Nine years of drivel

As I sat here and tried to decide what sort of drivel might fit on this page today, I realized I’ve been writing on Rapid Eye Reality for nine years now. It was around this time in 2001 that my friend Susannah and I sat at a shrimp boil on Tybee Island where we were celebrating our friends’ Mike and Julia getting married. Susannah asked me if I knew what a blog was. A week or so later, I created Rapid Eye Reality. The title–which many people have asked about over the years–was initially based on the blog’s original theme. I planned to record a nightly dream and compare it to the reality of the day. I quickly realized that the only thing people care less about than another person’s reality is another person’s dreams…and cats. So, the theme quickly disappeared, but the title and blog remained.

Many of the friends I’ve made in the blogging community long ago gave up the blogging game in favor of Twitter and Facebook. Others who still blog are having existentialist crises over why they even bother anymore. I go through similar personal stalemates from time to time. I make next to no money on this blog. I don’t have mad traffic. I don’t have a niche. My friends once spent a good hour giggling over an easy parody of RER that centered around a man’s obsession with his family and the house he lived in with his friends more than a decade before.

If I am being honest, I write here for two reasons. First, I have to write. If I don’t write, I’d end up drinking (more) or standing on the streets holding up signs proclaiming the end times. It’s a sickness. Some people work. Some people work out. Some people play music. I write. Even if I don’t get paid for it. Even if it’s not good. Even if it’s complete drivel. I write. It’s been this way since I knew how to write. There wasn’t a time I wasn’t writing something, filling comp books, or sending long detailed emails to all my friends (anyone remember the Deep South Update?). For the past nine years, it’s been a blog.

Second, I can admit enough vanity to also admit I want people to read what I write. I’ve never really understood that part of me. It’s common knowledge that I don’t like myself very much, so I don’t know why I do this. But I do and have for nine years now.

Here’s a few random-ish pieces from over the years:

Grandpa was a gambler
Suburban landscapes
Otis and magic door
A Night at Jimmyz
Walking in Deauville
Sinner and a sinner’s son
The Brett Favre of parenting
Cocaine cabbies
The superpancho
Dog days
One Night in South Carolina

And finally, a funny cached copy of how this blog looked after six months of existence (it takes a few seconds for the images to load).

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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11 Responses

  1. Ten Mile says:

    Happy birthday Rapid Eye.

  2. KenP says:

    All I can say is Keep Driveling!

    9th Anniversary
    Traditional Gifts: Pottery and Willow
    Modern Gifts: Leather

    I’ll refrain from comment on the possible suitability of Willow and Leather for your enjoyment or dreaming.

  3. Daddy says:

    Still one of the best out there.
    Keep on goin’.

  4. NT says:

    Write on, Otis! You write, we’ll read.

  5. SCSue says:

    Please don’t stop writing. I read everything you post on RER. I’ve been reading your stuff since the Amanda Smith case – you were the first writer I found pointing out the obvious truth. Since then, I feel like I’ve been through so much with you, your friends, and family – the announcement of the pending Dos, the growing up of “the boy”, Dos’ birth and the drama soon after – when many of us held our breath and wished or prayed or both that everything would be ok, the poker blogging adventures, and the recent loss of your dog. You break my heart, and you make me laugh out loud. Sometimes in the same story. So, please don’t stop. Those people who are only tweeting or facebooking are not writing. You are.

    Happy Anniversary!

  6. Dr. Chako says:

    That’s like 63 blog years, right?


  7. Tom says:

    Congrats on the anniversary! Contrary to popular notion, blogging is not dead. There are a few of us brave (demented?) souls still out there. Keep writing!

  8. Pauly says:

    Kudos for approaching a decade of excellent web writing.

  9. MGM says:

    I like cats.

  10. Da Goddess says:

    Happy blogiversary! I’m glad I’ve been around for 7 1/2-8 years of the fun.

    I remember the old site design like it was just yesterday. And there was the eyeball. And then…

    The one constant to all of this, Brad, was and is your beautiful writing. Don’t ever stop writing. I don’t care if you lose your hands. Learn to type with your toes or your nose or a pencil between your teeth. You are an amazing writer and it’s an honor to be able to read your work.

  1. September 16, 2010

    […] Happy belated blog birthday to Otis. (Rapid Eye Reality) […]