Why 3:17 a.m.? It’s late one day and early the next. It’s when airline schedules and tidal tables begin, infants wail, and those with the writing bug awake to jot down the ideas their dreams have given them.
There are a lot of myths and legends about how our 317am blog began. As I remember it, my friend Kaze and I were having some pulled pork at Texas BBQ when we got to talking about starting a blog. By the end of that lunch, we’d talked ourselves into taking the plunge, in the spirit of boys daring each other to jump off a cliff into a flooded quarry.
Kaze is a teacher of creative writing, so at first we tried to pass on our wisdom about writing stories, but that store of knowledge, we discovered, was limited. Soon enough we had a mind to ramble. Before you could say, “Let’s borrow some persimmons,” we were posting about whatever struck our imaginations. Our obsessions began to cluster around certain topics—Kaze’s life and times; Ras’s thoughts on new media; our tips for beginning writers; our opinions of the songs, movies, and novels we’ve loved; and, of course, Ted the Cat, the free-verse poet and tan housecat.
Over time, 317am evolved. Kaze’s discovery of the power of Googled-up photos was an early eureka moment, so when we updated the design of the blog, we added an “Image of the Day” feature. At heart, though, we remain word men, reared in the High Lit Tradition of Homer, Shakespeare, Austen, Melville, Twain, Hemingway, Joyce, and Salter, and stewed in the pop-culture broth of Groucho, Greivis, Springsteen, Sinatra, Fellini, Monroe, Wilder, Dietrich, Grant, Hitchcock, Kelly, and the Brookses—Louise and Mel.
“The best thing about life is that we can perceive it, and ourselves in it,” Kaze once wrote. “And maybe the best thing about being a writer is that we’re aware there is a mystery going on. Where’d the words come from? Where’d the characters come from? When we dream at night, aren’t our dreams often populated by people we created out of nothing? We don’t even recognize their faces. How did we do that?”
I dunno. But I like the advice the 1920s dance impresario Diaghilev gave his meal ticket, Nijinsky: “Astonish me.” That’s what we’re shooting for.—RasoirJ.