5 Things From 2012

For the better part of two weeks I’ve been working on one of those “end of the year” type posts. All of my attempts have been failures. It’s hard to take five very different lines of thought and turn them into a cohesive piece of writing, so I’ve decided to stop trying. It’s probably best to just break up those various thoughts and write a few quick words about each one, with no worries about how they link together.

1. I like blogging, but it sure confuses me sometimes. There are moments when I’ll get done with something on Raise the Horns and think to myself “that’s a great post,” and then nobody really reads it. Meanwhile a sloppily put together article on the Mayan Calendar gets read 12,000 times. When I was writing in obscurity on Blogger my most popular posts were always the “rock and roll and the occult type posts.” Here, not so much. I’m still really proud of this Black Sabbath article, but I remain surprised at how few people have read it.

In a similar vein, I hate how blogging is often looked at as “second class writing.” Many bloggers are arguably the most read Pagan writers on the planet, yet it’s an art form that’s rarely taken seriously. I work hard on this little blog and I like to think that I offer a lot really great content. In a more perfect world that content would translate into some sort of compensation, even if that compensation was simply “here’s some funds to cover your expenses at Pagan Festival X.” I was going to go into a big rant about money and how I spend hours writing and researching but it feels too petty. I live a charmed life, and I write about things because I (mostly) enjoy it, but there are times . . . . .

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Marie by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers

2. I sometimes don’t think Patheos lives up to its potential. I’ve never lived in a bubble, and my interest in religion extends far past my own faith. I enjoy all kinds of religious and spiritual writing and try to stay up to date with the scholarly study of religion. Sure, I pay more attention to Pagan stuff, but I devoured Tom Holland’s In the Shadow of the Sword (a book about the origins of Islam) this year and on Patheos I read Evangelical blogs like The Anxious Bench and Philosophical Fragments. I get a kick out of The Friendly Atheist too, even though atheism makes less sense to me than Evangelical Christianity.

Patheos is a great place to keep up to date on the news and views on all kinds of faith traditions, I just we wish we interacted with each other a bit more. I would have loved to see an article on this site with Christians, atheists, Muslims, Pagans, and Buddhists all offering their thoughts on Christmas for example. I don’t believe that inter-faith work is going to suddenly change the world, but I do think it can be a possible tool for changing misconceptions. Not every Christian out there hates us, and we don’t eat babies. I wish there were more opportunities to build bridges between the various faith channels on Patheos. I often feel like we all write on our own separate islands.

3. I feel obligated to write something about my favorite stuff in 2012. I got to see two of my favorite (current) artists this year. I was lucky enough to catch Roger Clyne twice, once in Detroit with his full band, and then again in San Francisco and mostly acoustic (it was just Roger and his drummer PH Naffah), but my favorite show this year was The Old 97′s at San Francisco’s Fillmore. The Old 97′s Rhett Miller also released my favorite album of the year, The Dreamer (with harmonies for days!). Iron Maiden was pretty awesome too, but clubs are always better for shows.

If you watch things like movies and television, my favorite movie was The Dark Knight Rises and my favorite television show was probably Happy Endings or Parks and Recreation, or possibly the super-hero cartoon Young Justice (though it kept getting yanked on and off the air with little warning). If you were hoping that I was cultured or deep I’m sorry to disappoint. It’s either a shame or a relief that there’s not a reality show out there featuring Pagans, I can’t decide.

4. I’m really excited about the future here at Patheos Pagan and Raise the Horns. I’ll admit to being a little bit depressed about the direction of Patheos Pagan back in October/November. The fall exodus of Teo Bishop, Jason Pitzl-Waters, and Star Foster made me really question some things. I ultimately stuck around because I thought it was important to keep a strong Pagan voice at Patheos (yeah, I’m really full of myself right now) and because I absolutely fell in love with our new editor Christine Kraemer, who has been all kinds of supportive and encouraging. The future of Patheos Pagan is bright.

I think 2013 is going to be a big year for Raise the Horns too. There are some really good articles on the way, and I’ll be hitting a couple of Pagan Festivals again this year. I’m also going to Vegas next month, and I’ll be there for a certain awards show. It should provide a few interesting things to write about, or I’ll end up in jail, we’ll see. I’ll also be debuting the Raise the Horns Podcast this winter, which will feature 30 minutes a week of interviews, religion news, and my whiney voice. It should be fun.

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Rhett Miller doing an acoustic version of the song Lost Without You.

5. Anyone who reads this is awesome and has my unending thanks. Despite my ocassional complaints about blogging (see point number one) I’ve had a great year here at Patheos, first on Agora back in February and now of course on Raise the Horns. A writer writes to be read, and I’ve been read a lot. Thank you all so much. Special thanks to anyone who has left a comment, linked to me on their blog (doesn’t happen often enough), linked to something on here, or has liked the RtH or Jason pages on Facebook. Again, words aren’t enough, thanks.

I turn 40 next Friday so I probably won’t be posting much until that milestone is over with. Perhaps I will spend the day crying and curled up in the fetal position? We’ll see when I get there I suppose. If you live in Norther California feel free to hit my birthday party up on January 5. Again, thanks for the great year, and if there’s anything you’d like to me to write about, feel free to ask.

Happy New Year!

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/annette.h.breaux Annette Hebert Breaux

    I love your posts! Happy early birthday :) Forty is not so bad :)

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    I don’t read for thanks. I read because I enjoy what I read. Keep up the good work!

    • JasonMankey

      But my readers do deserve thanks because they push me to write better. When you have a lot of smart people reading you, you have to avoid posting bullshit, because the smart readers will smell it, and then stay away. That’s one thing about the Pagan blogosphere in general that’s really amazing, the people who read and comment on it are smart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chkraemer13 Christine Hoff Kraemer

    I would love to have Pagan bloggers responding to and having conversations with writers on the other channels (in fact, I have a collaboration brewing with one of the Mormon blogs, as soon as I’m less inundated with work!) I wish I could do this more than part-time and give more of my attention to getting that kind of conversation going, but I hope it will start to happen slowly, especially as some of our new bloggers get settled in.

    In the meantime, I like your interfaith posts, and you are absolutely invited to respond directly to posts on other channels at Patheos and see if you can get a dialogue going. I think it could be awesome. :)

    Also, I like you too! :) Thanks for being my most reliable and engaged writer this fall.

    • JasonMankey

      I think any “interfaith” conversations have to be a two way street. It would be nice to know that Christians are sometimes as interested in my faith as I am in theirs.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        I remain unconvinced that what you want is ever going to happen.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      You know, Jason and Christine, I’ve been thinking this same thing…we might have to talk further on it in the near future, as I have an idea or two…

  • http://www.facebook.com/RevCrystal.Blanton Crystal Blanton

    Right before you came on board Jason, we had a group for the writers of Patheos. It was a nightmare for the Pagans. It was meant to do what you are talking about. It instead was a grounds for attacking those of the smallest presence. One by one we dropped off and finally Star and I were the lasts to go.

    As much as we might think it could be a good idea to interact in those ways with the other portal writers, it is not always welcomed.


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