Happy Birthday Wall-Nuts!
Has it been only one year? Amazing.
I am usually much for words, but of late I have become busier than I could ever have fathomed a year ago. So, I shall keep this short and leave it to my dear friend and co-founder Cris to regale you with myriad imagery and fantastic tales, as she does so well (check out her narrative below!)
I founded this community on what felt like a whim at first, because I longed for others to talk to who shared my passion for a musical career that was only barely reaching wider recognition on my shores. I wanted to have a space where I could consider what it was that touched me so deeply-I am not usually a person driven solely by my passions-something changed for me.
It has been a great gift to interact with all of you, to work almost every day over this past year to develop our interconnectedness, and to watch it all unfold, as something of a bewildered spectator at times.
Thank you to all of you, to the individuals who have collaborated with us or shared their experiences, to TGM and of course Wally….thank you for making something/s truly brilliant.
I look forward to many unknown and yet unseen years ahead, and that we continue to be creative (not created) together.
Happy 1 year!
It’s a Wall-Nut-Shaped Universe: A Retrospect
A year has passed since the term “Wall-Nuts” turned from an offhand pun to a bona fide token of simultaneous faith in and support for the man whose name begins the first part of the word and humor for the group that lives up to the expectations of that term after the hyphen. To be quite frank, I don’t feel anything specific about the “one-year anniversary.” Certainly, emotions boil and brew like a cozy kettle on the heat; reminiscences accumulate with as much of a surging progression of bridesmaids diving towards the bridal bouquet; and a tender feeling of personal and collective nostalgia rolls around my mind like a relentless, resistant walnut itself, falling from a limb to the ground and rustles about in an autumn wind. I really don’t want to scoop anything up and tuck it away conveniently in a pocket to pull out only for a particular “rainy day.” Or a one-year-anniversary.
Besides, it feels like the Nuthouse has been going strong and undergoing more additions and renovations for as long as the Winchester Mystery House.
For The Wall-Nuts are proactive, constructive, and dynamic. They don’t boil and then cool off; they don’t dive and plummet, then lick their wounds; and they certainly don’t let the world blow them about with the indifference of wind. They are a consistently faithful group—faithful to the spirit of sharing personal narratives with candidness; of supporting fellow Nuts in a variety of endeavors; and keeping alive the goodwill and positive energies that stem not only from the music of Gotye that brought us all there in the first place but, even more, art and creativity in general.
What is more, on the one-year-since-the “birth” of The Wall-Nuts date, I don’t want to spend time reflecting upon milestones—not those pertaining to Wally De Backer, or his solo act as Gotye, or his band The Basics; nor do I want to mark any individual Nut milestones, or those of the group itself. Numbers of Facebook closed-group members are just that: numbers. Twitter followers are the same thing. Quantity has never trumped quality for me—quality and passion is foremost in my world, in everything I love, live, and breathe—and I’m not going to make an exception when it comes to discussing a community of which I am proud to not only be a member but one of the first and an Administrator or “Nutmin.” It won’t be the number of friends you’ll remember when you die; it’ll be who they were.
I’d like to take the time to celebrate a collective of vibrancy, humor, artistry, camaraderie, and even “fraternity.” This is no mere “organization.” We, the people of our Nut Treehouse, who scamper towards the rafters of the “walnut tree in the sky” and often relish in rearranging the furniture around the metaphorical “campfire” as we tell stories, retreating into a cozy corner with a close group of Nut friends to reflect upon the day’s events, or dangling from the rafters (symbolically, of course) if we feel like it just because we can and not get chastised for it, comprise a creative energy. We are vibrancy and humor, depth and determination. We are human beings with unique stories, ones we long to share with one another.
I have had the pleasure of one year’s worth of story-gathering from my fellow Wall-Nuts. For a writer like me, this has been a tremendously indulging experience. Like a proper nut-hoarding critter (let’s say a squirrel or chipmunk), I have gathered the morsels of comments, positive messages, and suggestions from my friends and helped them kindle new fires within me. I have written, I have published, I have shared personal messages with others. Perhaps they have gone on to light fires within others and perhaps not. It doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I acted upon my needs to share, to reveal, and to become involved. This is what we call “Nut Power.”
The Wall-Nuts are a soul-sustaining gathering of kindred friends. Perhaps that sounds trite, cliché, and expected. I dare not say we’re a “family,” not because it sounds wrong or it’s too convenient but, rather, because it’s a given: say “Wall-Nuts” to just about any member, and the connotations of “family” would simultaneously come to mind.
But we are more than just a fan-group, a network of individuals from all over the globe, a community of men and women from teenaged to teenaged at heart. Yes, the internet has gotten to us and tethered us together oh-so-conspiracy-like in the private space of a Facebook page, or more publicly on Twitter, but it’s what goes on outside the group that, I think, weighs on us most deeply. Some members have been able to meet in person; several have talked on the phone, exchanged emails, private messages and texts, or the lovely hand-written letter, photos, or original artwork. Skype dates with my fellow Administrators intensify my desire for a proper “Nut Gathering” in real-life. The more I “see” and see of my fellow Nuts in the online world, the more I want to hold and hug them in real life, to sit and chat, to sip cups of warm things and eat not-good-for-you other things that leave crumbs in our laps but we won’t care because Wall-Nuts are good about not sweating the small stuff when you’re in the comfort of friends’ company. Just as we do online, we’ll swap stories, advice, crude jokes, and playlists. We’ll be, in other words, real people having true engagement with what’s real to us.
I realize, in hindsight, that a huge part of what defines “The Wall-Nuts” is what goes on behind the scenes, in the more meaningful connections forged amongst friends who simply would never have met if it wasn’t for the fortune of stumbling upon the same tune and agreeing that, “yes, I like that, too.”
Thus, British writer and thinker C. S. Lewis was completely right when he said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” “Nut-ship” happens very much in the same way.
That is how it all began for Paige and me, a little over a year ago. While I began working on a personal blog reflecting upon literature (pardon me my literary references), art, and creating, Paige was beginning the Gotye-focused blog that would soon give rise to The Wall-Nuts. I wrote about Wally De Backer in one entry and, in researching as I wrote (and then wound up editing for months afterwards), stumbled upon her blog. It was certainly a “What! You too? I thought I was the only one” moment. Paige took the initiative to begin the Facebook Wall-Nuts group and, so, we were ushered into the world a great new, tender-shelled nut that kept expanding, growing, and strengthening quite steadily soon after.
There are two lines in my favorite poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” to which I always return, and they are, “Do I dare/Disturb the universe?” Paige did on April 23, 2013, and I’m glad I went along for the ride. Oh, and the universe? It happens to be walnut-shaped.
Now joined by five more Administrators (or “Nutmins,” as we like to call ourselves), Paige and I count on our dear “sisters” Danae, Cyndi, Verena, Denise, and Lisa tremendously to help us all keep business flowing. Of course, by “business,” we often mean ensuring that there’s a proper amount of hilarity each day; that someone has posted at least some half-stimulating topic for the more cerebral of the bunch; and that there’s a maximum amount of snorting going on.
Yes, folks; Nuts can snort.
Nearly from the very beginning of The Wall-Nuts’ origins, it became clear that each and every one of us was a piece in a unique, tightly-bound puzzle who was meant to have been drawn there, stumbled into the mattress forts of the group’s hiding places, or happened to have climbed up the rope-ladder to the Nut Treehouse. Nearly from the very beginning, I have said, “we came for Gotye; we stay for one another.”
Never was I more right about a gut (or Nut) feeling.
So many milestones are marked by time—one-year anniversaries, birthdays to encapsulate entire years of our lives, daily schedules that drive us on sometimes blandly and against our better nature. W. H. Auden showed distrust of it all: “‘O let not Time deceive you, You cannot conquer Time.’” Eliot’s obsession with time in “Prufrock” also suggests a distrust, albeit more veiled: “In a minute there is time/For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” So, taking the words of my poets to heart, I say that celebrating The Wall-Nuts through a marker of duration is fine, but time will always be there. Time will always act indifferently, suspiciously, and callously. Forget it for a moment (ironic as that sounds). Instead, let us spend “time” reflecting upon the quality of friendships, the quantity of support-systems within the group, and the number of times we’ve collapsed in a collective heap of snorting fits. We don’t need to mark those moments on a calendar—the heart and mind do not forget such things.
Happy One-Year Anniversary, to my lovely friend and Founder, Paige; to our fellow Nutmins; and, of course, to all of our cohorts—our Nut brothers and sisters—of the Nuthouse. I’ll meet you in the mattress fort soon.
Cris, Nutmin and Co-Founder