On November 4, 2011, I started this blog on a whim with one article about a now-defunct publicly funded arts project. After years of quiet observation, I felt compelled to start a discussion about important, unaddressed issues in the Columbus creative community.
Almost immediately, The Udder Paper® took on a life of its own. Hundreds of you joined in to add your opinions, opening a (mostly!) productive dialogue in an environment free from excessive moderation. For six months, this website and its readers provided much needed criticism of the local community and its leaders. (Along with a generous helping of snarky commentary from yours truly, of course.)
But that isn’t the whole story. While a public discussion was unfolding on this website, something bigger was happening behind the scenes. I didn’t realize it at first, but this project kicked off a chain of events in my personal life that had been nearly a decade in the making. In June 2012, I chose to shut down this website as I dealt with the issue privately.
What happened over the following three years was so unexpected, so surreal, and so life-altering that I am still processing it to this day. I have not written or spoken one word about the situation publicly until now.
I’m not yet ready to tell the full story. But on the third anniversary of starting this journey, I thought it would be fitting to raise The Udder Paper® from the dead, albeit as a shell of its former self. All of the articles and comments are still here, but I’ve chosen not to make them public for now. After three years, many of those topics are no longer relevant, so I’m not sure if I ever will.
The only thing that I know for certain is that I still believe in the power of the truth. I believe that we have the right to think critically, ask tough questions, and speak out against all forms of wrongdoing, no matter how difficult those words are to say. And I believe that we also have the responsibility to listen to those who are brave enough to speak, no matter how difficult their words are to hear.