Saturday, 6 October 2007
I've waited long enough, the time is now: having handed in my resignation at the corporate Beeheemoth - Roseville? Were they serious? - I am on my own. And while I've been through some break-ups, this was a doozy. Let's just say that I now understand why people loathe Corporate America. 'Nuff said. Onward...
The internet gives me new options that didn't exist 25 years ago, when I started at The Sacramento Bee as its first pop music critic. This is unmediated, for better or worse. I already miss the copy desk, my saviors on more than one occasion. But I figure that people will be willing to trade a typo or two for information that doesn't have to be cleared through a half dozen people, too many of whom are afraid of anything they don't already know. Or which isn't on TV. Or which they just don't "get."
Just as importantly, my hometown of Sacramento has changed enormously. I ride my bike around midtown and downtown - The Grid - and around nearly every corner I see new creations shooting up faster than I can absorb them, from wine bars to public art to gorgeous modern buildings. (The jury's still out on the new parking meters.) There are missteps, of course, but on balance, it's thrilling - and people are excited. It's fun to hear three guys at a local coffee house arguing passionately about urban design. Let a thousand arguments bloom! Suddenly, we care!
Those of us who have been around forever can hardly believe it's happening. For years we have tended to believe that Sactown had its chances, and faltered every time. We seemed jinxed. Club Can't Tell came and went, the chance to make the Memorial Auditorium sound good was blown, K Street got mauled. Del Paso Boulevard's "Uptown" was boosted, then went down again. Failure, it seemed, was all-but-inevitable.
That has changed, startlingly so. I took a year off last year and spent much of it away, in New York City and other fascinating places. Places like...Chico (which, by the way, has a better farmer's market than we do). And what I saw in those places, and what I saw when I returned, has convinced me that this town is happening NOW. WHEREVER they put the goddamned arena!
This entrepreneurial energy - from risk-takers big and small, not bureaucrats dictating what goes where - is palpable. It makes me optimistic and excited. And it has made me feel comfortable taking my OWN risks, knowing that this is my town, and I will succeed as it does. As much as I love other cities, this will always be my home. And I'm proud of it.
So I am staying in the city I love, in my hometown, where the energy is, where the risk-takers and other freaks are, where life still has an edge, and where the very best stories are: The Grid.
What will follow this initial entry will be different from what I've done for years at The Bee, first as pop music critic, then as religion writer, feature writer and outdoors recreation writer. I won't be told what to write, where to go, who not to offend, what's important, who matters and who doesn't. I will rise on my own efforts, like the town that is coming into its own right in front of my eyes.
I'm not trying to build the blogging equivalent of John Saca's aborted Twin Towers - just a modest little townhouse in the middle of things, where interesting people can come and go, chasing their dreams, or money, or love, or just their tails. It will be what it will be, and I am excited to see what it becomes. Nearly excited as I am to see what will become of this underappreciated city that is "so close to everywhere." Now Sacramento is its own place; who cares what it's close to?
Finally, I plan to limit myself to the Grid. Not that there aren't interesting things happening all over the region - even in Roseville - but I'm just one guy, and this is where I live, where I make my stand. The Grid.
I'm not the only person doing this. There are some great blogs on Sacramento - LivingInUrbanSac.blogspot.com comes immediately to mind, check the link - and I hope to add to the conversation. But this new medium allows me to step outside Big Media and say my share. I hope that you enjoy it.
Enough throat-clearing. You get the picture. Now I begin taking snapshots, figurative and literal, with the hope that showing us who we are and where we're going will convey the incredible excitement percolating in the Grid, and support the people who are making it happen.
I welcome your comments, of course. Just don't give me any business about that Neil Diamond review. That was then; this is NOW.