A little over a year ago I was sitting at a downtown diner with my friend Natalie Dorsett, and I found myself at a crossroads in my life as a writer. I was unhappy with my creative path, and COVID had changed everything. I was no longer in love with the work I was then doing, unable to connect with people due to the pandemic, suffering of writers block, and concerned with the ownership of my thoughts and my personal voice, as well as the integrity of my work and my transparency with my audience. Something had to change, because I was turning into a writer who no longer was writing.
Now Natalie was the right person to be with that day because, like many other friends over the years, she had been encouraging me to create my own brand. Something uniquely mine that had my name all over it. But, like so many times before, when she, as well as others, brought it up to me all I could think of was that I’d be starting back at the beginning with no audience. I was used to hundreds of people reading my work. If I start again at the beginning, who will I be writing for? Who will read it?
And that was when Natalie said something that changed everything. She said to me “If ten people read your article then you’ve done your job.” Well friends, a year ago today we launched samtweedle.com, and far more than ten people have come and read my articles. I guess I’ve done my job, and there is a lot more to come.
Looking back at where we started a year ago, I realize that samtweedle.com was a bit of a mess, because I wasn’t sure what it was going to look like. I was like a kid in a candy store, grabbong at ideas and opportunities, trying to build off of what I had done before and trying to find a new type of narrative to explore. After a few missteps, I feel that samtweedle.com has managed to carve out its own identity, and will continue to define itself in the next year of its life.
Samtweedle.com is not a news site, and its not a review site. It’s not a pop culture site, and it’s not an entertainment magazine. What samtweedle.com has become is a place where i can celebrate the stories of the people I am lucky to interact with, from within my community and beyond. Currently I believe that I am on a special path in my career as a writer to use the way that I interact with others, have them tell me their stories, and then I can take the things they say and weave it into a narrative that goes into the universe. This is the way that I am able to celebrate the human spirit, and to celebrate the incredible lives and accomplishments of people everywhere. For now, this is the type of writing I want to do.
Each time someone sits down to talk with me, they are trusting me with their words and are putting faith in me to treat their story with respect, dignity, intelligence and integrity. This is so valuable to me, as I have been on the other end of people getting my story wrong, or misunderstanding the things I want to say. So each time I’m given the opportunity to interview someone, I believe that trust, as well as the time each person gives me, is a gift to be valued. Continuing my profile pieces, and telling these types of stories will be my focus in the second year of samtweedle.com.
So who am I profiling? Are you like me? Do you walk down the street, or sit in a restaurant, or ride on the bus and notice interesting looking people and wonder what their story is? I believe that everyone has a story to tell, and I want to hear them. I am always making lists of people I want to proflle. Some are people I know, others are people I only know of, and some are just people who I’ve been told about. Many are people I haven’t even met. Sometimes I meet people and I don’t even know what the story is, but I know I want to collaborate with them. I just need to figure out when and how.
Often I am surprised that some of the most fascinating people I speak to are ones who have never been interviewed, and never been profiled, until I sit down and talk to them. Someone like PJ Thomas, who is a fascinating and lovely woman with so much vision whose words have moved my community had never told her story until I spoke with her in July. Another interviewee, Deven English, was a woman who was a lost figure to pop culture until I found her and interviewed her last winter. How many people are out there with incredible stories to tell that have yet to be profiled? As I work through the musicians, artists, actors and performers I want to profile, I hope to hit on some of these other people who, until now, have been living in the corners of our community. I also want to expand away from the arts world and look at stories that expose a different type of human element within activisim, survival and world knowledge.
But while a lot of things worked this first year, there is a lot of work yet to be done in order to make this web-site a success. One of the biggest problems has been trying to connect with people during a pandemic, which was the result of a lot of starting and stopping, resulting in an inconsistency of new material finding its way to the site. Part of this was due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, while other times it was due to inactivity as I navigated through my own emotional state during these hard times. Also, while I believe that we got samtweedle.com up and running, I am not convinced that I was able to push the brand as far as I would have liked to. While my articles have reached an audience, I believe there is a lot larger audience to be reached through a wider range of stories and media platforms. I’m trying to figure out all of these new social media things the kids are using today and, wow, do I have a lot to learn. My hope is that in the next year samtweedle.com will become a place that people come weekly. In the meantime, if you like what you read I hope you will continue to share the articles with your people.
Of course, I want to thank a few people who have made the first year of samtweedle.com the positive experience it has become.
Thank you to Samantha Moss who has become my creative partner to me in our continuing Another Sam and Sam Production profiles. Samantha is a genius photographer and the images she creates is art. I am so lucky and so blessed to be working with her and collaborating with Sam has become the most enjoyable creative experiences I have ever had. Thank you for creating a visual vibe for my work, and for making my words look so good.
Thank you to Martin Boruta for not only creating samtweedle.com, but also making changes, fixing glitches and putting up with all my questions and trivial requests. Without Martin and Shaw Computers samtweedle.com would not be a reality, and I hope Martin knows that his act of kindness at creating this site has been a major lifeline to me during a shaky year, and I appreciate it tremendously.
Thank you to Jessica Scott who has just begun to travel with me on some of my adventures. Jess is a glow of positivity who is a delight to be with, and her enthusiasm has been refreshing. In the next yar I suspect we’ll be featuring much more of her work.
Thank you to Harlan Boll of B. Harlan Boll Public Relations who has been my connection in Los Angeles and has brought samtweedle.com the majority of its celebrity interviews in the past year. I didn’t know I’d be going back in that direction of writing, but during times of lockdowns when I couldn’t’ connect with people in my community, getting on a phone with a pop culture icon was a way to continue creating content. It’s been a success, and people love these stories as much as I love preparing them. Thank you for trusting me with your clients Harlan, and for allowing me to reenter this world after a long absence. Its been a thrill to do celebrity stories again for both me and my audience.
But most of all thank you to all the people who have supported me in many ways over the past year. The people who have sat down to allow me to share their stories, and have allowed me in their homes and work spaces, and the friends who have driven me to interviews and encouraged me, listened to my self doubt and victories, given me story ideas and, most of all, who have read and shared posts from samtweedle.com. All of you have been the reason I write. Without that connection with you I wouldn’t have a reason to write.
Thank you so much everyone for an incredible first year. I look forward to see how far we come a year from now.
Lets tell some stories together,