Happy blogiversary to me

So today marks one year since my return to blogging. It’s a “sort of anniversary,” because in another way, I’ve been blogging for about 15 years one and off since the original blog began way back in 2004, but this blog has helped revive my appetite for writing for its own sake for me. I’ve not written every day, but 67 posts in a year isn’t bad. 

I’ve written as long as I can remember, from made-up comic book empires as a kid to columns and articles and essays today. But it hasn’t always been easy. 

I’ve gotten mired in a crisis of self-confidence about my own writing for the past few years. My journalism jobs moved from involving writing to becoming more management, editing and “content curation,” more shuffling other people’s words around than attempting my own. I got away from what I got into journalism for many moons ago – telling stories, including my own. The rise of social media, web journalism and an infinite universe of hot takes and words by other people made me start to think my own voice wasn’t really important in the content blogosphere, so why bother? 

Anyway, the point is, restarting regular blogging once a week or so a year ago really helped jump-start my urge to write again. I feel better when I write something a few times a week, whatever it is. I realised that while I’m just one of a million voices on the internet, I still have something to say, and occasionally other people will read it. 

Blogging regularly again made me decide to take the leap earlier this year back into part-time freelance journalism for the first time in more than a decade, and so far I’m finding it really rewarding to do. The story of my health woes published last weekend has been shared hundreds of times on social media and dozens of people have commented and emailed sharing their own emotional stories. That’s what it’s all about, really.

This blog doesn’t get a ton of traffic compared to how my old blog did back in the golden age of bloggers circa 2008, but it’s still getting readers. It’s my little corner of the internet, and I’m pretty happy with it. Thanks for reading.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the internet…

I’ve been busy lately writing a few pieces for publication elsewhere in the media biosphere. Here’s a few:

  • This was a difficult one to write, and more personal than I typically get, but it’s an important topic. About 18 months ago I got waylaid by a shock health diagnosis and it sent me on pretty intense personal journey. Both Radio New Zealand and NZ’s biggest news website Stuff have kindly published this one:

Radio New Zealand: How I nearly died and what happened next

Stuff: How a diagnosis changed my life

It’s World Thrombosis Day on Sunday, and I wrote this to tie in to that important awareness day. There’s been some great commentary and feedback about my piece by people on these sites’ Facebook pages sharing their own stories, which really gratifies me and makes the effort of writing this one worthwhile.

  • In less dramatic writing, I also had a very fun feature printed in the New Zealand Herald‘s weekend Canvas magazine the other week about a boom in Auckland cinemas showing revivals of classic films. It’s part of their paywalled content but if you’re a Herald member it’s worth a read!

Cinema Paradiso: The classic films coming to a cinema near you

  • Lastly, this one was actually published a little while back over at Radio New Zealand but I might as well link to it as well here, because the issue of America and guns certainly hasn’t changed much since I wrote it. I wrote about it from the perspective of an American who’s lived abroad for more than a decade. I often get asked about America’s mass shootings. Wish I had an answer, but for now this is what I had to say:

Opinion: Guns create ‘a map of blood’ in US, but nothing will change

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the internet…

Hello, a brief post to make it clear I am neither dead not maimed, but I have been working on a few other non-blog writing assignments of late I should plug here.

Did you know that yours truly was a 13-year-old American lad during the summer of 1985, the same time that the new season of “Stranger Things” is set in? Head on over to Radio New Zealand to read my take on “Stranger Things 3” and what it was really like in the far-off mystical ’80s. 

ST3_Production_Still_4.0

Also over at the excellent website The Spinoff, I’ve crafted a somewhat expanded and possibly even improved version of my piece on the end of Mad magazine, and how it influenced the culture that’s all around us – even here in little ol’ New Zealand.

Go forth and read my extracurricular wordage, and new content shall appear here in another day or so!

So where were we?

My name is Nik, and I’m ready to blog again. 

I’ve been a journalist in one form or another for 25 years now, and wrote a blog* for about 8 years from 2004-2012, spewing thousands of words about this, that and the other thing. 

Starting a blog again may seem so 2007, but I’m tired of the other options. Social media’s been good and terrible for the written word in equal measure. Hey, I tweet, I facebook, I instagram (but no selfies, please), but I’m looking to something more than endless scrolling for that dopamine hit. I’m coming back to blogging because it trains me to write more than a few pithy sentences.

Since I got tired of regular blogging in 2012, I’ve gradually come to realise how important it was to me to write more. It’s a safety valve for the brain. I want to stop feeling distracted and anxious all the time and these days, that problem feels worse than ever. 

I won’t blog about current politics, because if I did it’d just be one inchoate scream echoing over and over into the infinite, and I’ll avoid weighing in with the hot take on the outrage of the day like every other person with a keyboard. I’ll get personal from time to time but I won’t talk about what I had for lunch. 

Instead, I’ll focus on what keeps me going in this tattered world. Usually that’s art in any of its forms – an old movie I’m digging, a classic Elvis Costello single, a Jack Kirby comic book that blew my mind, a book that’s subtly skewed my brain in interesting ways. I’ll write sometimes about my travels and what it’s been like living as an American in New Zealand for more than a decade now.

I’ll try to get my scattered words on here once a week or so. Follow along if you like, bookmark or swipe right or whatever the cool kids do now to keep in touch, and thanks for reading. 

* I named my original blog “Spatula Forum” because it was the name of a newspaper column I did for years and years and I have no idea why I thought those two words were cool together, but I was stuck with it. Blog Mark II takes its tip from a terrific 1994 song by Guided By Voices of the same name. And that’s pretty much what I have to offer here … my impression now, of whatever shiny object has caught my eye.