Sunday, July 08, 2012

Jim's World or How I almost ended Third


You're reading a new edition this week.

That almost didn't happen.

I'm not just referring to the fact that C.I. refused to decide whether to continue for another six months until July 4th.

This site was supposed to go dark right after the 2008 presidential election.  We made that plan back in the summer of 2005 and announced it.  Due to Fringe, that didn't happen.  Ava and C.I. were disappointed in the new Fox show and made that clear to friends with the show, especially to one writer.  Specifically, they were bothered by the lack of women.  They were asked to wait a few months before weighing in because the show was addressing that.  So they announced in an article that they'd review the show in the spring.  They didn't realize they'd just extended the life of this website until after readers pointed it out.  Since then, we've been on a six month renewal.  Every six months, C.I. decides if she wants to continue or not.

The latest renewal was up July 4th and generally C.I. says a week or two before, "It's going to be another six months."  She usually says that in the gina & krista round-robin because Gina usually asks her.  Gina did her part for three roundtables over three weeks and, this go round, C.I. repeatedly said, "I'm just not sure.  I'll decide on the Fourth.   I plan to sleep in, for a change, and then when I get up, I'll figure out what I feel."

So with that being the attitude, last weekend wasn't the best time for things not to go smoothly.  But they didn't.

And there were loud arguments as a result.

Ava matched me in loudness.

The chief problem was that they wrote "TV: A week of hating women" which was a pain in the ass to write because Ava and C.I. had to cover many topics but there wasn't enough room for all topics. So after they wrote the piece, they edited and edited and edited and finally got it down to three solid examples and a readable size.  (Though many readers would argue that Ava and C.I. could write an article the length of The Winds Of War and they'd be happy to read it.)

While they were doing that, we were supposed to be focused and "we" weren't in that I wasn't.

They must have worked three or four hours on writing their article.  And then they come back with it and I read it outloud to everyone, we all love it and Ava wants to know how much we wrote?

We had nothing useable.

Ava was furious arguing that she and C.I. had busted their butts for hours on that article and, during this whole time,  there wasn't even one article we could point to as 'finished' and ready to run?

They, Kat and Wally rushed off to the side with Dona to do "Congress and veterans."  When that was done -- and Dona stuck to a very strict time limit and didn't let it wonder -- they rejoined us and Ava wanted to know what was done.

I'm saying "Ava" but everyone involved knows if one of them speaks, you've just heard from both of them.

Ava and C.I. bonded the first weekend.  They are a team of two within the team of six of us that make up Third.

When C.I. finally spoke, she pointed out what most would expect her to.  We had stayed up all night and the edition wasn't done and now we'd have to come back later in the night and work on it.  Isaiah had worked on it and would have to now try to grab sleep, try to come back and work on the rest of the edition and still come up with a new comic tonight.

"He's not doing it," she told me.  "Isaiah, you're benched.  Jim, I'm going to have a lot of e-mails asking me where Isaiah's new comic is and why I didn't announce he had the weekend off?  And that's all because time has been wasted."

Being me, I wanted to argue.  Dona, in all her infinite wisdom, told me, "You're losing, just shut up before you lose even more."

So I did.

But it was only after we finished the edition that night -- minutes before midnight PST -- that I was talking to Jess and he mentioned how sick of it Ava and C.I. were.

What do you mean, I asked him?

Jess drops the bombshell, this is the sort of thing that's really going to factor in on C.I.'s decision Wednesday.

I had no idea (a) it was that serious or (b) that the decision to extend hadn't already been made.

My first thought was to run to C.I. and say, "Look, won't happen again."

But I knew it would and you can be sure she did.

And as I absorbed that, I realized that whatever she decided was going to be the right thing.

It is going to be time to close shop at some point.  Right now, we're extended up to the start of the new year.

When that time comes, it comes.  And life will go on.

During the days leading up to Wednesday, I thought a lot about what sort of lessons might be evident in all these years of Third?

And what I kept coming back to is group writing.

Group writing forced us to write sharper and clearer and made us discuss and debate.  That doesn't lead to quick writing, to be sure.

But it was probably a mistake in terms of time -- only in terms of time -- to have opened Third up.  Everyone who participates is valued and appreciated.  But when you've got, for example, 15 people working on writing one article, you're going to move a lot slower than with a group of six -- and you're already moving slow with a group of six.

So that's the past, what about the future?

Chief question is: When is the fiction edition?

And a number of you were worried that not only would this site go dark, it would do so before the fiction edition.

I thought we'd do it next weekend.  Everyone will be together -- everyone's hanging out at C.I.'s place -- and we could do it face-to-face for a change.

That's not happening.  Ava and C.I. do not want it next weekend because the Green Party Convention takes place this week.  And they want us to note the convention in some way, in original writing.  That's a good point and so we're not doing it next weekend.  Right now, it's for the Sunday after next.  But that's written with a pencil, it can be erased.  But we do plan on doing the fiction edition.  We're not altering our plans, we're not scrapping it.

And, the good news, we do have six more months of weekly editions.

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