As I’ve written about a lot here, I grew up feeling rootless and alone. I was abandoned by my mother and while my father adored me, he became too sick to take care of me and at age fourteen I went to live in a group home that felt like anything but home.
Since I grew up without a home, I’ve always fixated on finding a home, to the point, almost, of obsession. I know that when I found The A.V. Club in 1997 after twenty-one years of feeling like a misfit and an outcast, it felt like home, and that was the most satisfying, validating experience imaginable.
I could not imagine a sweeter word: home. It just sounds right. And for a while, The A.V. Club felt like home and I felt accepted for maybe the first in my life. Then the site got bigger and bigger. It morphed slowly but surely from the red-headed stepchild of an international satirical institution into a huge commercial and cultural force.
But the bigger the site got, the more disconnected I felt from it. When the site began I felt like I was one of the architects of it, even if I never managed anyone, or edited, or had any kind of leadership role whatsoever. But at a certain point The A.V. Club stopped feeling like a home and began to feel like a business I happened to work for. The site was blowing up and getting huge, but it had nothing to do with the work that I was doing.
That’s why I left The A.V. Club in 2013 to be a staff writer for The Dissolve. When I set up my desk the first day, I once again felt like I was home. I felt like I’d found a new home and I desperately hoped that this would be a true home, and a lasting home. And for a solid year it was. The Dissolve was a wonderful home.
I looked forward to going to work each day. I loved logging online in the morning and interacting with readers. And then, as with The A.V Club, things took a turn and a place that had felt like a desperately needed home once again felt like someone else’s home I happened to be squatting in. Then, after a while, The Dissolve was no home at all to me, and then it didn’t exist at all.
In the years after The Dissolve ended I have been a wandering Jew, plying my curious trade wherever they would have me, including The A.V. Club. Then, on April 24th, my 41st birthday, I found a spiffy new home in Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place. And you know what? It’s fucking great. I love it. I love you guys. I love the work that I’m doing here. I feel like I am where I am supposed to be, doing the best work possible for the best possible audience. It just feels right.
I love logging on every morning and talking to you guys. I just hope that I’m able to hold onto this home, and that it proves enduring and sustainable because while you have to be resilient to survive in this business, I don’t know how many more homes I can lose before I get completely dispirited.
But I’m not thinking about that now. I’m focussing on making this the best goddamned home possible, for you as well as for me.
Support Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place at patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace