Young despite the years

(photo of Terry & Grady, the hipster cats, ten years ago. They’re both sitting next to me in the office as I type this)

Normally around this time of year I’d be posting a sort of WELCOME to the new students, staff, and faculty that are arriving in our fair city. With every year that passes, fewer and fewer of them know about our musical legacy, our world famous rock bands, our local traditions. I distinctly remember a lecturer friend of mine asking her class to name any Athens band. Any at all. The few that did answer mentioned the recent local hit AFTM. I felt myself age a thousand years and crumble into dust. This is not an unexpected thing. Today’s freshmen were born after R.E.M. released Reveal for heaven’s sake. Why would they know?

But these are not normal times. I’ve found myself marking the months by events that I would’ve been attending, goals I would’ve been meeting, people’s birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings that I’ve had to witness from afar. And the shows. MY GOD THE SHOWS. When Bowie died I swore that I would always go to the show. I’ve been a bit more lax about that than I should’ve been. GO TO THE SHOW (obviously when it is safe again to do so).

I think the thing that really set me off this week was a simple question on AskReddit.

“What would you have been doing the past four months if the pandemic didn’t exist?”

I sat with that question for a good amount of time, running lists in my head of general time-stamped things that would’ve happened. We’re talking stuff like album release parties, planning my goddamn wedding, hugging my parents… And naturally it got to be a bit too much emotionally and I may have had to take a long sobbing shower to clear my head. But then I turned and thought more about what work I could’ve done in the past four months. Especially here at AMJ. Now, I’m fortunate that my day job allows me to work from home full time during this whole mess. I’m among my records and random Athens related junk all day. I don’t get a lot of time to work on my writing, my research, my hobby-turned nighttime job thingy. But what if I did have that time?

I sketched out a few plans over the weekend of what I could do with four months. Website overhaul including retagging and categorizing. New logo and layout. Building playlists on youtube and spotify and bandcamp. A zine. A WIKI (o.O). Podcast that somehow didn’t tread all the same roads that have already been worn out before. And, of course, my two manuscripts that I’m always poking at, hoping they’ll do something on their own with minimal effort from me. That last one obviously won’t work as anyone who has ever written a book will tell you.

At this point, I still don’t have the time or the money or the mental capacity to do EVERYTHING on that list. But I’m going a bit stir crazy over here at AMJHQ and with all signs pointing towards the entire year being untossable trash, I need to feel like I’ve done SOMETHING with this time. I’m impressed by those folk who’ve managed to stay creative and upbeat through all of this. I’m not that type but I think I’ve got a realistic plan of action. We’ll see.

Anyway… Please take care of yourselves, gang. Wear a mask. Keep your distance.

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