It’s May if you hadn’t noticed, which puts us firmly in the middle of Spring (someone finally told the weather). It also puts me in the last third of my year here in Boston. Time has come for me to start turning my focus towards my next city, New York. It’s also my last city so, who am I kidding, my focus has always been on it.
There have been moments throughout the years where I’ve considered just skipping to the last chapter and moving to the Big Apple. The original reason for making it my last city was because I knew it was where I wanted to end up. If I had gone to New York in my 5th year, it’s unlikely I would have finished the project.
But I am finishing the project. And, frankly, I don’t know what that means. I move in September, likely I will find yet another job waiting tables and then… what? Don’t get me wrong, I have dreams and ambitions, but there’s no script for this shit. There’s nothing that says I don’t end up serving food to yuppies and tourists for the rest of my life.
I went to college, earned my degree. Granted, it was in Creative Writing so it doesn’t amount to anything, but I got it all the same. By the usual script, the next step was to find a job, work my way up, get a girl, get a ring, buy a house. That is the path most of my friends from Kansas have followed in some manner or another. It’s the norm.
I didn’t askew the normal path because I thought it was dumb or misguided. I went off-road because, as a persistently unhappy kid, I didn’t see things getting better if I didn’t try something different. I didn’t have some grand plan for my life, I just knew what I didn’t want to do. So I made a choice, and then another, and another, and nine years later, I’m here.
10 Cities / 10 Years has only ever been a travelogue in the broadest sense of the word. While I’ve posted impressions and photographs of my various cities, the majority of my writing for this site has been on a host of topics ranging from art to science, politics to religion because those are the things I care about, and they are the things that as I’ve traveled the country have remained a common thread of discourse.
Which likely explains why this site has never been a big draw (well, that, and I’m a lousy networker). There’s no consistent topic to latch on to. One week I write about gay marriage, the next my 5 favorite songs, or atheism, or I share a poem. Never quite a blog, not really a travel page, 10cities10years.com is a reflection of my mind in the truest form: Disjointed, at times madly engaged, frequently disconnected and always ready to jump onto the next topic. Any readership I’ve had is likely suffering from whiplash.
The truth is, I’m not sure what role this website will play in my final year. It’s been great to have for the past 5 years (5 years? Jesus!), if for no other reason than because it provided me a place to throw up my writing when I knew I’d never find an audience for it elsewhere. As I try to figure out how exactly I want to write about this decade of life experiences, there’s less place for my random updates on this website. Whatever publicity for my project I hoped to drum up with this site has been achieved as well as it ever will be.
I’ve posted a lot of thinkpieces here, and while I’m proud of many of them, I’ve also grown less interested in them in the last year or so. I’ve pretty much said everything I’m going to be able to say on Atheism, Christianity, Marriage Equality and my other favorite topics. I refuse to engage in click bait tactics and I have never once allowed some outside resource commandeer my page for ads masquerading as posts. Every post on this page has been written by me.
Because, again, this page is a reflection of me and only me. It’s got rough edges, it has flared up with anger at times (some more righteous than others), it’s got pretensions towards artistic merit and it can be at turns mawkishly earnest or dismissively sarcastic. On rare occasions, it has demanded attention, but generally it just sort of exists in the background for people to discover on their own.
I say all of this because, as I approach the end of this story, I know I’ll have some more things to say, mostly to close the circle, but generally it’s time for me to move on. As useful as this site has been for providing me an outlet, it’s also at times been a distraction from working on longer, more substantial work. Before I created this website, I had completed 4 novels. Since, 0. I’ve written countless short stories, poems and articles in that time, but I’ve lost touch with my long form skills. I need to get those back.
That’s not to say I won’t update this page. Sometimes an idea for an article comes to me and I can’t think about anything else until I’ve written it, and this will still be my go-to place for poetry. But I’ve been treading water for far too long, allowing this project to be an excuse for not having a career in writing. “It’ll happen once I finish.” That’s a deadly way to think.
To be honest, when I sat down to write this post, I didn’t know what I was going to write. I just felt like I should put an update here, and this is what came out. I don’t want to say that I’m abandoning my readership, but a) I don’t really have a readership to abandon and b) well, maybe I should.
I’ve liked having this website, and I’m certainly not shutting it down, but the reality is I have no interest in doing all the marketing bullshit and internet aggrandizing necessary to make this site viral or trend-y. I’ve made faint attempts at creating hit-generating content, but that’s just not in my wheelhouse. 10 Cities / 10 Years is a decade-long project, the ultimate slow burn. It was foolish of me to ever think that could translate into buzz-of-the-moment posts.
If anything has come from this site, it’s that I’ve become a better communicator, a stronger writer. Seeing as that was the goal when I started the 10 Cities Project (long before this .com existed), mission accomplished. This website exists (and will continue to) as an archive of a major chunk of my life, a defining period of my life. In the hundreds of posts here, I truly believe there is something for everyone, but good luck finding your personal nugget.
I’m still here, I’ve still got a year to go. But as I look towards my year in New York, I’m also looking past my (first) year in New York. I’m not saying I’m gonna plan the next 10 years of my life, but it’s time I make some plan.
Even if that just means planning on getting a real job.