For me, the writing process really only serves to accomplish one thing: covering up that impossible, bone-rattling terror that is the blank page. That's it. Any other perceived purpose is, at worst, coincidental or, at best, supplementary. When I open my laptop to write, after the initial brainstorming stages and mental warmups, the first thought to pop in my head is: how, dear god, HOW do I make this blankness go away? It doesn't matter the prompt, once an idea sprouts, an immediate, overwhelming dread follows, swallows me whole. [CONTINUE OUTLINING THIS FEAR]
I can trace this anxiety back to kindergarten. My class was the first in a slew of experiments conducted by my elementary school testing the viability and effectiveness of a full-day kindergarten class. At a time when most other five-year-olds only saw school for two, maybe three hours a day before heading back home to [do whatever the hell we did back then], my classmates and I dawdled about our classroom aimlessly for hours at a time. Our days consisted mainly of naps, recess, art-projects and play-time with some basic math, reading, writing, and science sprinkled here and there.
Ms. Judy, our incredible teacher, was saddled with the responsibility of our experimental class for obvious reasons--her prowess as an elementary ed teacher was unmatched at Beacon Heights Elementary, her passion for enlightening the youth of Salt Lake City somehow outshining the otherwise impressive, capable faculty. Situated on the northern base of the Wasatch mountain range hugging the University of Utah, Beacon Heights became a sort of destination public school. It served a diverse selection children, many of whose parents taught, studied, or worked as staff for the U of U. Beacon Heights aimed to prove that a public school could successfully get away with an all-day kindergarten--that its students were bright enough and its faculty skilled enough to pull off that sort of stunt with actual results. Not one to back down from a challenge, Ms. Judy was constantly thinking up ways to push our class while still allowing us to enjoy the unique pleasures of being five-year-old kids. Her talent lied not in her ability to push kids to excel beyond their age, but rather in acknowledging and uncovering the latent brilliance kids already possess that so many adults ignore, whether willfully or not. We spent hours on craft projects that were seamlessly, almost deceptively eductational--[go downstairs and find examples].
One of her crowning achievements, however, was the dedication of 30 minutes of our day to journaling. At a time when most other kids were still learning the basics of writing, she had us, #2 pencils in hand, contemplating our days, stringing together a narrative, and writing it down consistently. We were each given a writing folder filled with lined paper at the beginning of the year that we were instructed to keep safe. Once a day after lunch, we were expected to open that bad boy up, try our hardest to fill a page (a whole page!!), draw an accompanying picture on the back of the previous page, and turn it in for review at the end of the week. Mine was bright green, a color I loathed at the time, and, despite my belief that Ms. Judy could do no wrong, I hated that goddamn thing.
Strategically placed just after our lunch recess, Writing Time loomed and lurked ahead of me all morning long.
Most of the time, the pressure that potential poses only lasts a few moments, a transient beast approaching to thwart me only to get bored a couple minutes in once it notices the phrase or two I've jotted down. Everything after that point
[ponder on what it might be, specifically, that ails you about the blank page.]
Don't [get me wrong], there are aspects of writing I really, truly adore, too. [what?]. But at its core, it's that [incessant need to fill the void] that sparks that word, that line, that paragraph, and so on.
[Truth is, I haven't been [brave] enough to stand in front of that blank page in a while.] The last couple months as an exception,
[NEEDS TO START WITH PERSONAL NARRATIVE--this intro is weak and info heavy, feels like a pitch more than an intro]
Welcome, all, to Transmogony, the pseudo-magazine you didn't know you needed. You've made it this far, so I must commend you. Congratulations, dear friend, for you've either just made the best decision or the gravest mistake of your life. I'm not at liberty to disclose which. Either way, that takes guts. Thank you for taking the gamble.
Some of you (I think there are twelve of you, in all--welcome back my dudes) might already be familiar with the site to some degree, but due to some extenuating circumstances (i.e. being violently neglected by its founders for three years and subsequently wiped clean of all data because one founder forgot to update the credit-card info on the host site), things look a little different. Like, completely different. As in, rebuilt from scratch. On a competing host's server. With a two-and-a-half year buffer during which time this founder underwent the kind of staggering emotional, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, and aesthetic transformations you hear about in folklore/mythologies of old (and if not that, the kind of basic changes in behavior and psyche you see in people who've managed to find a therapist they like or a coping mechanism that isn't toxic).
So anyway, Transmogony is back.
I recognize that probably doesn't mean much to a lot of you. Let me take a step back. The Transmogony of Old was a half-assed, semi-satirical fashion blog I ran with one of my closest friends. Spurred from equal parts fascination with and disdain for the contemporary fashion industry, yesteryear's Transmogony was our half-mocking, half-honoring exploration of clothing, beauty, lifestyle and the relationships among these things on blogs and in social media.
Borrowing from one of my favorite words transmogrify (a fifty cent word meaning "to change, especially in an exciting way") and Hesiod's Theogony (which, if you didn't randomly take a Classical Mythology class in college like me, is an epic poem outlining the histories, origins, and genealogies of the Greek Gods), the name 'Transmogony' came to mean a "godly story of exciting change". With this mildly pretentious title, Transmogony sought to make sense of all the wild transformations we constantly face as young adults (and humans of all ages) struggling with identity, finding our place, planning a career/future, navigating relationships/friendships, stabilizing our mental health, and the other little wild geese we try so goddamn hard (usually in vain) to catch.
[could expound here] Chasing stability and certainty always felt futile to me, especially while watching myself growing up mutating from one identity to the next nearly constantly. I learned early-on to embrace change, to celebrate it, and Transmogony was (and is) an attempt to share that philosophy.
The following Transmogony garnered was modest in size but really, really dedicated to this weird little site. We didn't push our brand as much as we could have, didn't utilize social media nearly enough, but we were happy with what we made.
The project petered out as the two of us got older, busier, and more involved in other things. When news broke that our forgotten child died in the gutter we left her in, a pang of sadness for those memories lost hit before the eventual glee kicked in. Most of that work exists in other forms saved on our respective computers, but the final edits were always adjusted online. It was heartbreaking to watch the polished product fall through our fingers like that. After the grief passed, however, a wave of overwhelming joy passed over me when I realized the kind of glistening, soaring potential Transmogony possessed in its rebirth.
[CONSIDERING MY GENERAL STATE OF MIND AT THE TIME - REWRITE THIS ], (the site's rebirth) felt less like casual serendipity than it did a straight-up deus-ex-machina level plot device. To curtail some redundancy later on, I'm going to summarize these developments as succinctly as I can.
In short: Subject graduates college early/abandons editorial position at university newspaper to move to Portland to live with boyfriend. Not a good match. Mistakes are made. Relationship falls apart, meanwhile no productive creative energy expended meaningfully. Existential crisis #1 hits as our subject realizes they discarded promising career trajectory for doomed relationship. Additionally, subject hasn't bothered to do the one thing subject feels truly passionate about since peacing out from university (i.e. writing). Couple breaks up, subject moves home to Utah. Existential crisis #2 is ushered in by epiphany that all sense of happiness/positive self-esteem/love in subject's life was built on things entirely out of subject's control (i.e. doomed relationship). Anxiety, depression, and a bunch of other bad juju paints subjects life unrecognizable. Subject ignores creative impulses in order to focus on and fix some of the more fundamental issues in subject's life. Six months pass, astounding progress made. Subject discovers self-love, healthy coping mechanisms, heightened spirituality, etc. Some solace is found in obvious places for subject--in creative projects such as remodeling childhood bedroom, crocheting, altering clothing, and so on. Finally comfortable/happy enough to enter the workforce again, subject takes office job at university previously attended. Subject's plan is to coast there while preparing to apply to graduate school. Existential crisis #3, admittedly the least devastating to date, creeps in as subject is reminded, thanks to exciting university job, they loathe school and never want to go back. Fabricated life plan deflates. Subject is lost but stable. Subject still hardly writes, hasn't finished a piece in nearly a year. Subject yearns to feel the passion that comes from written self-expression once more. Idly checking old blog, subject finds an error message where the home page used to be. Tear drips down face, immediately followed by: "EUREKA!". Final piece to puzzle of "glowing up" sitting under subject's nose the whole time. Subject is pleased. Subject gets to work.
So there you have it. I know I claimed that summary would be hasty and what you read probably doesn't feel as such, but trust me, that could have been eons longer.
Anyway, now that we're all caught up, let's get down to business. Transmogony is taking a different form in this new iteration, and I want to run some things past you. I've whipped up a little mission statement to give you a general idea of what Transmogony is:
Transmogony is a place where the individual is not only acknowledged, but celebrated. It is an inclusive refuge from the turmoil of life where creativity, imagination, and humor are used to build a genuine sense of self in a world that pushes you to be something else. Embracing the fluidity of human identity, Transmogony reflects on all little ways we transform and shift as we ramble through life. Opening up conversations on expression, style, humanity, culture, life, and art, it seeks a human connection, sparks thoughtful inspiration and promotes conscious action. And lastly, Transmogony hopes to help its readers navigate the catacombs of modern adulthood while still holding on to the curiosity, hope, and freedom of childhood.
Now, here are some other tidbits that go a little more in depth on what we are:
- First off--we is actually just me now. I'm going solo on Transmogony 2--at least at first. This project in its new form feels deeply personal to me. For reasons I'll explain in a minute, it begs for the kind of vulnerable, focused attention of a single individual, not a group.
- That being said, it is not my intention for this site to solely reflect me, my story, my words, or my experience. As of today, Transmogony will not be referred to as a personal blog, but rather a personal magazine, if that makes any sense at all. After the initial run, once growing pains have assuaged and this little experiment feels ready to expand, I fully plan on opening the site up to a multitude of voices. My "godly story of exciting change" is just one instrument in a symphony of literal billions, and I want the site to reflect its readers in their many forms and also expose them to new experiences.
- As previously mentioned, Transmogony aims to operate as a magazine (if a vulnerable, experimental, and non-traditional one). The site will broadly reflect the style and structure of magazines, but will shed most of their rigidity and obsessive timeliness. I want Transmogony to feel fresh, fluid, organic, expressive, and truthful, not bogged down by deadlines, headlines, quotas or any of that mumbo-jumbo.
- Rather than operating in issues, Transmogony will release within a more malleable structure of what I'm currently referring to as "phases". Aside from the name complementing the site's general theme quite nicely, I'm drawn the idea of phases because they are a bit more abstract, a bit more open-ended. Phases will be themed with a more general topic that can be explored in a myriad of ways. There won't be a set time limit to these themes, and I will leave it up to the universe (and my intuition) to decide when the website is ready to move into the next phase.
- The first phase will be titled *drumrollllll* Soliloqy. If the name hasn't made it painfully obvious, Soliloquy will explore the role solitude has played in a) my own life, b) the lives of others, and c) culture at large. You can read more on this decision in the [Editor's Letter](hyperlink, once written) if ya wants.
- As far as content is concerned, Transmogony will consist of a smattering of creative personal narrative, lifestyle pieces, short fiction, photography/visual art, advice, and criticism, with the door open to other formats if inspiration strikes.
And there you have it...! With that out of the way, we can finally get the ball rolling. Here goes nothing:
[DESIGN A BUTTON TAKING READER TO EDITOR'S LETTER]