2017, From the Editor’s Desk

Looking back. Looking forward. The view from a side street.

“We had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen, and President Xi was enjoying it, and I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded.”

By any objective measure, 2017 was the kind of year that ages you. Just a bit. We have a lot more questions than answers right now. A striking lack of closure is the preeminent theme of the past twelve months. At the conclusion of 2016, the promise of a new year felt like a welcomed respite. A new start. We tried to romanticize New Years Day.

2018 does not carry with it that same innocence.

To look back on a year filled with so much uncertainty with wary eyes would certainly be easy. We were run ragged by fraught political discussions, inane social media usage, and high-profile celebrity controversy, some of it of societal and historical importance, some of it merely fabricated by the current administration. For every Harvey Weinstein exposure, there was an argument surrounding Jemele Hill.

Politically, it is hard to fathom the stories that didn’t receive the attention they would have garnered in a more normal year. A Congressman was shot. American journalists were kept out of the Oval Office. The amount of high-profile turnover in the administration was unprecedented. These stories nestled in the spaces between some of the year’s titanic happenings. Nazi rallies. Mass shootings. The Russia investigation. Devastating hurricanes. Our backyard has never been so unkempt.

For us — for you and me — it was a year for resizing. It’s natural to try to locate your place in sweeping narratives. In the face of overwhelming news, we felt small.

To speak for myself, though, I’m glad it happened. Feeling small can be a good thing. It forces you to get back to basics, to fight, and make incremental changes to improve the reality in your immediate proximity.

That’s what Side Streets did for us.

We kicked off roughly one year ago. We were somewhat rudderless, but we had the itch to write. So we hacked away at it. Some weeks saw a post nearly every day. We also had some pretty long gaps in production. But the satisfaction came from knowing that the opportunity was there, if we’d ever need it again. We tried to build something we were proud of, and something that could stand up on its own. Side Streets provided that small window into a more creative world. We tried to jump through it when we could. We talked about the election, the music we loved, the people we lost, and shared the stories we’ve always wanted to tell, but didn’t know where to tell them.

One of our hopes for this site is that it would reflect some of the peculiarity of conversations had by neighbors on small streets. I think we’ve covered that. But life’s big thoughts have found their way here as well. We’ve talked about cancer treatments. We’ve talked about our parents. We’ve talked about growing up.

This is the 70th post we have pushed to our little site. Incredibly, thousands of readers found their way here. If we have even one resolution as the calendar turns to January, its that we want this little journal to keep doing what it has been doing. To be an outlet for people. It offers the chance to devote time to an opinion, or a thought, or a joke. It’s a chance to be heard. Even if only by a few friends.

We are looking forward to what 2018 has to bring. And before we plunge into the new year, I can’t help but look back at our Origin Stories post. Things are always changing. Except, they never do.

Starting a publication in 2017 cannot be done without trepidation. Everyone has an opinion. Most people have a platform to share that opinion. Many of those opinions are infuriating. We’re still working on that. At the heart of this project, we hope to have a place for connection and new perspectives. For a couple writers reincarnated into 9-to-5ers, it will be a nice return to a more comfortable pursuit. It may pick up steam and more writers may come on board. It may fizzle out. That’s what is so exciting about it. We’re taking a shot. We’re getting in the car and driving three thousand miles.

Safe driving. Have a great year.