Me; In Transition
A little something from the heart from our friend and brother Todd ~ Jon
“We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one.”
Change is hard.
I’ve been in the story game, in one capacity or another for about thirteen years total. Most of you know me (if you know me at all) as the creator and editor of THUGLIT magazine. We’ve won a shit-ton of awards over the last eleven years, and have played a small part in getting some of your favorite writers onto bookshelves.
And now I’m ending it.
I’ve tried being a writer, with a limited amount of success—in the sense that I’m working in bars fifty five hours a week to support my writing “habit.” I didn’t enter the game to be an editor, but that’s where I landed. If I’ve exhibited any talent over the last decade, it’s in the ability to recognize immense talent in others. And it’s been a comfortable place. I still second-guess every rejection I’ve ever sent, while supremely confident in the stories that we do publish. So even though the magazine never actually sold many copies, I have immense pride in what we’ve done.
It’s as safe a place as one can find in the story game, and anywhere you can find confidence is a place you want to keep. But sometimes, that safe place isn’t where you want to be. Or even where you’re supposed to be. To be perfectly open and honest, I don’t have the slightest idea where I’m supposed to be any more. And that scares the shit out of me.
It’s time for a change. I’m going to be 44 soon, and I’ve devoted infinitely more time to the magazine than I have afforded myself for my own writing. One good reason is that being a writer—and just that—is fucking scary. As an editor and magazine poobah, nobody tells me that I’m not good enough. No publisher tells me that I’m too “niche” or that there’s no audience for what I do or ANY goddamn thing I don’t want to hear.
Being a writer, and only that, takes more balls than I think I’ve been willing to put on the table.
I need to do this. Beyond cutting away the DAILY stress and work that goes into a magazine, the constant worry about why we’re not selling, or does the cover look right? Did I miss an error either technically or factually, and will we make enough to pay the writers? I didn’t realize how much pressure the magazine had me under until I started cutting it away.
Is it a mid-life crisis? Maybe. As life will tend to be, I’m going through some immense and terrifying changes in my
en personal life as well. None of that is your business, but it’s there. And it’s probably playing a part in these decisions.
Change is hard. It also hurts.
It will all be for the better, I tell myself. So far, it has been.
I just know that I need to do this.
I need to open my arms at the edge of that cliff and let myself fall. And I will fall. No matter what, it will be better than sitting on the edge and watching the chances and years pass me by.
How will I land? Who knows? But I have no chance of flying if I don’t try.
I want to try.
And it’s here that I realize that I’ve been talking about more than just my writing. But maybe that’s where it all comes together, these changes. Turning into something new, hopefully something better. It applies across the board.
We are all just stories.
I truly love the stories that THUGLIT has enabled me to share with you. I truly love every story that every writer has shared with me for what is now over a quarter of my life.
And now I want to share my stories with you.
I hope I can make them good ones.