Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A New Low, and a Goodbye.


Greetings to all five of you who may be still linking to us, or following us etc.

It’s been a long while to say the least. My longest hiatus by far in the brief history of this blog, and sadly this post does not signal a return to the haughty days of yore (2008 or even 2010) when MyCue23 and I posted several times a week. I’m afraid I don’t think I will ever again be (in the way I proudly, maybe erroneously think I was) a part of the fraternity of bloggers, whose work and force of reason still humbles me as I read their, in most cases, weekly posts.

It’s a new low for me on this blog, and I feel, at the very least to myself, an obligation to understand and explain the possible reasons why this particular outlet of questions and perspectives MyCue23 invited me to partake in some five years ago has gone without my contributions for so long.

For my part, I’ve been extremely busy these last months with my job, motion picture production, comics, professional development and life in general. The last six months have brought no shortage of new things to comment on, and be outraged by, if not old things, then old problems that keep manifesting in increasingly sinister iterations.  2012 has brought many wonderful opportunities my way. This year I had the chance to meet Stan Lee, Joe Sinnott, Chris Claremont and George Perez (all childhood, and now adulthood heroes of mine,) I had the honor of assistant directing (doing the scheduling and yelling on a movie set) for a longtime collaborator and dear friend Todd Bevan on several (5, I think) production shoots thus far. I finished another story for World War 3 Illustrated; my publisher of now over twenty years and counting. But in February I also lost my friend Ezra Talmatch. There was no herald or omen save a sudden late-night phone call, from another old friend telling me that Ezra, who I’d only spoken to 10 or so days earlier, was gone.
To say that Ezra Talmatch’s passing has deeply affected his friends and family is a world of an understatement. So great is his absence, such was his affection and kindly influence on his peers that I can count no less than 10 new friends, thrust upon me in the shockwave of grief that threatened to flatten us all, had we not all had the good sense to instinctively reach out to each other. Then there are the friends I have had for many years, flung far and wide, connected, as if stitched by our own sinew, to this man whose voice still echoes joyfully in our minds, but will not be heard again in this life.

I miss him.

Ezra, and in some ways for me this blog, belong to another time and place now in June of 2012, and it’s regrettably a place I don’t think I can return to, as much as I want to.

For all my writing on this blog, I don’t know if I’ve ever expressed the thought, but I am in awe of politics. I am humbled by the concepts and theories of law and the dynamics of social contracts and the structures of societies. Government, particularly as expressed by our Congress here in the United States is an incredibly beautiful thing. Despite its vulnerability to corporate influence, lobbyists and crooks, we must never forget that as it voted to defraud and murder the Native peoples of this land, it also moved to end slavery. For all of its messiness and dysfunction, it is the Congress’s core mission of compromise in service of the people that at time leaves me with an almost spiritual hope, that the crimes and mendacity of the last centuries in America may yet stand to be argued into a civil life and rule of law that is fairer, more just and ultimately a reflection of the promises of our Constitution and not manifestations of its literal technicalities and shortcomings. I think as far as animals go, you can do far little better than human beings despite all of our cruelty, and our inability to capitalize on our sentience and self-awareness to see the obvious horrors further down the roads we ourselves are indeed paving.    
  
A year ago, I undertook a project, a pop-up bookstore here in Washington Heights. It was an impossible task: to create a Community bookshop that no one had asked for, in a city where real estate has managed to crush several nonprofit and for-profit businesses for centuries. But a year later, the Word Up! Community Bookshop stands. It’s an oasis in a neighborhood crowded with fast food joints, 99cent shops and beauty salons that has been embraced by the local community in a ferocious act of willful self-determination and enlightened self-interest. The bookshop was only supposed to be in operation for a month, a year later, we’re celebrating its birthday on Saturday June 15th. In the shadow of the popular movements around the world, and here at home in the US, I now feel that rather than write about what I think are the correct courses of action, it is far more constructive to present alternatives to the things that are wrong, impractical, predatory, self-destructive or criminal in our world. For years I have talked about what is wrong with New York, America, Europe and rest of the world. I have found that the only solutions that work, are the alternatives that exist or that we create.

So that’s going to be my road from here on out.
I’ll never say something as permanent and binding as my days of writing about politics online are ended, but I have to be honest about the fact that these days I’m more likely to get excited about starting up a rooftop farm in a nearby tenement, than write about the lack of one online. 

I sincerely wish good luck to you all, especially those folks who may have seen me as an enemy or provocateur. I never came here to argue, and I’m leaving the same way. So as a fictional, but altogether wise man once said to me through the television,

“Live Long, and Prosper.”  

-SJ

21 comments:

Infidel753 said...

Sorry to hear that, but I understand where you're coming from.

Looks like the bookstore already has its own blog -- at least you can keep your hand in -- and if you ever decide to go back to political blogging, the internet will always be there.

SJ said...

Thanks brother,
but this will be were I post, if and when I come back. I've just been reading everybody's fine work and trying not to get my bloodpressure up the past few months, which is very hard these days.
Keep it going Infidel. As I've always said, you're one of my favorite reads.
-SJ

Beach Bum said...

"Live long and prosper"?

If I am correct the proper response should be "Peace and long life".

...my days of writing about politics online are ended...

I have become increasingly pessimestic these last few years as the right-wing resembles more and more a proto-Nazi organization. Making matters worse there are those on the left that seem utterly devoid of commonsense and live in some alternate universe where the physical laws are different. The combined efforts of the two makes politics for me a sea of despair and pointless.

Take care my friend and I hope you drift back this way again in the future.

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SJ said...

Thanks BB,
I'm not giving up on the American project yet, despite the last century, and the last 12 years. But lately, (and a lot of this has to do with all the action that younger people are undertaking like OWS and such) I've felt like I've been repeating myself (unlike let's say Jack Jodell who finds new angles and facts constantly to write about) and I'm finding that putting my money where my mouth is, in terms of helping out my local community and getting more of my work out there takes up a lot of the energy I used to devote to writing on this blog. MyCue23 as you know is a life long friend, and it was at his urguing that I stepped into the blogosphere, where I was able to say my piece, what I didn't expect was to join a community, like the one we're all a part of. I'm proud to be your friend, Beach.
-SJ

Mycue23 said...

I hate to get all silly and sentimental so I'm just gonna say thanks for everything and that this little experiment would have been total crap without you. And one more thing, hey my brother, can I borrow your soul classics album?

SJ said...

@Mycue23,
it's been an honor, and who's to say if sh!t really takes a turn for the worse in November, that I won't be back in force.
For now, I have to concede I won't be posting at the pace we set a couple of years ago.
And nooooo my brother, you got to buy your own.
...and if you're feeling nostalgic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKu78xJ6g1k
Yeah, that's the stuff.

Jack Jodell said...

Sandy,
I am heartsick to learn that I will never again have the chance to be inspired by your deep thought and brilliance here on this page. I am also heartsick that we never hear from the equally passionate and brilliant Mycue23 here anymore either. As you know, I have frequently visited here in hopes of finding a new post. I was very excited to come across this one today, until I read it and became devastated. I wish the both of you the very best going forward, and I will content myself with the knowledge that your passion and decency will continue on. Thanks to you both for the all-too-brief but very pleasant ride!

SJ said...

@Jack Jodell,
thanks my man. I wasn't speaking for MyCue23, -lord knows he has much more to say about what's going on in the world than I do, and he has the intelligence to make his points with a clarity I envy.
We're riends for life you and I, Jack.
--and regarding blogging, I'm not gone forever, I just know I can't keep at it like I once did. I'm humbled by what you, Manifesto Joe, Tom Cat, Gwendolyn, Infidel, Tom Degan, Vigilante, Oso, Leslie and so many and many others do out here, -speaking the acrid truth in a very noisy world where the elites, the rich and the establishment think that if they talk loud enough, long enough, if they buy enough ad space, their lies will have the weight of the truth.
Never.
Thank you Jack for all that you do. I look forward to your next post for its invaluable information and the humanity you bring to everything that concerns us.
Take care,
-SJ

SJ said...

"friends for life"
I will not miss creating typos.
-SJ

Manifesto Joe said...

Sandy, some of us will miss you horribly. I get a little burned out on this blog shit now and then. But, unlike you, I don't really have any other life. My wife is a visual artist, so she sees things in a totally different way. I put all my chips on being a writer, and after being an unheralded poet and a pigeonholed journalist, this blog shit is pretty much what I have left.

So, dude, you've met Stan Lee? How old is this man? He's a legend, and one of the sad things about legends is that they usually have to become decrepit before they know that this has happened.

SJ said...

@Manifesto Joe,
I'm always just an email away my friend, and I'm still one of your loyal readers.
There just won't be many new rants from me, unless I get laid off from work or another disaster hits me (knocking on wood).

-And Yes, Stan is up there in age I think he's 89 now? But a more wonderful, charitable and sweeter man you'll never meet in the comic book business, especially with his degree of influence and accomplishment. We had a great conversation that I'll tell you more about if your email hasn't changed (drop me a line at jimenex@yahoo.com if it has so we can stay in touch.) suffice to say he continues to be ingenuously flattered and actually blushes when people like me talk about his work on Spider-Man, and his long ago battles with the Comics Code Authority. We had a frank conversation about the business's direction, and he said that when he "in his old age" can't distinguish a new movie from the licensed rides at an amusement park, he know something crucial is missing. He said he loved the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film very much, but wouldn't bash anything in particular.
So yeah MJ, I'm casting off from this blog for a bit, could be permanent, might not be.
No need for us to be out of touch pal, -be well.
-SJ

Sue said...

I am in awe of your energy, your fascinating life, your beautiful words...I wish you luck and happiness SJ! I am honored to be included in the blog lists of such exceptional writers like yourself and Mike, BTW, miss you on FB Mike!

Take care SJ, You are a master, continue on your journey!

~ Sue

SJ said...

@Sue,
Thank you very much for the kind words. I'm flattered, humbled and I appreciate it. It's my intention to stay connected, and share whatever work comes out of the next year and a half with you. It was always my hope that the aforementioned, yourself, and many of the folks I met through Mad Mike's America like my brother Oso, Holte would all come together somwhere central in the country like Chicago or Saint Louis. I think Mycue23 and Beach Bum actually got to hang together which had to be cool as sh!t, like a good alternate dimension Star Trek episode from the sixties, but with drafts and fries...
I feel like for a while, and maybe still in a way I can't put into words, we were our own nation for a while.

All I can say today is that blogging with you and the others has given me way more than I expected, but doing it well now requires more than I can spare with life and work pulling in an opposite direction these days.
I still think we should all get together over a beer some how, some way, some place in the future.
It think it'll be what I call heaven.
Love and benedictions 'til then Sue.
-SJ

SJ said...

"draughts and fries" I'll say it again, I will not miss these uncorrectable typos on Blogger.
-SJ

Mycue23 said...

I think you know how much I think of you Sue. Keep giving them hell!

Jackie Maloney said...

Hey SJ - Delighted to find a post from one of my favorite sandwiches, not so happy to find might not see another one. Congratulations on your recent successes, sorry to read of of the loss of your dear friend. I'll be checking your FB news from time to time.

Sue said...

Awwwwww, I think of you often too, <3, hope you are well...

xo

SJ said...

Thanks Guys.
I should "never say never." The last three debates certainly gave me an itch to write on here...
-SJ

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I still drop in to read you guys. :-) I hope to read you more often, am busy doin my best to stay afloat... but hey.... I am 'out here'. Respects... ghb

Mycue23 said...

We miss you Gwen! Hope all is well.