In Salute of Retroist!

Consider this an love letter/tribute/ode of appreciation to my second writing home for the last four years.

Interested In Writing For Us?

In 2014, I clicked like on a Facebook page called “Retroist,” and was treated to a wealth of goodies. Much of it was nostalgia I knew and loved, but some of it was nostalgia I never knew I needed to see, or ever knew existed (if it was before my time).

In early 2015, I saw a post one day asking for contributors to the site, which intrigued me.  I loved writing, but had been going through a bit of a personal low over the last few months (relationship issues and an ankle injury were getting the better of me).  I knew this wasn’t a paying writing job, but I really wanted to see what it was all about.  Throwing not caution to the wind, I sent an email to ask about it, and was greeted with a friendly email from a guy named Vic Sage.  I loved the tone of his email, and really felt this was a good opportunity to write about something I’m quite passionate about.

Getting Started…

While that didn’t happen until a few months later, things started to change from there.  I ended the relationship (believe it or not, the day after I got the email response!), and my grandmother passed away.  I wrote a tribute to her on my previous blog, and while it was a small spark that got me motivated into writing again, it hadn’t quite reignited the love yet.  No worries, things come of their own accord.

A blog change (from Blogger to WordPress in search of “fresh air”) was actually the kick I needed to get me going completely.  I spent the last Sunday of June writing in my bedroom.  The entire afternoon was spent on my laptop, hammering out a prospective piece for this great new opportunity.  I had emailed Vic back and told him I’d like to write for Retroist, if Retroist would like to have me.  That was a go, so there I was, passionately writing my first Retroist piece.  That piece, you ask? One of my many mentions of the video game console Action Max, but specifically about the rarest game available for the console (and arguably, the best one because the source material is from an actual movie), Blue Thunder.  It wasn’t my first Action Max piece, for Retroist or otherwise, but it was my first Retroist article, and I was truly proud of myself.

(I’ll do one better, it was published four years ago this week, on July 4, 2015!)

RELATED: The Rarest of the Rare Video Game System – Exploring Action Max’s Blue Thunder VHS Game (First Retroist Article)

The Creativity Just Flows Like Water!

From there, my contributions were weekly or bi-weekly (unfortunately, beginning in April, it was less because of wedding planning and busy weekends), but Retroist was my second home for four years.  I made some great friends from my association with Retroist, people who share the same geeky love for nostalgia I do, a real community of others who enjoy good writing and the occasional obscurity-laced article.  Fan groups tend to overwhelm and annoy me, but this was a group I could love.  I enjoyed the kinship of other writers, and loved communicating with Vic anytime I finished a new post.

I would start my Retroist articles on Friday afternoons during lunch, and sit up until 2 or 3 am on some Friday nights (or just get up at 7:30 or 8 am on Saturday) to finish writing.  If I was doing video commentaries, I tried to do them earlier in the week, usually at night after work.  I would record podcast segments as soon as I got the notification to get it recorded and submitted (more about that to come!).

I wrote about a whole host of topics in that time (190 articles, to be exact!) – Action Max games, toys, cassette players, training videos, instructional videos that taught kids how to be cool or stay safe, production company logos, Rainbow Brite, Kenny Loggins, Chicago, Kenny Loggins, All-4-One, David Foster, Chicago, Kenny Loggins, Chicago again…

You know, all the important stuff of nostalgia, like Kenny Loggins…and Chicago!  And things people do at Kenny Loggins and Chicago concerts…

…you know, white people things!

They must have choreographed that!

I went from contributor, to contributor with site privileges, to contributor with editor, posting, and scheduling privileges, all in my first three years.

Retroist also challenged my comfort zone in a big way…

Podcasts and Videos

Two things I never tried prior to Retroist were podcasts and video commentaries, of which I’ve done more than a few since.  I found that even if I really hated the sound of my voice, or how obvious it was that I’m a fidget on camera, I had to break from my comfort zone (hiding behind my words), and just try something different.  Writing for Retroist gave me the courage (and opportunity) to try something I may not have attempted on my own blog.

I’ve done video commentaries for my own blog, and am even toying with starting a podcast, all thanks to Retroist for forcing me out from behind my protective wall of words!

Screenshot (348)
…and into a corner, where I clearly belong during commentaries!

But alas…

I found out a few weeks ago (while on my honeymoon) that Retroist will be shuttering off, with no new articles from the team of contributors, nor Retroist’s fearless leader himself.  I’m sad to see this aspect of my writing life going away, but also understand the decision to do so.  As someone who took a two-year hiatus from writing/blogging, and went through lulls that made me question (among other things) my penchant for carefully-crafted (and long-winded) prose, I can understand the need to just step back.

As sad as I am to see it all go, I’m happy that Fearless Leader is taking the step away he clearly wants and feels is necessary.  I’ve done it, and I came back with a renewed purpose and drive.  I hope the same for him, and if/when he is ready to retake the reigns and start anew, I will be there, asking to see if I can contribute again.

Movin’ On

On the day that I started writing this, I logged into my Retroist account and entered my two-step authorization code.  Instead of being greeted with the dashboard of latest posts and even any of my drafts, I’m being greeted with my user profile.

It’s Saturday, and normally, I would be awaiting the scheduled publishing of my latest Retroist article, always at 10 am EST (or EDT, depending on what time of year it is!).  Once in a while, the publishing happens on Sunday, but 99% of the time, it would be on Saturday.  Today, however, is not one of those Saturdays.  There won’t be anymore Retroist Saturdays for me.

I’m moving on, albeit with a heavy heart and fingers itchy to write about my passion for nostalgia.  I’ll miss the satisfaction of hearing about how well-received an article is, or seeing one of Vic’s funny blurbs on Facebook that he carefully crafted as his way of sharing my writing with the world.

I’ll keep the nostalgic goodness going here, and bring my Retroist-centric articles to my own blog.  It is the best kind of tribute to a closing chapter of my writing life.

Thank you, Retroist, for giving me a purpose in writing!  I raise my pencil avatar to you!

I Have 190 Articles…

…and you may want to read them!

Allison’s Retroist Profile and Posts (All 190 of Them!)

 

5 thoughts on “In Salute of Retroist!

  1. I learned that ‘something’ was happening several months ago but had no idea that The Retroist would be closing up shop. In 2011 or 2012, I came upon The Retroist and it reminded me of the fondness for a site I frequented in 2000 named, X-Entertainment which vanished and then reappeared years later as Dinosaur Dracula without the articles from the early 00’s soooo, I never really returned.
    I was always interested in the podcast aspect of The Retroist more than the blog, call it lazy or simply a lesson learned from far too many blogs from people who didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. In 2015 I saw your article about the HBO intro and you nailed it! You and I shared the same feelings I had when I would watch that mid 80’s ubiquitous intro on a Saturday Night Premiere for something like Coal Miner’s Daughter or if you’re lucky, Ghostbusters! Your writing is not only honest and funny but there seems to be the goal of painting a picture of the emotions the reader should have. In other writings, I recall your mentions of such things as Olean (deep fried plastic oil or something like that) and the family that carries parmesan cheese in a purse to a restaurant. These little moments are a tiny part of how you, as a writer can pinpoint the hilarious and absurd aspects of the world of ‘retroisms’ I couldn’t be happier that you are continuing your writing and I will be following along with what you are doing.
    From,
    (the podcaster who gets the most hatemail) Mark
    VHS Rewind!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mark! Thank you for your kind words. Whenever I feel like maybe what I’ve accomplished isn’t enough (I’ve worked hard on striking the balance between writing for me akd writing for a prospective audience). I love painting the picture with words (that is my art, I can’t draw for nothing!). I always want to capture the feeling of the initial experience we had when we were young, and how amazing something so ordinary to others can have such a personal impact on those of us who take the time to just pay attention!

      I too loved X-Entertainment. I would read Matt’s articles on the library computers at my college, and sit for hours on my personal computer (in the summer of 2003) and read his tales of visiting a local fair and Macys Thanksgiving Day parade highlights, and that was what I wanted to do! I wanted to capture the feeling of something so ordinary amd make it as extraordinary as the select few lucky ones could see it. It took a long time to get to a place where I felt I could make that impact, and to get the validation that I have, in fact, done so impacts me as a writer and keeps me going with my passion!

      I had a friend who passed away suddenly in 2017, and he was one of my biggest fans. He told me he could hear me laughing and saying to myself “oh that sounds good!” while reading my work. He could hear me reading the articles in my voice, and said that the energy behind everything I write is contagious. I slowly started finding that ouy from others, but it never gets old. It always makes me feel good to know that I have another fan stepping forward!!!

      I have also slowly tried building my confidence to record and make videos, but my schedule doesn’t permit much time to doing so (I have this actual job thing, it supplements my husband’s income). My dream is to do all of this for a living someday. For now though, I love doing what is making me happy.

      I love the VHS Rewind Facebook page. You guys capture the ordinary the way it was intended to be!!

      Like

  2. I’m glad you wrote this, I was really bummed when I read that Retroist was going away. Retroist is how I found your blog, it was always a fun read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I let it sit for a few weeks until I felt I was ready to publish this. I am bummed that the site has basically shuttered with the exception of podcasts. But, as with any passion project, if it becomes more work than passion (a problem I ran into in the past myself), then it is a good idea to step back.

      Im eternally grateful for how I was found, as Ive heard that in the past as well. I have plenty to be thankful for with how Retroist boosted my writing street cred. I’m now carrying what I did there on here, just so that little important part of my writing never goes away!

      Liked by 1 person

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