In all the years I’ve spent writing professionally about music, I can’t remember a single time when I wasn’t at least a little bit worried about whether I had it in me to stick with it even as I got older and various aspects of my life changed in ways that are perhaps not conducive to the necessarily hectic lifestyle of a music critic. Few of us do, after all, and it’s been quite a while since I really tried convincing myself I was among them.
Earlier this year, I got a fancy new title: Exexutive Editor. It sounded nice, I thought, and it maybe reflected some of the new responsibilities I’d taken on at the company in recent years: assigning and editing nearly all of our online content, dealing with things like budgets and hiring and just generally going to a lot of meetings and bullshit like that. It was never expressly stated by anyone that I would or would not continue writing about music—but when faced with no actual deadlines or requirements, I just sorta stopped.
At first it was gradual: I’d started writing a short-lived column called, jokingly, The 10 Best Things Right Now, where I talked about a smattering of new releases but focused mostly on weird old stuff I always wound up listening to in my own time anyway. After a few months of that, I think things got all crazy with the Northside Festival or something , and the column faded away as well. With the exception of a few short blog posts here and there, I haven’t written about music at all since June.
And it’s been weird. The only thing I can compare it too, actually, is when I quit smoking a few years back, after I found out my wife was pregnant. I’d smoked for years, and as dumb as it sounds now, it felt like an integral part of who I was. Without cigarettes, I just didn’t feel like myself. I felt like I couldn’t relate to people in the same way I always had, which is honestly a really scary thing to have happen to you when you’re 31 years old.