People sometimes ask if it feels weird to put my writing up where everyone and anyone can read it. They ask how I can write about everything from my feelings to my penis to my feelings about my penis without getting embarrassed.
My sister and I were recently talking about how people in my hometown sometimes stop by here and read my writing, then stop by there and tell her about how they read my writing. “That doesn’t freak you out, to know that these people are reading about you?”
And you know what? It doesn’t.
I’m a mental exhibitionist, man—I like to show people what I’ve written. That’s how you get advice, feedback, input. That’s how you get better. And even if you’re just writing about how you woke up with gum in your pubic hair, or how you got jalapeno juice on your dick, you’re still getting better.
Four years ago, Trey decided to make a website. He asked me if I wanted to be involved. If I remember correctly, there was a large bottle of rum in the mix. I whole-heartedly agreed, and we began thinking up and jotting down all kinds of ideas. The next morning, I saw a piece of notebook paper torn out of a spiral notebook, the sides jagged and ugly, and I figured that the idea was probably going to go the way of most of our ideas. The thing about getting real drunk and thinking up cool stuff to do is that a lot of the times, sobriety and life show you that accomplishing these goals isn’t nearly as feasible as it seems with a blood-alcohol level of 98.
I picked up the sheet of paper and saw a few headings: Poet’s Corner; Short Stories; Rants; Drunken Babbling. The things that eventually became this website.
When we originally started out, we had hoped to form an online community of like-minded people (or at least people as screwed up as we were). For writing, for ranting, for bitching and moaning, for living and loving. We wanted to give others a place to come to write whatever they wanted.
Around this same time, websites like Blogger exploded, giving this same thing, but on a commercial level. Instead of hordes of readers, the beginning Strangelanders generally wrote for each other. We wrote for our friends and family members (most of whom were too busy to stop by more than once every couple of months). But mostly, we wrote for ourselves.
Over the years, we’ve picked up a relatively large group of freaks, weirdoes, and lunatics. We’ve made friends over the internet with people we will more than likely never meet. I think we’ve managed to form somewhat of a community. Maybe not like we originally imagined, but a community, nonetheless.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we had started out a few years sooner, if we could have gotten big before everyone and their grandma had a place to log on and gush their idiocy. Then I’ll do something stupid like read the comments under a YouTube video. Here’s what I think: the world is filled with morons. They flock to mainstream websites and spout their ignorant bullshit all over the place, and make the world a worse place.
Here’s what else I think: you have to be a special sort of awesome to visit The Strangelands. Sure, anyone can stroll by, look at us, and say something like, “You use too many words—where are the animated cartoons about people throwing up and farting?” But to read this stuff and relate; to feel what we feel, to laugh with us, cry with us, and howl at the moon with us. To be a part of us…that’s special.
I thank you for that. I thank you for listening to me rant, rave, and ramble. I thank you for watching me show off. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of something bigger. And I thank you for being part of that with me.
Thank you, Strangelanders.
Happy Birthday, Strangelands.