Stick with me for a minute. I think building this from the ground up will be best.
When I was in high school and for a few year after I published zines and magazines, wrote for other zines, and was involved politically.
Then a series of discouraging experiences and failures prompted me to move away from that and be a lot more low key. For a long time I didn’t let myself think too much about politics. If I thought about politics, I would’ve gotten upset. Then I would’ve have had to do something about it or deal with the despair of being too afraid to get involved.
Then, about six years ago I started getting into politics again. I just got a shiny iPod. I discovered iTunes. I discovered Keith Olbermann.
He got me going. I got fired up. I did something about it by… writing about it on Facebook. I wrote about the things that pissed me off and argued with others. My frustration ebbs and flows, but I became progressively more frustrated with my impotence.
Then, almost four months ago, I had an epiphany. I had a moment of true inkst.
I thought of the word inkst about 15 years ago. At the time, though, it was just the mix of “ink” and “angst.” I was considering starting yet another magazine, but after toying with the idea for a little while I let it go.
Angst is traditionally defined as a deep feeling of anxiety or dread. It’s what teenagers experience when they’re struggling with their identity, trying on one hand to fit in and on the other hand to be unique and relevant. I don’t think this angst ever fully leaves us nor should it. People who abandon the struggle to fit in turn into the Unibomber or the latest mass shooter, and people who abandon the search for personal relevance turn into the kind of people who blindly repeat the party line and think relevance is trying to one-up their neighbors.
Angst is also considered a transcendent emotion; the anxiety and dread causes tension and restlessness. If we don’t believe we can act on that tension, then eventually angst will turn into despair. This is the goal of the government and Big Brother in 1984, to convince the people there is no hope.
Angst leaves us with a feeling that there is hope, that something can be done, but we often have no idea what that something is. Inkst is the sudden awareness that you can communicate, you can channel your frustration. Inkst is the understanding that with words on paper we can make ourselves part of the conversation that frustrates us so. Inkst is the moment a person understands that they are going to use words to confront what frustrates them.
We experience inkst when we suddenly know we have no choice but to tell that asshat that, no, [insert latest conspiracy theory here] does not actually exist and [insert copious amounts of evidence that they will ignore here] renders their argument invalid and idiotic. We might not get through to them, but know spreading the facts and sharing the research at the very least helps us to clarify and articulate our argument. We experience inkst when we write our congressman. We experience inkst when we decide to sign petitions. Lots of them.
Inkst is empowerment. I don’t think it’s unique to the internet age, but I think it is more widespread. The internet is an equalizer. It gives the ordinary citizen the potential to be as loud and influential as the most powerful politician.
Now, in the age of (still) equal internet, when anybody can potentially be seen and heard by millions of people, is the time for inkst to be a potent part of participatory politics. (Alliteration, yo.)
So… four months ago… epiphany… true inkst.
Inkst is a manifold, complex emotion, and just like other complex emotions like love, there are minor occurrences and major, paradigm shifting, life-altering, spirituality-flaring, occurrences. We can have love and we can fall head over heels in love. We can get angry and we can explode in a rage that causes regrettable consequences. I had been experiencing inkst for a few years, just enough to bang my head against the Facebook wall. Then I got so frustrated with how unwilling people are to challenge their beliefs, I got so frustrated with how politics are messing up education, I got so fucking inksty, that I needed to accumulate the power and reach of a successful magazine the way the hero in a zombie movie needs to raid the hunting and sports department in a big box store.
So I decided to start a magazine.
An online magazine. This one. ::waves:: Hi.
Ultimately, I realized I need to stop being depressed and start getting angry. I decided that if I want to be of any value in this world, I need to stay angry. I’m too comfortable (and eager to stay that way) when I’m not angry. When I’m angry, I write for hours at a time like it’s nothing. I work and I push forward.
And when I focus my anger on a positive force, and I research evidence, and I put effort into finessing my ideas and polishing my language, and I learn what the fuck a favicon is and make the magazine all pretty, I turn that anger into empowerment.
I want to see the word inkst take the place of “angst” in common usage. I want us to think more about the motivation and that moment when we are compelled to communicate than we currently do about the vague and directionless “deep feeling of anxiety or dread.”
So there’s my first blog post
I’ve been putting it off, but I finally did it. I hope you’ll stay in touch. I inject myself into a lot of my editorial writing, but this I want to keep focused on myself as I navigate the subject matter and phenomena that we write about or as I deal with the life of a magazine editor. I want to publish this twice a week, but beyond that I can’t talk promises or specifics. I’m still doing 90% of all of the rest of the work, but writing a personal blog will help me let of some steam and clarify things.
Please comment, email, offer your time and talent to build the magazine, and please keep reading.