Posted by: Brad Nixon | November 4, 2010

And Now: Year Two

Today, November 4, is the first anniversary of the launch of Under Western Skies. Many of you have been steady and supportive readers for all or most of this time, and I thank you for your kind attention. If you’ve read every article, please consider yourself  a charter member of the UWS Readers’ Hall of Fame!

You regular readers know my fascination with statistics. This is entry #222. Since the average article here is around 1,000 words, that means that this year I’ve written roughly a quarter of a million words. That’s the equivalent of several full-size novels, although, of course, without the overarching structure or characters or unity of style required for a novel or any other highly structured narrative form.

I’ve enjoyed this year of writing more than I ever expected to. Under Western Skies now represents the most sustained writing experience of my life. What’s been better than anything else about it is the fact that there were readers every day; every time I posted something new, someone read it. Sometimes a handful, and, on a few occasions, hundreds. It’s great to have readers. Thank you.

I’ve just looked back at the initial UWS entry, The Blog is Born. I honestly didn’t remember what I’d written in that first piece a year ago. I’m taken aback to find out that it was only 165 words long and introduced our recurring friends, Steve, Ward and Ozzie: a flippant, tossed-off piece when contrasted with the longer posts that have come to be the typical Under Western Skies article. I’m glad I started out on a light note. There’s enough dudgeon and dread  poured into our ears and eyes every day without adding to the accumulating burden.

Neither that first post, nor any subsequent one, explained why I started to do this. My goal was to establish a daily writing exercise, because I was stalled. After 25 years of writing for a living in the business arena, and occasionally toiling at something more creative outside that world, I began to feel time’s winged chariot hurrying near. I had never devoted any substantial effort to writing, writing, writing. I determined that, whether or not I had any readers, I would launch Under Western Skies as a way to steadily, regularly sit down five days a week and write something as well as I could on that day, and then do it again the next day and then again the next day after that.

A few times, it’s been a bit of a burden, I’ll admit. The Portland Powell’s Pundit advised me early on not to worry about sticking to the schedule since it’s not as if the checks wouldn’t come in if I missed a day or two: there aren’t any checks! Still, the idea was not so much one of output, but of commitment. I’ve missed plenty of days along the way (hmm… 222 divided by [52 weeks times 5=260] = 85%: a “B”), and a couple of times I skipped entire weeks, especially when work put me on the road. That Powellian advice helped then.

I’ve also had the benefit of some outstanding guest writers, and I thank John DeBello, Joe Henderson and Julie Nixon for their exceptional contributions during the year. I also thank The Counselor — editor, critic and inspiration — for essential advice and encouragement throughout the year.

If this sounds like farewell, it is not. But it is time for a change. Since the motivation for establishing Under Western Skies was to discipline myself into a program of writing regularly so that I could pursue some long-time writing goals, and since I have more or less established that discipline, it’s time for me to channel some of my energy into work that won’t always be a 1,000 or 1,500-word blog entry, and which might take a long time to see the light of day. That’s what I’m going to do. I hope that you’ll have an opportunity, sooner than later, to read what emerges, and I hope you’ll wish me well.

Meanwhile, Under Western Skies will continue, but with fewer weekly articles. I’m going to set a goal of a minimum of two posts per week instead of 5, and more, when I can. Check here for something new on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When you do, you might also find that there’s an additional piece, as well, probably posted on the odd Monday or Tuesday. Most of you faithful readers either subscribe to the e-mail notifications or get a notice via Facebook, and that will not change. I’m always grateful when you forward or tweet or post to Facebook, because that gives us all chance to have other people included in our little corner of the blogosphere. The entire cast, including Marcel, Steve, Ward, Ozzie, Brumfield and Attila will come along, and we’ll look for new opportunities to punctuate the inflatosphere of boorishness whenever we may.

Last November 4th, I did not honestly believe that I would make it stick. I never thought that I would turn out something like 5,000 words a week for more than a month or two without tailing off. You have made the difference. Let me say again that the absolutely best aspect of this year’s journey has been having you along with me. Your comments, e-mails and encouragement have made writing five days a week a sheer pleasure. Thank you. I hope you will continue to read, comment, and challenge all of us.

Let’s see where we are in another year, and, who knows, maybe another one after that.

Oobop Shebam.



  1. happy anniversary!


  2. Congrats Brad, looking forward to future writings.


  3. Decidedly, I am not a writer. However, I do on occasion read books and magazines, whose contribution to my overall sense of wellbeing is dubious, at best. And I have noticed that the writers of these works seem to give an acknowledgment of some sort, usually at the beginning, to those who have made a contribution to the enterprise. This practice, I would suggest, is fraught with peril, especially where the list of contributors is long, and the acknowledgment short. Why? Those omitted will feel slighted and complain to all their friends and associates. Readership will then fall off, sales plummet, and the writers will lose their jobs (or meager share of the profits, if any).

    On the other hand, artists (of which I claim to be one, tho’ I have never sold a painting), have no such dilemma. You will find no list of contributors on any painting, statue or sculpture. You will see only one name, if any: the artist claiming to have done the work. We artists simply take ALL of the credit for ourselves, regardless of the number of understudies or co-workers who have contributed to the artwork. This approach totally avoids the problem of whom to give credit, and whom to leave out. And while the list of an artist’s friends may not be long, at least the prospect for generating many enemies is enriched with every work produced. 🙂

    Rock on!


  4. Congratulations with this milestone Brad. I must admit I haven’t come around to reading much off late. Come to think of it haven’t gotten around to much other than work of late. But I will try to catch up a bit before we meet again. Keep up the good work.



  5. Congratulations on your admirable commitment and achievement! Best wishes for another year and for all your other writing pursuits.


  6. I see by the “time stamp” of The Counselor’s post that she has another late night at the office. Sigh. . . Well, best wishes and congrats to her, too, for her artistic achievements and pursuits! (One does not live by bread alone, eh, mon amis?)


  7. Keep it coming bro. Love the blog and looking forward to what you have coming next.


  8. Hear, hear!


  9. Happy anniversary! Looking forward to more words and thoughts in the next year.


  10. Congratulations Mr. Brad.

    So, sounds like a book might be in the making. If you are looking for someone to make a great cover, or some other print production, PDFy type of file, I might know an unemployed print production/graphics guy that would be happy to help.



Leave a Comment. I enjoy hearing from readers.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: