. At the time, I wondered if I’d be able to come up with one or two articles a week. I shoulda known that once I got rolling, I’d never shut up. Thanks again, Kevin — you gave me a break (well, truth to tell, several), and I will forever be grateful and remember who gave me my shot.
(And in case things don’t work out, I’ll be back with hat in hand.)
Thanks again, folks. It’s been an absolutely incredible experience — and I know it’s only beginning.
J. G. Thayer