#842 ½: An Announcement

September 15th, 2017

When I started this site my worry was getting to my goal. Now I’m scared I’ll get there too soon.

This site is taking a hiatus, which isn’t blog code for “You will never see me again.” I will be back, specifically on Monday, Oct. 30 with a story about a mummy. I like both the Halloween proximity and the rebirth motif.

I have not missed a single post day in the five years, four-and-a-half months I’ve been writing this site. Not once. I’m proud of that and I know I could keep it up. But hitting some number by being as clockwork and predictable as the production cycle for Marmaduke was never the purpose of this site. I don’t want to be Marmaduke. I want to be Calvin and Hobbes.

You want 1,001 stories? I’ll finish them up tonight and set ‘em to post for another year. Monday: I saw a guy. Wednesday: The CTA is bumpy. Friday: I just don’t like that Trump.

You want 1,001 good stories, that’s going to be a little harder.

My life has gotten wonderfully busy lately. My work life, personal life and writing/performance career are at a peak. I have an amazing full-time job and run an amazing small business on the side. All those mean this site has gotten short shrift. I didn’t mind putting out some clunkers when 1,001 seemed two shy of infinity. But the end point’s getting near enough that each digit is precious.

I’ve written 842 stories supposedly about Chicago and I’ve never been to Hegewisch. I’ve never been to Morgan Park or Schorsch Village. There are whole swaths of city my increasingly full life doesn’t allow me to explore as much as I could when I was unemployed and dateless.

I only have 159 stories left. I can’t in good conscience keep wasting stories on things that cross my increasingly limited transom. I want some time to build a backlog. I want some time to create and polish new stories without having to — oh my god it’s post day — stop working on something exciting so I can slapdash something easy on deadline or, worse, turn a story that could be great in a week into something OK in an hour.

I’m tired of giving you my first drafts just to keep the counter going. You deserve better from me. I deserve better from me too.

Also, I have a writing project that’s more exciting to me right now. I have an idea, I have a plan, I have a couple years’ research under my belt and I will regret it forever if I neglect that project even a day longer. When I work on it, my fingers fly across the keyboard and suddenly it’s four hours later. When I work on a 1,001 story, I dawdle and check Facebook. Both projects deserve better.

(What this second project doesn’t have is a publisher, so if you are a publisher or literary agent and like my work, reach out at 1001chicago@gmail.com and I’ll tell you about it.)

Five years, four-and-a-half months ago, I gave myself a creative challenge. But art isn’t something you win or lose, and I do fully believe journalism can be art. I’d only fail my creative challenge if I took the rules of the challenge more seriously than chance to be creative. I’d only fail if I made hitting 1,001 more important than sharing Chicago afternoons.

So I’ll see you by Halloween. I’ll spend my time until then living, breathing, exploring this city to find you the best — not most convenient — stories. Mostly, I’ll be writing.

Explore the archives while I’m gone

Send me ideas for cool people, places and things I should write about

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