Hi, I’m Watts.
Once upon a time, I had this blog called Revolting Cogs. What originally started as an extension of the shop and a way to promote timely “hot topics” (You know, like 29ers and disc brakes) almost immediately devolved into… whatever it was. Drunk storytelling (often). Occasional race reports (sometimes). Oversharing (always). And just continued to devolve. But apparently, people read it. Far and wide. I’d be sitting at a bar in a random city in the midwest or northeast or southwest (and once even the middle-east) that I just happened to be passing through, and a stranger would tentatively approach me to say that they really enjoyed my blog.
That was nice. Always surreal… but nice.
Then I admit, I kind of lost it.
Not mentally, mind you. (But ok, sure…) But not in some dramatic “lost it” way. Sheesh. I mean, I didn’t flip the fuck out or anything (But ok, sure…). I just… stopped. At a time when I probably could have harnessed some of that energy and notoriety into something, instead I just sighed and closed my laptop. Writing was making me anxious. Not panic-attack anxious, mind you (But ok, sure…). Just… bored. Stressed. I felt empty. And the things I was saying felt not only increasingly bitter, but trite and repetitious. And to be yet another bitter, trite, and repetitious male voice in the world, moreover the world of cycling, felt… dumb. And I already felt dumb enough most days. No need to compound that.
But dumb or not, I missed it. Missed the catharsis. The exercise and practice of pairing words and playing with syntax, finding a way to express a feeling or idea in a way I couldn’t or wouldn’t say it otherwise. Even if I had to circle and repeat that idea a million times before I was “happy” with it.
From time to time, I’d try to put something back out there and rekindle some pep or verve or momentum. Perpetually editing an endless, irrelevant draft. Or I’d publish part-one of a three-parter that ended before part-two. It felt silly. Vain. Useless. Lot’s of “why am I doing this again?” Less a maudlin social media pronouncement ala “Hey everybody I’m taking a break from this platform for my mental health but I desperately need you all to know that and validate it and still please pay attention to me because what if I disappear and none of you even notice oh my god oh shit I’m nobody I’m nothing oh god” and more “Ugh. I don’t feel particularly smart or together these days and I’m not happy with these words right now, so what if I just… don’t?”
But the problem with “don’t” for too long is that it can be hard to eventually “do.” Hard to get back into anything even remotely resembling a groove. Writing, like drawing, or so many other outlets, is also an exercise, and when you stop doing it, you lose some of that adroitness and fluidity of expression (in whatever amounts you may possess). So it can be disheartening to start up and flounder. But then… if I can successfully re-train myself to drink water and take vitamins and brush and floss every night … I can do this. And just like brushing or flossing, you don’t have to make a big fucking deal about starting to do it. Sure, you can wait until Monday because only psychos start cultivating healthy routines on a Wednesday, but there’s no need for a “Hey everybody, I know I haven’t really been active in this bothering-to-take-care-of-my-fucking-teeth platform lately, but now I am and I really need you all to know because otherwise why am I doing it oh god oh shit I’m nobody oh god”
(Wait. Is that what I’m doing right now?)
Anyway, One of my absurd self-imposed stumbling blocks to getting back to writing was the very concept of a “blog.” A blog? Like… Flemish For Poseur? Like… Brickhouse Racing? Team JRA? Team Robot? Team Dicky? Somehow it felt more dated than a zine. Do people still make zines? Like… at Kinkos? Do people even still read? Would they read this? Should they read this? Aren’t I supposed to be Youtubing or something? But a blog? With a URL of “blogspot?” Isn’t that like having a Myspace page? Or an email address that ends in aol or hotmail? Is that even legal anymore?
So I latched onto this idea of having a website. Something more “professional.” The rough equivalent of me needing to clean my room or arrange these pens before sitting down to study. As if that would be the impetus I needed to get motivated and really ” do it.” Would it still just be a fucking blog? Of course. I don’t even know how to do anything else. But it would be very grown up. Because it’s a website. Not a blog.
So here it is.
Will I update it semi-regularly? Sigh, that’s the plan. Shit, I might even upload some videos or something. Put out a podcast with my goose-honk of a voice interviewing some no-longer-relevant icon from what is likely the-worst-ever-era-of-cycling. (Even though Stevil took the name REVOLTING for his podcast and I’m still peeved with him for it.) Does it pretty much look the same as my old blog, but arguably worse? Maybe. Look, I’m no hacker. Computers are hard.
Am I still empty inside? My left foot is tingling. Does that count as feeling?
Am I still bitter? Yes, but I’m also salty, so there’s nuance.
Am I still trite? I mean… “it is what it is.”
Let’s see what happens.