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And the shouting, again

A year ago I felt hopeless. I was a few months out of journalism school, patching together freelance gigs and sending out resumes.

I clicked through days, alternating digging myself into an Internet hole and blankly staring at the Golf Channel. I watched a lot – way too much –of the European Tour. It was some half-delusional, half-melancholic state, fading in and out weeks at a time.

As young, hopeless writers are wont to do, I started a blog (with my once and soon-to-be-again roommate Mike). The Tumult was born out of feeling stalled. The writing muscles had gone weak, I could feel it, and wanted an outlet to dump thoughts. Looking back it was a way to feel immediately of use: sending resumes has no physical reward, but writing a post makes a nice closed loop.

A year ago, I read like a mad man because I had nothing else to do. And I read a lot of Grantland, because that site held a special place in my mind. I found it in college, and you only need so much to push you toward some stupid hope for a career in writing. After months of uncertainty, Grantland had its plug pulled Friday. There are countless obituaries for the site, many from the writers themselves, and you should go read those.

But just let the record show: I think reading Grantland changed my course. It made me want to try journalism. It took on everything. It was relentless and weird, smart but void of snark, clear-eyed without cynicism. It took deep dives into Kyle Korver’s reimagined career through off-ball movement. It went to Selma with President Obama. It, almost in passing, gave me my favorite band. It gave me writers I admired. It told you about driving alone, miles behind and before you, thumping the steering wheel, and feeling the most like yourself.

I went to journalism school because I wanted a shot at writing something that could make someone else feel the way I did reading Grantland. And a year ago, I read the site and I reminded myself, that yes, this was what I wanted to try to do.

A year later I’m a full-time working writer, and sure, sometimes I still feel that itchy, buggy thought – maybe you’re not good enough – but I’m pressing on and I’m doing some work I’m proud to share. Last November feels worlds away: sitting on my parents’ couch typing blank, fleeting thoughts.

When it came time to name this blog, I wanted to name it The Tumult and the Shouting. Mike cut it down to The Tumult. It was a nod to Grantland’s patron saint, sports writer Grantland Rice.

I wanted to write for The Tumult with that site’s same unrelenting ethos. I wanted to feel myself inch closer to not hating my writing again. I’ll miss Grantland because, selfishly, I enjoyed reading it. But its writers will keep writing and something new and great will come along again. Still, I’ll miss that site because it made me want to do this, and I’m thankful.

For a while I’ve been considering coming back to The Tumult, which faded away as myself and Mike got jobs and moved to New York. Posting quick thoughts to a blog is the closest thing I’ve had to a diary. Selfishly, I like the mind-clearing feeling it gives. I can’t promise I’ll write here often, but I don’t want to let it go.

I think it’s because The Tumult served a purpose for me when I felt a gnawing, hanging atmosphere of purposelessness. The Tumult’s hosting recently went up for renewal. We could have let it go dark, but I didn’t want to let the site die.

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