Monday, 10 June 2013

Anniversary Post 1

Or I have been writing this nonsense for a year!

Hello internet people, I have officially been writing this blog for a year! This is the equivalent of 164 posts, including 55 comics reviews and 30 novel reviews, and 79 more process or opinion based essays. Which, if I say so myself, is a pretty substantial amount of content for me to have written in my spare time. I'm kind of proud of myself for sticking with this thing.

In this same period of time in my real professional life I've managed to publish my first two Scientific papers in the Journal of Cardiovascular Research and the Journal of Biological Chemistry (which is open source). I've also, as of last Monday, just passed my Comprehensive Exams, which are the one test you have to pass during a PhD at my university and are kind of this awful, stressful oral-exam-before-a-panel-of-experts thing. But hey, I passed, so I am now a "PhD Candidate". (Which is why things have been a bit Review heavy lately, sorry.) Also, this is all striking evidence that you can blog about comics without completely destroying your professional life.

Actually, I started this whole nonsense as a way to practice writing for career reasons. The weird thing about being a professional student/scientist is that you spend months and months conducting experiments before suddenly being expected to turn out glorious prose... and well, unused muscles atrophy. So I decided that a regularly updating blog would be a great place to keep at the whole writing thing. And while this blog is much more colloquial than any academic writing should be, there are a lot of small parallels between the two. For example, my comics reviews are 250 words or less partially because a Scientific Abstract is nearly always 250 words or less and writing that concisely is a giant pain. So, if you are an academic (or anyone) struggling with writing, start a blog. It's fun, and a good way to make yourself get words down every week. And as a bonus: my writing has actually improved a bit!

And yeah, writing this has been wicked fun! I don't have many comics friends in real life so having a forum to gormlessly prattle on about eye-guiding line art by David Aja in Hawkeye is pretty great. And the fact that some people out there read all of this is downright amazing! (Thanks you people: one timers, and regulars all!) Another pretty cool aspect of blogging, especially if you are like me and are trying to focus on the good media, is that some of your favourite authors and artists and creators get to see you respond positively to their work. It's kind of a nice feeling to be able to say thank you, in a way, to people who craft the stories that mean so much to me. (Which is a pretty sappy sentiment...) Anyway, keeping Atoll Comics going has not only been valuable writing practice, but is a pretty fun hobby.

And now for the most important part: if you have read any part of Atoll Comics, thank you. If you read it regularly, a giant thank you! As much as I'm writing this for me, having an audience is pretty rewarding. If you have ever linked to, or retweeted anything from this blog, thank you. You have really turned this from me shouting alone at the internet to a website that has actual readers and that is endlessly cool. If you have ever commented, thank you. It's always nice to actually hear from people, especially ones as civil and articulate as those of you who have commented. And lastly, if you make any of the media that I enjoy so much, thank you. I never would have written a word of this without all of these great comics and novels. I frequently feel like the remora to your mighty shark, and I appreciate the feast of your imaginations.

If you are a regular (or casual) reader, I would love to hear from you in the comments section. Particularly  I'd like to hear what you have enjoyed and what you would like to see more of going forward.

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