One Aardvark: Charting Course

One Aardvark is almost one year old. When we started this blog–Patrick, Doogs and I–we didn’t really know what it was going to be. Part diary, part hockey-blog, part pseudo-private confessional. Part douchey, part smart, part political commentary. We were just three dudes who go back pretty far and have some good conversations–we figured why not share them with the world. So far, it’s been an unexpected and fruitful journey.

We’ve all written things we’re damn proud of. One of my most successful posts of 2016 was Catharsis of Mundanity. The fact that so many people read that post and enjoyed it–a post about scraping sludge off wooden planks–was astounding. It was gratifying. It was unexpected. We figured it would be our flash in the pan of borderline internet relevance.

Uncle Doogs has read and written more since we started One Aardvark than he has in years. Probably since high school. He’s one of our fan-favorites, and when people talk to me about the blog, it’s often Doogs they bring up first. His sui generis persona works remarkably well in his writing. A veteran and a firefighter, his stories–told in his vintage, larger than life Uncle Doogs voice–are always exciting to read.

Patrick’s political know-how has proven more important than we ever could have guessed, and will probably continue to be invaluable, as we move into a fraught era of American history. His brightness is refreshing and well-articulated–intimidatingly so. His cultural experience, having lived abroad, adds a velvety richness to the texture of the blog.

Then came Jason, the musician and photographer–our resident “hipster.” And Max, our resident classicist. And soon Toby and Madeleine will publish their first posts. Who knows who else 2017 will bring. The Aardvark is growing. New voices, new specialties, new points of view. In times like these, and for any budding blog, this is paramount. A friend of mine once described this blog as “Boys Club.” Indeed it was, but not any longer.

After a year of posts and growing pains, One Aardvark has discovered its voice. We each have our own, but we all harmonize in a way that is purely Aardvark. And like any growing process, there have indeed been growing pains. “Kill your darlings,” “trim the fat,” they say. Posts about Matt Cooke being a scumbag are no longer consistent with the Aardvark aesthetic. Drunken rants, as fun as they were when we were “Boys Club,” don’t harmonize with where we’re going. From our first post to this one, the voice of One Aardvark has refined itself, and we’ve grown to take ourselves more seriously. Even random academic pieces from years ago–as much as we’d like to think they’re worth reading–just don’t fit in anymore, either.

It’s an exciting time. We made it a year without falling off the horse, even if the horse wasn’t always at full gallop. We’ve posted more than we thought we would. We invested money into the blog. We mapped future posts. We became, contrary to what we expected this blog to be, serious.

We live in an era when writing and media in general is both more accessible and more saturated than ever. The onus falls on us, all of us–anybody with a blog–to shape the massive malleable landscape that we know as the internet. There’s so much noise at our fingertips, we must not add to the static. Cut through it, be incisive and productive. Be professional. Be honest. Don’t sugarcoat, but don’t ramble. Content for content’s sake doesn’t help anybody. Make every word earn its place, make every post a step in the direction we want to go. Because, at the end of the day, even if we disagree (and there are plenty of disagreements even just between the Aardvark’s writers), I think we all want to go in the same direction. And One Aardvark is excited to graduate from an amorphous spattering of the serious and the silly, the useful and the useless, and chart a new course. A clear direction to where we want to go.

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