happy birthday, black witch!

June 10, 2011

Yep, yesterday was June 9th, the very first day that Black Witch had gotten started. So that means this blog/column has only just turned a year old. Oh, how exciting! Before I start, I would like to tell everyone that both voting and donating to send Black Witch to the Black Web Awards Ceremony in L.A. is quickly drawing to a close. There’s only a whole week left (both ends on June 16th) to vote and donate. If you already voted, thank you and see if you could find other computers to vote on (it’s one vote per computer (and smartphones I think)). If you haven’t voted for Black Witch in the Faith Category, do it now:

As for donating, I have dropped the goal down to $500. That leaves $280 left to cover travel and stay. That does sound like a lot but cracking the math, should: 56 people give $5, 28 people give $10, 14 people give $20, that would cover the remainder each and every way. So please donate so that I may represent this column, Afro-Punk and Black Pagans at the live ceremony of the Black Weblog Awards. If the goal isn’t met, then I’ll just donate the money to Afro-Punk.

Onwards with the rest of the column.
I know some readers are expecting the pre-orders for the conglomeration book Black Witch: Life from the Black Pagan Perspective today but there isn’t even a mock-up of the cover so that wouldn’t have fared well. The reason for the delay, to put lightly, is that I’ve had a bumpy May and April so there wasn’t any time to really work on the project. However, I’m only pushing it a month down onto July 9th because I feel that would hopefully give me time to get myself and the project together into a satisfactory state. Otherwise I shall be emo beyond compare.

Now, this is a very wonderful thing I do suppose. I didn’t even think I would have kept up with this blog and especially not as well as I did. I am very much the procrastinating and lazy type, if it seems like Black Witch ran nearly like clockwork, it’s because I am awesome at scheduling and remembering stuff and having a schedule worth caring about. Out of 60+ posts, I have only been late perhaps only 3 or 4 times. And this is with me temporarily losing a laptop cord, traveling overnight from cities, being terribly lazy or even swept up in a game – I have recently been playing American McGee’s Alice and can’t wait to get Alice: Madness Returns – that I have basically been on time, nearly every time for a whole year. That’s a feat for me, generally I get burnt out or go “Meh, who cares?” and find something new to bother with.

I like stats. Stats tell me how I’m doing. Well, on the WordPress side, I don’t know what my stats on Afro-Punk are and I haven’t pestered enough to learn. So here are some numbers:

Since the start of this column/blog:

WordPress views:5,120
Black Witch Fan Page likes:120
Twitter: 69 followers
Posts: 61 (I’m biweekly on Afro-Punk so it’s lower here, I think it’s 30)
Subscribers: 13

Pretty nifty for a first year, yeah? I’ve had my first interview regarding the column/blog and did fun stuff. Some of the cool things that happened:

Going to NYC lots – Since the last Afro-Punk Festival, I think I’ve been to NYC about a dozen or more times from basically one meager (and blistering cold) time back in 2008. I have been in Webster Hall watching DJ cut and scratch with vinyl while ducking an Afro-Punk Christmas Party for three hours (I should mention that I get into particular moods when around crowds and have penchant to disappear for hours at a time. If you have a crowd, chances are good I found a way to hide from it), gone to Tokyo Rebel to stare at pretty Lolita clothes, visited Chinatown tons (I’m glad I can speak Mandarin, albeit rusty) and found fun stuff without really setting foot in Times Square. Oh, the people from Haru Hana, the Korean restaurant I love so very very much with their okonomiyaki (it’s a J-Pub) now recognize me, my order and my weird manner of dress. I have also seen headphones decked out with gold chains. I should have followed that person till I got something out of it.

Notable readers – Now, I’m glad that Kellindo and Nastassia read my column whenever they can (aren’t they nice?) and it great knowing I have readers in Wondaland Arts Society, Janelle Monae’s people. But to have Lupe Fiasco tell me himself he was a reader, I was stunned. That was an interesting – and mildly disgusting – night. It was disgusting because right before I met (*koff*randown*koff*) Lupe Fiasco, I, within an hour, stepped on a dead rat and nearly walked into a bed bug laden mattress that was just laying on the freaking sidewalk. I’m surprised my OCD did not make me go into catatonic shock and I was still mildly coherent when I finally got to Lupe. Alors, ask me about it should you see me at the Afro-Punk Festival and I’ll retell it griot-style. For Lupe to know who I am via my column and even read my feature on his rock side project, Japanese Cartoon, on Afro-Punk, I was ever shocked – and still conducting myself pretty well for someone with rat guts on their pants and shoes and hoping Fiasco don’t notice. Because this is a super entertaining story in person and not in text, I’ll cut it short – I totally fan-girled after I had given Lupe my business card (he asked for it!) and he was wisked away by his management. I still get fan-girly about it and it happened back in February. Also who knows who else been reading? (I’ll be finding out at the Afro-Punk Festival, I’m sure).

Backstage! – One awesome thing about writing for Afro-Punk is the backstage ability. Because I’m around music, concerts and the industry a lot, I am used to getting backstage somehow but being there because you’re part of the contributing staff and such is awesome. Admittedly, I didn’t like being backstage at the Afro-Punk Christmas festival because some things I simply do not tolerate and I’ll disappear over but I do hope that the Afro-Punk Festival will be different. Especially with Janelle Monae and Cee Lo Green being there. I’ll be fan-girling, you bet. Either that or follow Kellindo around like a lost puppy because he’ll be one of the few who I already know personally and that’s the alternative to my disappearing act; I either follow someone familiar and talk their ear off or I stay to myself for hours at a time.

Reputability – My words carry validity! And perhaps a gentle breeze of sway but fear not, I have no minions (yet) and I don’t have enough power to single-handedly create change (yet – maybe). Either it’s luck, my writing is very good or people are scared I’ll jinx them, but I’ve not gotten a single nasty letter yet. I’ve probably only gotten one “diss” about my column and I barely even consider it that considering how flat it fell in attempt to be offensive. The person who said it was fairly mental so I’m not too sure what they were going for but now I joke with my friends about how I was called an “illiterate nerd”. I’m sorry but that was just too funny in how oxymoronic that phrase is. Besides that, I’ve had pretty glowing reviews about my blog/column. I like that people ask me questions for Ask Black Witch, use the links on my site and basically listen to what I have to say. I don’t want to be a writer that talks out their butt all the time because that’s not helping anyone, especially when I am very aware that I have a lot of teen readers. Plus, I could say all sorts of crazy things and go completely off the wall but how would that separate me from other Pagan and Black bloggers that do the exact same thing. Shock value only goes but so far and with very short millage at that. It would be better to be honest and as factual as possible and have respect than to talk crazy and everyone treat me like a laughing stock.

And then there’s stuff I’ve learned:

If you aren’t punctual, fake it – Ah, the wonders of scheduling posts and writing up a bank of columns to use when you’re too tired/lazy/low on time/emo/don’t really care/out of ideas. That’s where scheduling comes in. Get it done on your own time and slap it up there to been seen two weeks later or one week later or whatever and be done with it. That way I don’t sit there and worry about not having a good column out and to not care about it the next time as well.

E-fame is e-fame, no big deal – It’s nice to have a noteworthy column and such but it’s not all my world. I have a life outside of Black Witch that doesn’t involve sitting in front of my computer (or Android) all day or else I wouldn’t have any life experiences to draw on. There’s a whole ‘nother world, even online that doesn’t involve Black Witch and I’m happy for that. I like people to like my work but offline? I’m just another oddly dressed person probably going down the street either with my headphones on or talking to myself (yep I do that, couldn’t care less). It’s only on the computer am I know as Black Witch on three, maybe four sites (Afro-Punk, BW wordpress, Twitter and part of FB) and I’m Kodachi or Kodachi148 everywhere else. It’s a pretty small sphere to trap myself in so I don’t.

Pedestals are high – I hate pedestals. Granted I like keeping a quasi-professional face when running as Black Witch but for real, I ain’t no different from no one else. I’m just another person with a computer and access to the internet and a blog. Herpa derp derp. It’s odd being looked at like, “Omg, you’re Black Witch and you’re talking to me.” It’s not that much of a social medal, believe me. I like honey mustard on my French fries, I’m the laziest thing you’ll meet, I talk way too much (no, seriously, I do. Ask anyone in Wondaland or any of my other friends, I’m a total motormouth) and I’m quite weird socially. That’s why I like conducting myself under my normal screennames or with my real name because I’m treated not like some super interesting thing or whatever. I’m not a person without problems or flaws, I just don’t flag ‘em much on the column. I talk to readers so not to get put on a pedestal, it’s not that amazing for me to acknowledge someone’s existence.

Talk to readers – I know when I comment on people’s works, part of it is to voice my opinion but also in hope I’ll get a response of some sort back. It would make me wonder if the writer even read my comment or it’s just there to be there. I know how it feels so I try to respond to as many readers as I can because no one likes feeling dejected.

Blogging is more work than I thought – It’s nearly a full time gig. Gotta write posts, make sure they make sense (for the most part) and the spelling isn’t jacked up, have to promote the blog, read readers’ responses, respond to readers’ responses, figure out good topics, what the posting schedule is and more. There’s a lot that goes into blogging that isn’t actually writing the content. I’ve fallen asleep at the laptop several times drilling out columns at 3 or 4 in the morning. I have an app on my phone that allows me to write and edit on the go called Documents To Go which is useful because I don’t always have my idea book with me to scribble in. There’s a lot of work that goes into this stuff to make sure Black Witch runs very well.

It’s hard dealing with people sometimes – When it comes to contacting people for The Arts, it’s a total crapshoot. Oftentimes I don’t get a response back from the features unless they’re fairly small and hence grateful. I feature anyway but it gets annoying sometimes because it feels like if I said I was Rolling Stones Magazine, these people would probably be my best friend right now but because I’m fairly no name, it’s a very different story. A very vexing story. Or maybe the person won’t have easy to find contact information which is like, “Dude, I like your work and I want you to know about it. How can I talk to you?” Ugh. Makes me wanna kick people in the shins sometimes. I also wanna kick people in the shins for calling me Black Wiccan and not Black Witch and saying I’m a Black Wiccan when I’m a Black Pagan. Literacy is not a bad thing, man. Read and then respond otherwise I’ll just sit there and go, “What are you talking about?” I barely say Wiccan in any of my columns, I say Pagan more because I’m Pagan, not Wiccan. I have drawn up a venn-diagram that can perhaps help. (Click for a bigger picture)

Now print that out and take a pen or a dry erase marker if you seriously want to write on your screen (why?) and put an X in the “Witch” bubble. That’s where Black Witch is situated. Not in “Wiccan”, not in the join, definitely not in “Fluffy Bunnies” but “Witch”. It’s that simple.

Getting responses can be tough sometimes – I know Ask Black Witch isn’t a constant on the Afro-Punk side of BW but even when it was sometimes, it would be hard to get questions. I would see that people click on the links I offer (such as the Ask Black Witch submission form) buuuuuuut very few questions. It’s a leeeettle aggravating, especially when people can’t even get my name right (I’m Black Witch, not Black Wiccan) or my religion correct (I’m Pagan, not Wiccan) so I much rather get a question than people thinking they’re probably alright. I understand people don’t want to ask stupid questions but a stupid question is “Do y’all fly on broomsticks and turn into cats?” not, “What’s the difference between a Pagan and a Wiccan and is Voodoo bad?” The question may be a little dimwitted but that’s primarily to me, the person who knows this stuff and will still try to answer because it’s still legit. There’s been a couple months I’ve had without a single question and I would wing them thankfully with something else just as important or a general question. Those are few but they do happen or nearly happen. I sometimes think people are scared to ask me questions because they think I’ll hex ‘em or something if I don’t like it. Nah, I’m just gonna show it to my friends and laugh about it instead. God knows I’ve sent poor Kellindo silly Top search results that people use to find my blog that has his name in them. I’m surprised with some of them he hasn’t developed a phobia of the internet or his fans yet. Long story short, send me questions.

Have a plan – Can’t wait for the world to happen, just gotta go out and do it yourself. It is weird because it means having changes you’re not accustomed to (I actually don’t like introducing myself as Black Witch because that’s not my name but ‘ey, gotta do it anyways. It’s just a weird moment each and every time ‘till I get used to it I guess) and to be a go-getter I suppose. I have to think about stuff such as what’s my stance on features for The Arts, do I acknowledge global tragedies and what will I, won’t I or should I say on my column? It’s not my personal blog so I just can’t go out there and say anything because there’s a theme to stick to. Besides, I have a personal blog already so mental barf is sustained, I just need intellectual mental barf here. That means learning how to multi-manage and multi-task with websites, fan pages, twitters and other stuff to definitely look into. It’s really not easy but possible.

So that’s the anniversary post, I’m very happy Black Witch has gotten this far and been so constant, I hope the next year will be even better.

Don’t forget to send questions! This blog is full of ways to contact me! And don’t forget to vote and donate to send Black Witch to the Black Weblog Awards in L.A. on July 9th! Only one week left to vote and donate! Everything ends on June 16th.