From the (Once and Future) Publisher
“All the life potentialities that we never manage to bring to adult realization, those other portions of our self, are still there inside of us; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the light of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life. We should tower in stature.”
The above passage by Joseph Campbell began the introduction to Manifesto, the first issue of keepgoing.org, which was released back in the fall of 2000. Keepgoing.org was launched by a close-knit group of friends that felt like they had something to say to the world. At the time, there was no Facebook or Twitter. If you wanted to have your voice heard in the digital world, you had to build your own website. So with some half-baked ideas and some free server space, we decided to create keepgoing.org.
We decided to organize the site in a magazine format, which although archaic, was also distinctive. We also decided along the way to divide the work up between department editors, a publisher, and a handful of senior contributors, but the all-important decisions have almost always been decided by a simple show of hands—a process that was usually democratic and often contentious. For 10 years and 40 issues, that system worked, at least well enough to put up four issues a year. This will be the last issue of keepgoing.org in a magazine format. In the next few months the site will be relaunched as a group blog.
I quote that Joseph Campell passage because as we retire the magazine format, we inevitably look back and ask ourselves if we accomplished what we set out to do a decade ago. I always saw keepgoing.org as an incubator, a farm. When we started this site back in 2000, most of the contributors had not published anything since college or high school. Many of us had never played a musical instrument, let alone been a part of a band. I believe that we created this site to tap into the creative talents of an exceptional group of people and to allow them to rediscover parts of themselves they had possibly long forgotten. That was our goal and we did that.
We served as a political forum through a historically contentious time. We published the extremely personal poetry of people from around the world. We hosted the original music of bands that had never before been heard outside of their own basements. We let people realize the joy of sharing their ideas with the world. Keepgoing.org allowed people to realize some of their unknown talents and undiscovered passions.
It is for these reasons that I am not here to look back with nostalgia or to discuss what the site could have been. I am here to declare victory. I feel that we accomplished what we set out to do. We did find those lost parts of ourselves—and shared them with the world. We did plant golden seeds that grew into many new projects and many new experiences. I think keepgoing.org did usher in a vivid renewal of life and creativity for many of the people involved. It was messy and it was hard. It was beautiful and it got ugly. It brought us closer together and it tore us apart. But we did it. We kept it going and it will keep on going in the new format and be that forum. It will always be our soapbox, even now in a world where everyone has their own soapbox.
What will differentiate the new site is the same thing that has always made it special: an exceptional group of forward-thinking people. These special people who will hear faint whispers of the future through the din of the present. These special people who will sense the distant march of progress in the rumble of the earth. We will keep going, wandering forward—and you will unwittingly be following us.
These are only my personal thoughts on the last ten years of keepgoing.org. Here are some of the observations of our core contributors.
From Steve Spaulding
Keepgoing has been like a mason jar during the Depression; a receptacle for those valuable things I just can’t keep lying around. Each one is safe and complete and tightly sealed and put some place I know I can always get to them.
Keepgoing has been like that lame creative writing class in college that for some stupid reason you scheduled at 8.00 am, the one with the near-incompetent teacher who “didn’t believe” in science fiction (whatever that means). That class had only one real merit: at the end of the week you had to turn in your dozen or so pages. No matter how good or how bad, you had to get the damn thing finished or take the fail.
Keepgoing has been like that neighborhood bar with the poor lighting and the bad service and the sticky floor that always seems pretty much empty except for you and your friends. So you and your gang kind of take it over and there are long bullshit sessions after work or on the weekend. And you see new faces in there from time to time, and it’s nice to see those faces – you don’t want the owner to go out of business or anything – but the comfort of the place comes from knowing all the regulars and being one yourself. And one day you’re all sitting in there and you’ve had a few when someone says out of the blue, “Jesus, how long have we been coming here?” And everyone smiles and chuckles softly to themselves and shakes their heads.
Keepgoing has been like art class in third grade, with everyone full of enthusiasm and trying their best to share supplies. And some kids get very into their fingerpainting, and some kids do wonders with white glue and glitter. And some kids cut up pieces of felt and then sit staring at them, unsure what to do next. And some kids – for whatever reasons — run off crying. And there’s always that one kid sitting in the corner, happily eating paste.
Keepgoing has been like a message in a bottle, tossed on a moonlit tide.
Keepgoing has been like the dry-erase tablet on the fridge: “Buy more bathroom tissue.” “Take out the recycling.” “I love you. I will always, always love you.”
Keepgoing has been like a keg party. Like the Batman Colorforms set I had when I was six. Like Thanksgiving at the home of a very dysfunctional family (“Mom, for chrissakes, will you please sit down and eat something, please?!”).
Keepgoing has been a lot of fun. And whatever it becomes next – and I fully expect it to be great, whatever new form it may take — I will miss and fondly recall everything it used to be.
From Denise Pace
Thank you, keepgoing, for being a symbol of what a little group of people can do. You allowed us, on your best days, to take some pride in our scribblings and to show how we have differences but can still stand together when it counts.
You elicited both passion and indifference in us all.
I am sorry to see you go, but don’t get too high and mighty. You are just a symbol, after all, and the real heart of us will always (ahem) keepgoing.
From Patrick Russell
And then, just like that, it was gone.
Many years, many chuckles, many fresh perspectives... it was just that thing we did. I drifted in and out of the circle (more out than in over the past few years), but it was always there, and always new. Then, of course, time passes, life gets in the way like it does, and before you know it the old homestead has tumbled down and been reclaimed by the forest.
So, let’s drink to the past, drink to the future, and then just drink one for the sake of drinkin’ one!
Good-bye, farewell, and thanks for the use of the hall.
From Erica Behnke
It’s been a great journey. I wish you the best of luck in your new adventure. We’ll see each other again I’m sure.
From Blythe Hurley
It’s been real. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Oh, and keep going. Always.
Copyright 2010, Geary Yonker and the keepgoing.org Staff
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