For Every Year

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So I have a story on this website For Every Year. This website was started by my friend Crispin Best. The idea behind the site is to have a story or poem for every year starting in the year 1400. The story is usually inspired by some event that happened in that year. It could be a birth or a death or a war or some other interesting thing. I usually go to Wikipedia to look things up to get inspirations for a story. Ok, more on this site later. First I want to tell you a story.

Crispin Best started this website in late 2008. The first decade’s worth of stories were written by Crispin, myself, and our poet friend Rebecca Perry. Nearly a year later I returned to Canada from England and I started looking for more writers in Edmonton. I missed my England writers friends and wanted to make some Canada writer friends. I started going to these things called Story Slams. I’ve talked about them before. They’re great, and also awful, and fine, and whatever. So early on I started paying attention to this writer guy who I thought was pretty talented. He had this story about him and Genghis Khan hanging out or drinking and hitting on women or something like that. I thought to myself, this guy gets it. He would really like this site For Every Year and maybe he’d like to write a story for the site. Genghis Khan died in 1227 but I’m sure he could find some other historical figure to write about.

After the story slam I introduced myself to this guy and told him about the website. I got his email and then sent him a short email again telling him about the website. A few days later I got his reply: “Looks interesting. Let me know when you get to the present.” So in other words he just didn’t get it at all. It was one of the dumbest emails I’ve ever gotten. The website isn’t about the present, it’s about using the past to inspire your work. Anyway, I don’t need to explain it to you people. I started looking at his writing in a different light after this email. Then I stopped seeing him around at local writing and arts events. I was kind of glad about that fact. I saw his name come up recently because his book was up for a major award in the area. He didn’t win.

So I’m writing about For Every Year right now because I have a story on it again. It’s been awhile. Maybe over a century. I think the website has some of the best writing on the web on a consistent basis. I love it and I love that Crispin Best created it. Much of my writing since I came back to Canada has been influenced by the style of writing I started doing when I made stories for For Every Year. I recommend to everyone reading this that you take a look at this website.

I’m also writing about For Every Year because we are getting kind of close to the present. Which means that some time in the next couple years we will have caught up to present day. Crispin used to add stories as people would jump up and volunteer but now there is a long list that stretches for decades of writers who are eagerly awaiting their turn to share a story or poem from the year they’ve chosen.

When we get to the present day I’m going to be pretty sad. It won’t mean that the website will be finished. I guess somebody will just write one story per year or maybe Crispin will figure something else out. One thing I’m not going to do is contact that writer who I first told about the website so many years ago. I’ve stopped caring about people who just don’t get it. Those people are kind of just doing things for themselves. They don’t want to be a part of a greater community of writers working on a project as imaginative and fun as For Every Year.

If you do get it then you’re my kind of person and my kind of writer. You should consider writing something for the website. I’m a little hesitant to recommend that to people because I don’t want to get to the present day just yet. Still, you should think about it. Pick a year and read about it, then pick a year and write about it.

JLN

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