365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

T-shirt #214 - Traverse City - Blue Earth

T-shirt #214 - Traverse City - Blue Earth

I have written about Traverse City before, though I have not made a Traverse City category. There's a "Places" category but none of the Traverse City posts were in it when I started this entry. It's an oversight I fixed. I thought I had written about Traverse City more, but I only have two entries, seen below.

T-shirt #85 - Up North

T-shirt #171 - The Neahtawanta Inn - Goodbye Bob Russell

I have at least three more Traverse City shirts, so I m not going to deliver more content on the most glorious city on the planet in this entry. Stay Tuned.

I will share one thing. For me, Traverse City evokes many wonderful memories. Much of the best times of me childhood were spent there both living for three years and visiting for summer vacations. I resumed the vacation ritual in my adult years and made Traverse City a place I retreated each summer for up to two weeks to write. Now, these memories are inextricably linked. Traverse City is a place of childhood nostalgia and happy memories of family and love. But it is also a place of retreat, renewal, and writing. I spent weeks and weeks there over a 15 year period, mostly alone, reflecting, exploring self, and working on various novel projects.

Right now, as I have mentioned before, I am reading both Stephen King's On Writing (the delightful audio version that he narrates) and Robert McKee's Story (which I wish was on audio...okay, I just checked, and it's an abridged edition, so I wish it was available as an unabridged audio), and I have been thinking a great deal about a novel I was writing in large part during my Traverse City retreats from about 2001 through 2009. I had abandoned the project because it had grown too complex and was turning into a different book than the one I had wanted to write. I am going to return to it and simplify it. King's thoughts on story especially are driving my determination to tackle this project again. I just have to find the time, now, to dump what's in my head into a file, re-read what I had done before, and start banging out a new draft of this book, which just happens to be set in the region up north, near Traverse City. Also, and this is probably more interesting to me than to you, I decided to set the book in 1985, which has helped me to do away with complications caused by modern technology. This and a couple of other projects are the work (both writing work and blog work) that I am planning to shift to when my blog year sends on March 22nd (less than two months from now).

I have many bits and insights on writing to share from what I am reading and thinking, but in the interest of keeping this short (and since it's late), I will save those for now and present them another time.

I am doing a series of snippets that will add up to a larger whole answering the "Why T-shirts?" or "What's with all the T-shirts?" question. I have also decided to include the previous items in an ever growing list, hence the "previous items" section next.

#3: It's my tattoo
#4 PRIDE AND STATUS - "It's my thing."


Today's featured shirt on Traverse City makes the point as well as a shirt featuring a concert or a play. I have featured all of these types of shirts in abundance: shirts featuring places; concerts T-shirts; other types of shows, like theatrical plays; and even shirts from businesses or special events all qualify under this motivation for why I am so inclined to wear T-shirts. Colleges factor here also. I have several shirts from my undergraduate alma mater, and I have not even featured them all yet, I also have several shirts from my graduate alma mater, and I have featured none of those.

Obviously, this reason connects strongly with the pride idea. If I feel pride and feel I have achieved a certain dubious status with a shirt featuring the logo of a superhero team, then surely a shirt with the name of my college, a place I labored for years to earn a degree, carries with it great pride and powerful status. It's funny. I was very out spoken in my criticisms of Kalamazoo College while a student there, but after I graduated, the love and affection I have for the place drove all those criticisms away. I wear the shirts now with unabashed pride.

Also, I have been accused of being a hipster. I don't think I qualify. But one of my failings is pride for the many concerts I have seen and how I am likely to tell stories in a tale swap of "one-upsmanship" that drives my wife crazy. But again, like with the schools, I am proud of the concerts I have seen and feel that there's some status conveyed here. Sadly, I purged many of my most vintage concert shirts in the packing up and clearing out of my parents home just before I decided to start work on this blog. What was I thinking? Clearly, I had dismissed the idea of doing a blog like this, and I was quite convinced that there was no way I could maintain a daily pace, especially with my tendency to be long-winded. How wrong I was.

And so, I add another post to The Blog Journey category, which is about writing, which is the topic I started with before today's Why T-shirts blurb. I needed proof. I needed confirmation that I had the chops to write EVERY DAY, even on Christmas and my birthday and the Fourth of July. Though there have been some skip days, though I have fallen behind quite often (this entry being a case in point as I originally published it last night, Wednesday, and I am finishing it this morning, Thursday), and though I still have one unfinished entry that's going on day eleven of not being done (I am working on it, if you keep checking it -- T-shirt #304 -- you can watch it grow, I am doing it. One day at a time. One word at a time. I am building a huge body of work that lays bare my own journey of self discovery as a geek, as a reader, as a writer, as a husband, as a father, as a man.

And I am not done yet. Stay tuned.

HIATUS TEXT: I am taking a short hiatus. A "hiatus" for the 365 T-shirts Blog does not mean that there will not be shirts or that I will skip posting on any forthcoming day. There will be shirts. But the shirts will not be exciting or the featured shirts will not require me to write a small novel to properly generate the content I feel is sufficient. I created a category for my hiatus so as to group together those "easy" shirts that I consider to be "hiatus shirts." The goal of the hiatus is to fill in many blog days with easy shirts in order to complete longer love letters to beloved popular culture icons on more special shirts and to write more complex entries AHEAD OF TIME. The daily grind is becoming too much and causing me to fall behind and to be forced to post incomplete entries. I am hoping that a series of hiatus shirts will allow me to catch up, get ahead, and stay ahead. Ideally, I would like to be writing the bulk of each entry three days ahead while always working on at least one other. I have a lot of great shirts to share before the end of my blog year (after all I was just given SIXTEEN shirts for my birthday). Stay tuned. I promise to post the more interesting and longer T-shirt entries as I finish them. Thanks for reading. BTW, this is the standard HIATUS TEXT that I will include in every "hiatus shirt" entry.

COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 51 shirts remaining

- chris tower -  first published - 1401.29 - 19:11
final publication - 1401.30 - 8:05