Hi. My name is Joel.

That's a terrible way to start because it sounds like I might launch into a full scale confession, complete with rambling, sobbing revelations of my terrible childhood, neglectful parents, mean kids who teased me, possibly an angry puppy. None of that is the case, though. Granted, there was this one kid in junior high who liked to screw around with me, but then an older friend of mine took it upon himself to kick the kid's ass. After that, he kept his distance.

But there were no angry puppies.

And I liked my parents, whatever their flaws may have been.

In actuality, I simply want to introduce myself. I used to write a blog called The Between, which Michele knows me from. Last week, I was browsing around Faster Than The World, made some comments, and was soon chatting with Michele through email when she asked if I would like to write for the site. It worked out great because I had just been thinking I would like to write for the site and hoping that Michele would consider taking me on. This place seems like fun and there's nothing I would love more than to come in here and see if I can't fuck it up and really screw with people in the process.

I mean, contribute. To the best of my ability. In a positive way.

Thus, I signed up as a FTTW writer and then promptly kicked myself when I realized such a gig entailed actual responsibility and consistent production, neither of which are my strongest points. But I figured I could bullshit and bluster my way through it, so if you all could be complicit in that, I would really appreciate it.

I'll be writing about music and alcohol, to start with, and plan to get movies and books in there, as well. That covers my main areas of interest, along with writing, which is inherent in the endeavor. I also love the outdoors--camping, hiking, and such--and I'll see if I can't work in a bit of that, as well, along with some original (but pretty basic) photography.

I can't guarantee that you'll always know what I'm talking about. While I have much love for music and movies and books, my taste often skews obscure, and more often than not my recommendations are met with immediate or eventual disbelief. Sometimes they're met with anger, as well, such as the time I recommended The Royal Tenenbaums to a customer looking for a comedy at the retail job I used to work, only for said customer to come in the next day and ask me what the hell I was thinking, his expression one of disbelief and annoyance and, I'm pretty sure, impending violence.

I knew instantly the problem. I had forgotten about the general strangeness of the movie. Not to mention the attempted suicide scene, which I guess you don't normally find in comedies. But in my defense, how can you not forget about the occasional attempted suicide scene?

And, damn it, that movie is funny.

But still, people often disagree with my taste, so I hope you're all willing to call me fucking crazy in the comments of my coming music and movie and book posts, because that will leave me feeling right at home. Hostility keeps me ashamed and on edge, which are the overriding emotions I'm most familiar with. Also, searing comments are usually entertaining for those reading and participating in them, so all the better.

Finally, if you're interested in some biographical information outside of what's on my profile page, then this paragraph is for you. I'm 26 years old. I'm currently a member of AmeriCorps, which, in my position, entails doing environmental restoration work along the East Fork of the Lewis River here in Washington State. I worked retail for seven years and almost lost my soul in the process. Hence my now working along a river, unbeholden to asshole customers (or even the nice ones I liked.) In a little over a year, I'll be starting at Portland State University, majoring in English and Creative Writing. I hope to eventually make a living as a published writer, but would be happy teaching English, should the dreams not come true.

Finally, I'm excited to be writing for Faster Than The World. Thanks in advance for reading.

- Joel Caris

back to FTTW