Monday, October 29, 2007

Secret's Out - Stylus Magazine: 2002-2007

Confession: I'd never heard of Stylus before May this year. I'd graduated from college and, desperate to score a music-writing gig, emailed the head editor of every contactable publication Metacritic listed with a resume and samples. Todd Burns, an alternate universe's would-be Ryan Schrieber, took a chance on me. The college I went to was nothing special, my GPA eventually shook itself out at 3.0. I'd never been professionally published. But I'm so, so glad he saw something. This summer, I didn't find any special postgraduate jobs. I'm living in my childhood bedroom and I have exactly 6 hours scheduled at FYE next week. I'll be making about $42, give or take. But that stuff will come eventually (I hope). If I'd known all the five years of rich stuff I missed on Stylus (which I caught up on this summer as much as I possibly could, which was easy being jobless), I still would've picked the voluntary writing gig over a paying job in an either/or situation.

The almost six-month time that I've written there and learned not to act like a total dick on the message board...it was probably the most fulfilling social situation I've ever had. I hope that doesn't read pathetic; those guys are all geniuses, real-life contact or not...Nick Southall, the first writer who struck me as something fantastic there, scored Stylus' only ever entry in Da Capo's Best Music Writing this year. Several others deserve to eventually. I really hope they stay in touch. I need coattails to ride if nothing else. I'm really proud of any achievement I thought of in the midst of working with 'em. I'm a better writer now. Still trying to be a better person. But I am a better writer now. And without Burns, I wouldn't have scored the opportunity to write for the Village Voice, this Christgau/Breihan/Savage addict's longtime dream. Which I hope I won't screw up.

And now the obligatory Stylus requiem. I'll stick with the Mathers-approved one I've already posted on ILM and elsewhere:

"What i'll miss most about Stylus is its commitment to doubt, that every canonized treasure or forgotten misunderstood cult item deserves a rebuttal or an appeal. Up can be down, and the skepticism actually makes to it print. The site wasn't a collection of staff-wide endorsements. I'm gonna miss it."

Now head over and read Todd's perfectly compiled (natch) guide to the site's greatest hits.

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