Here’s My Best of 2014 and what’s to come
So I wrote a lot of longer pieces in 2014 and less short pieces. As a result my blog didn’t always get updated regularly. But I’ve picked out a few pieces that I think represent the best of my writing in 2014:
The most popular piece of the year was this: Why do we stay in jobs that are bad for us? In it, I discuss why I stayed so long in a job that was objectively bad for me. The answer, I believe, is that the job had a “sick system” that gets employees addicted to the chaos of the job. When 3000 people read it, I thought it was hugely successful, but over the year it’s received over 20,000 page views.
By contrast, one of my pieces that I loved never got the attention that I thought it should have. In With The Winter Solider is Marvel’s Hard-On for State Power Softening?, I discussed how up until Captain America: The Winter Solider, Marvel’s movies have shown their “superheroes” as supercops — beholden to the government and complicit in the government’s bad actions.
I wrote a few pieces about making music and doing art. Todd K and I spent a night in Jeremy Ferguson’s Battletapes studio and I wrote about that: Playing in the Studio. I wrote about my experience, not with Writer’s Block, but with Writer’s Bottleneck. I discussed what I think is super important for creators: You are your own curator.
The most popular piece I wrote about being a musician and writer, though, was this: How to Support the Artist You Know Without Spending Money. It didn’t exactly inspire legions of people to “share” rather than “like” later pieces of mine but people sure shared the piece itself.
In July we lost Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone — the last surviving member of the original Ramones. I wrote about Tommy and the impact the Ramones have had on me.
Since April, I’ve been undergoing pretty intense therapy for chronic pain I’ve had for more than 20 years. I’ve written several pieces about that experience.
But the biggest thing I wrote last year was a book about doing better work, called good.simple.open. The idea is that to do good work, we should focus on doing it simply and openly and the good will accidentally come. Too often, we focus on the good end and we create terrible processes and shabby infrastructure in the process. The book is a collection of short, single-sitting essays on the values, methods, and applications of making work good, simple, and open.
As a result of writing that book, I wrote a lot about work.
I have a long list of topics about which I’d like to write this year. I’m thinking of starting with Death, Pornography, and Zen. We’ll see what takes hold.