I began this decade by creating a blog about the greatest decade ever. Time flies! In those humble beginnings, this site had an average of 4 views a day in the first month. The following month, there was an average of a whopping 2 views a day. But, slowly I have been able to reach more and more people. Today, there are 131 people subscribed to this page. There are over 1,500 Twitter followers, and just last week, the Return to the ’80s Facebook page passed 1,500 Likes!
In the beginning of THE decade – 1980 – I developed a love for writing. I always had an active imagination, but did not have an outlet for it. When I was 9 or 10 years old, I found that writing could be very fun if it didn’t have anything to do with any kind of schoolwork. I had a spiral notebook, which I was probably supposed to use for school. Instead of doing homework, I wrote my first story…a 23 page masterpiece called “The Killer”. It was a story about an evil man named Robby who fell off a roller coaster, which then ran over his fingers, cutting them off. Then he landed on a set of knives just right, so they replaced his fingers. He then went on a killing rampage. Remember, I said this was in 1980. This was 4 years before A Nightmare On Elm Street came out. Coincidentally, I lost that notebook about 2 years after I began writing. Hmmmm. Was it stolen, or did my mother (who had a penchant for throwing things out) see it lying around and toss it? If I was 9 or 10 today, and wrote that story, I would probably be on some kind of government watch list, and placed in mandatory psychotherapy. Come to think of it, maybe my mother threw my notebook out in order to get rid of any possible evidence that could eventually be used against me in a court of law. Anyway, I would go on to write many more (not so gruesome) stories, often using my friends and me as the characters in each story.
Unfortunately, by the time I reached junior high, I stopped writing stories, and I don’t know why. I suppose I lost that spark of creativity. But, I must have retained my skills, because when I returned to college after spending time in the Navy, I was constantly getting awesome grades on any paper I had to write.
So far, there are two things I have learned:
1. Never let go of your creativity and imagination.
2. Whoever wrote A Nightmare On Elm Street is very likely a garbage picker (or dumpster diver – whichever term you prefer). Hmmm, maybe there is a Robby vs. Freddy fan fiction story in my future.
Many years after graduating from college, the urge to write began to awaken in me again. I had been totally clueless as to how much I was suppressing my creativity. It turns out that working as a computer programmer, tied to a desk all day every day, is against my nature. Who knew? I suppose the fact that I always hated math and science (although I do love Science Fiction) should have raised a red flag. Now, that I had the urge to write again, it was pretty easy to find an outlet. I had heard of these things called blogs. But, all I knew about them was that they were used to share tips and recipes.
Then in 2009, I saw this movie called Julie and Julia. It starred the legendary Meryl Streep as Julia Child in her early years, and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, a New York woman who aspired to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days. She tracked her progress in a blog that became very popular. I found out that Julie wasn’t just posting recipes in her blog. She wrote about her experience and challenges each day. So this planted a seed in my brain. I could write about anything. And in this day and age, people from all over the world could see what I write! Now, I just had to figure out what I wanted to write about.
While trying to decide what I wanted to write about, I thought of the old adage, “Write what you know.” My passion has always been with the ’80s. Even in the ’90s, people would come up to me and talk about ’80s music. But, I did not want to tie myself to only music. I loved television and movies in the ’80s as well. So, there we have it! I would write about anything ’80s! Now, I just needed a vehicle to blog with. After a lot of research, it came down to Blogspot and WordPress. WordPress seemed to get a lot better reviews, so I joined the WordPress family.
Once I got my blog established, I started looking for other blogs that were out there. I found several blogs that interested me, so I subscribed to them. And sometimes those bloggers would subscribe to mine! These other bloggers were talented, inspiring, and very supportive. My audience was slowly building. After several months, I finally created a Facebook page. This was followed by setting up a Twitter account. The audience was building up a little more. Then craziness ensued on December 17, 2010.
If you are not familiar with writing blogs, there is something us bloggers can be obsessed with – especially in the early days. It is called Statistics. We check out our statistics often. Sometimes daily. Sometimes twice a day. Sometimes every 5 minutes. Well on that fateful day of December 17, 2010, I noticed that my site was being viewed very often. I got more hits in an hour than I would normally get in a week. I got more hits in one day than I would get in a full month! And this went on for a whole weekend. I found out that my page was “Freshly Pressed.” WordPress had put my article, “And Now a Word From Our Sponsor” – ’80s Christmas Commercials, on the front page of wordpress.com for the weekend. Unfortunately, that article somehow got deleted. I don’t know how or when that happened, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. My readership skyrocketed that weekend, and I found a lot more blogs to subscribe to. I am so grateful for my WordPress family of bloggers!
From that point on, Return to the ’80s has been slowly and steadily building a bigger audience. And then this past year has been very exciting for this blog. It all started last April when I was nominated for the Liebster Award by RobbinsRealm. It was through this fun award that I met several more bloggers.
Then in June, I was contacted by a site called Found Item Clothing. We became guest bloggers on each others’ site. They wrote an article for us called Worst Applications of 3D in 80s Movies, and I wrote one on their site, Summer Movie Music: Your ’80s Summer Soundtrack.
Next, on the heels of that, I was actually contacted by Highlights Magazine after writing an article about them. That was kind of surreal for me, being unexpectedly contacted by a magazine that I grew up reading. This led to a follow-up article, I Was a Highlights Kid.
Next, I took part in a 1984 Blog-a-Thon sponsored by Forgotten Films. I wrote an article reviewing Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It was through that this blog-a-thon that I made many more blogger friends.
Things are going to continue to get better for Return to the ’80s. If you checked out the site yesterday, you saw that I have started a new series called Return to the ’80s Movies, where I will review and write about ’80s movies that I either have never seen, or have not seen since the ’80s.
Also, I am obsessed with listening to podcasts. I will share my thoughts on all of my favorites. And I am going to be working with at least one podcast on another new Return to the ’80s series, which I will try to get posted over the next week.
I have also just recently finished reading a few ’80s related books. I will share my thoughts on those with you, and maybe try to interview the authors.
In addition to those new types of articles, we will continue to post everybody’s favorite: “Remember That Song.” The quote of the day is also fun for me, so that will also continue. And, I will also continue with the Top 40 Countdown. That one seems to be a favorite as well.
Finally, I also would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to visit my site. Every “Like”, “Share”, “Favorite”, and especially “Comments” mean the world to me. Speaking of which, a very special thank you goes out to my superstar commenters/friends, Jim whowas also my first guest blogger with ONE-HIT WONDERS? NOT LEVEL 42!, Ren, Robert, and Kickin’ It Old School.
In closing, and if you scanned and skipped all the way down to the end of this long article (welcome back), I know these days can be tough and depressing for many of us. Some icons and role models have fallen from grace and have been despicable and disgusting (Bill Cosby), we have lost some of our favorite people way too soon recently (Whitney, Harold Ramis, Robin Williams), and a lot of pop culture these days has forgotten how to have fun.
So, it can be nice to look back fondly to the ’80s. It seemed a lot simpler, and not so dark. I know it is fun for me to look back and write about it, and I hope I am making it fun for all of you.
We have just begun a new year. Even though, we have moved another year away from the ’80s, you can always come back here and Return to the ’80s.