Hello, dear friends and readers! Right now is an exciting and fun time for me to be writing here at Mage in a Barrel. As you all should know by now, the blog succeeded in reaching (and surpassing!) the goal of upgrading to WordPress premium and I recently closed out one of the biggest projects I’ve ever attempted on here with my final episodic post for Hyouka going up last Sunday. As always, I’m hugely grateful for your readership and support—you guys make it a lot of fun to keep this project running.
(If you want to get to the part of this where you tell me to do things, scroll to the bottom of the post.)
Mage in a Barrel hit two years old earlier this month (February 10th is the official date I consider the site in its current form to have come into existence, even though there are posts that date back to earlier than that), which means I’ve escaped the dreaded two-year anniversary death as observed by Scamp over at The Cart Driver (although I’d argue aniblogging culture is in a much different place now that it was when he made that post back in 2010). In that time, this project I first started to keep myself from dying of boredom while studying abroad with a mere two hours of class each day and no homework has catalogued 434 posts (at least 400 of them containing what I’d consider to be “proper content”), nearly hit 4000 cumulative comments, eclipsed 200,000 unique visitors, and (by the time this post has published) will have surpassed half a million individual page views.
I don’t bring up all these numbers to brag—I still consider myself a relatively small fish in the aniblogging (and overall online anime fandom) pond—only to note that Mage in a Barrel has turned into something I really didn’t expect it to turn into. Despite a handful of short breaks, I’ve been pretty consistent about posting—and this over some major life transitions like living alone for the first time, graduating from college, and learning how to be an adult. This site has been something of a stabilizing factor for me; I honestly cannot imagine how awful my transition from college to a full-time job would have been for me had I not had this site around to give me a never-ending cycle of short term goals for self-improvement and creativity.
All this is really to say that Mage in a Barrel has wound up being pretty important to me, and to say I’m not proud of the work I’ve done here would be a lie. I am proud. I think I’ve written some good things, and the feedback I get from people has let me know I’m appreciated and that my work has meaning for people beyond myself. That’s an incredibly precious thing for me to be able to have.
However! I’d also like to note that Mage in a Barrel would not exist as it is now without me continually trying to reinvent what I do here and to stretch my boundaries. That’s both so I don’t get bored and so I can continue to offer you, my readers, interesting stuff to read that isn’t just rehashes of the same things I’ve always said. My Hyouka project (which essentially ran for half a year) was really, at its core, a concentrated effort to do exactly that—and on that front I feel it succeeded marvelously (at least from my perspective). I’m also finding that my urges to rewatch things I love but haven’t seen in a while (see my recent Nekomonogatari: Shiro post) are helping me to pull out thoughts and feelings I had, but wasn’t able to articulate at the time. And discovering older and different kinds of show, like Macross, has continued to expand my personal taste and give me different things to write about.
To this point in Mage in a Barrel‘s existence, these kinds of reinventions have mostly come from my own direction, but I’ve recently come to believe that limiting myself solely to what I’m thinking is silly and unneeded. There are so many other perspectives and thoughts out there—and some of them show up in my comments on a weekly basis. In other words, I’m saying I’d like to hear back from you guys—you people who read this blog on a regular (or even infrequent!) basis—what kinds of writing would you like to see from me in the future?
To let you know what I’m thinking on my end, here’s kind of my vision for Mage in a Barrel right now. I want to start up a new episodic series (more on that below), but I’m going to switch its publishing schedule to Thursday/Friday instead of Saturday/Sunday. The reason: episodic write-ups are easier to focus on in the middle of my work week because they are so pointed towards a specific twenty-odd minutes of content. This will leave my weekends open for more conceptual, editorial kinds of writing—for the times when I’m less harried to finish writing stuff in the short time before bed and more able to let my ideas breathe (or just execute them!).
So, what do I want to hear from you guys? A couple of things:
- Suggestions for shows you’d like to see me cover episodically in the future. Right now, I’d really dig getting to dive into a shortish robot show (Giant Robo or maybe some Gundam OVA series).
- Types of editorial-ish writing you’d like to see. This can be as narrow as “I’d sort of like you to write on X topic” or be as broad as “what if you did X structural thing?”
Fair warning, of course—nothing’s guaranteed since I still have to be personally interested in writing about a particular thing, but as I’ve said: I’m looking for new and interesting stuff to do (I’ve been spending a lot of time on a handful of blogs I like for pulling out ideas and philosophies on blogging, too).
Wow…what I intended to have just be a simple request for suggestions really turned out to be a full-sized post thing. I think I have a problem…