a new website that's starting to make ripples in the local literary
pool, and all with nothing more than random thoughts.
--- Its1AM.com has been putting up daily postings of peoples thoughts, giving a specific viewpoint or look for a day a chance to be read and inspire. Simple journal and diary entries, photographs with one sentence explanations, and even emailed musings are some of the things you'll find on the site. All there for you to read, and if you'd like, submit yourself. I got a chance to chat with the creator Jake Trimble about the site about how it got started, the postings up now, thoughts on the scene, and some other questions that came up.
Gavin: Hey Jake. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jake: Well, my name is Jake Trimble. First off I'd like to thank you, Gavin! This is so official! Everything about the site so far has been everything but official, so it's rad to get this opportunity. As for information about myself, I'd like to keep it brief. I really try to keep the whole site impersonal, you know? The only evidence that the site is run by me is the email link at the bottom of the page. You'll notice also that none of the posts have 'authors,' this is because I want the viewer to focus on the content rather than the individual behind it, regardless of how interesting she/he may be!
Gavin: For those who don’t know, what is Its1AM.com?
Jake: Its1AM is a website that I've been running for a few months now. The little banner I threw together in Illustrator defines it as 'a collection of thoughts,' and that's really what it is. It's sort of based on the DIY ethic, and was inspired by everything from folk punk music, to other websites that have caught my attention in the past, my sister dory had a project that really inspired me. Also, I've been a big fan of both FOUND magazine, and Postsecret, both of which everybody should check out.
Gavin: Where did the idea come from to start up the website?
Jake: Funny story actually. Well, not really funny, but kind of interesting... One night when I was up real late (past 1AM actually) I had this sort of epiphany. I realized that my impact on the internet, one of the most important and powerful forms of media for this generation, consisted solely of a Phacebook and a MySpace profile. Both of these so called 'social networks,' are just so frivolous. I mean, they're great for staying in touch with old buddies and whatnot, but everything about a MySpace profile is just ME, ME, ME! I wanted to give something back to my fellow internet community members, something that didn't consist of just my personal interests, favorite activities, movies, and music. Thus, Its1AM was born.
Gavin: Is there any specific meaning behind the site’s name, or was it something random that just fit?
Jake: So I was in this position where I wanted a site that gave something back to the community. A blog was out of the question, that's just another of the many self-centered websites that appear on a daily basis. The content just sort of fell into place. The name was from a sticky note that I had brainstormed a bunch of url's on. Some of them I'm not going to share, I'll probably register them in the future, but heres a few of the runner ups: suddenlydistracted, thatonefeeling, itwaslovely, whoamikidding, thisisridiculus, the list goes on... The actual sentence, "it's one am", comes from one of the first posts "In a car with two girls, it's 1 am and i kind of feel like ***. This is nice; this is summer." I wrote that in my little black moleskin. I was trying to capture my feeling at that moment in brief enough words that I could expand on it later without taking up to much time in the moment. It was the night of the Andrew Bird Twilight show at Gallivan, which was rad by the way).
Gavin: What kind of submissions do you usually get on a daily basis?
Jake: I'd say that 65-70% of the site is my own stuff. A lot of the posts are actually songs that I've written, I play folky guitar and sing, nothing very fancy; almost like little poems. Some are ideas for stories. Just thoughts really... As for submissions, so far they've all been from friends who are now going to school in far away cities, but anyone's welcome of course. Some of it can be kind of angsty. For instance, "Drink to fill my heart", that's from a good friend of mine, Sarah. Sarah's submitted quite a bit to the site.
Gavin: What are some of your favorite submissions so far?
Jake: If you delve past the angst, I think you'll find some really profound thoughts. I hope people can relate to the posts, I know I can. "I'm a realist that idealizes memories." This is one of the shortest posts, but it really clicks with me. Just the other day I saw an old friend that I hadn't seen for almost 6 months. I was expecting everything to be just like it was 6 months ago, and I assumed the memory of the two of us would still be the reality! I was wrong. Another of my favorites is the very first post, it has since become a song. It's about sitting on a park bench while watching this really pretty girl walk by. She ignored me. In retrospect this sounds slightly creepy, but who doesn't check out the boys and girls who walk past you!
Gavin: Is there any criteria for submitting? Is there anything you won't post or any topics you won't delve into?
Jake: Anything and everything goes. At this stage, I get so few submissions that if you send it it, it will be on the site, most likely within a few days. The only criteria for submitting is that you have to take the time to send it in. Submissions always welcome!
Gavin: Do you encourage short entries since these are just thoughts, or would you like to see long ones submitted too?
Jake: Longer ones would be pretty cool. I'd hesitate to post anything too large for fear of people simply being too lazy to read it. Also, eventually it might be cool to move from electronic format to print format, but that's waaaaaay in the future.
Gavin: Some of the posts include what look like pages from diaries. Do you view those as artwork, or more like an extra thought onto what's already there?
Jake: They look like pages from diaries because they pretty much are. Earlier this year I was in New York with Sarah, one of the contributors. This was way before the site started. While on the subway, I pulled out my little moleskin and started to jot down some notes. She was like, "Is that a diary? You're such a girl!" Trying to redeem myself (I was sort of in love with her at the time...), I said the first thing that came to mind, "Not a diary, it's more like.... a collection of thoughts. Or something like that." That's how I remember it I guess. I really like the look of the scanned pages though. It makes it a lot more interesting to see the handwriting and any pictures or sketches that the author may have drawn. I definitely consider it artwork, but art is such a general term, you know? I mean, what is art really...
Gavin: The site has been up for three months now. What kind of a response have you gotten since starting?
Jake: I've gotten very little response really. I've wheat pasted quite a few posters around town, and friends have put up posters in other cities. I've actually got a little counter on the site, it says that I've had about 750 page loads, from people in almost 20 different states, and one person in New Zealand!. This is more than I hoped for initially, considering I've only done promoting on a very small, and local scale, but I'm sure the site will grow with time. I certainly hope it does.
Gavin: Do you have any plans to add anything, like more posts a day or something interactive? Or do you believe it's best left the way it is?
Jake: I think I like it how it is. It's very minimal. I coded the html by hand, it's just a few tables... If I get more submissions maybe I'll post more, but as it is now, it's enough work to update daily. And sometimes I can't even handle that!
Gavin: What would you say is the ideal goal for the site, and what do you hope people get from reading it?
Jake: Truthfully, I hope it makes people think. I hope that people read these posts, these "thoughts", recognize them, and realize that they're not alone in this world. We're all human, and we all think alike, sometimes we forget this I think.
Gavin: Do you believe this will encourage more people to write in general?
Jake: It definitely has for me. I hope it inspires other people as well.
Gavin: Just curious, what do you think of our literary scene both good and bad. And is there anything you think could be done to improve it?
Jake: One thing I don't like about my site is that it's not very local. I mean, I live here in Salt Lake, but the website is on the Internet of course, which is far from the city. The thing I've found with Salt Lake is that there is an awesome counterculture/scene here, you just have to find it. Who would expect to find great little book stores (The Kings English, Red Light, Ken Sanders), an anarchist collective that has a vegan cafe every Friday (The Boing! House), an awesome print shop under an awesome record store (Signed & Numbered, Slowtrain), and a tiny little concert venue that even has a campfire (Kilby Court). Whatever you want in Salt Lake City, you can find, you just have to look. As for improvements, I'd say that people just need to get out more. I was at the LoveLikeFire show the other day, there were three or four touring bands, and only ten or fifteen people showed up! It's embarrassing how empty the venues are. Even free book readings, or in-store shows, they're always deserted... The scene is here, it's just always under-attended.
Gavin: Will you do anything with these submissions down the line, or is the focus on the site only?
Jake: I mentioned a print version earlier, not sure if that's feasible though.
Gavin: What can we expect from you the rest of the year?
Jake: That depends on what you submit! But realistically, more of the same. I'm planning on adding more different types of media, i.e. audio and video.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Jake: My sister's site has been an inspiration. A music blog call The Riyl Revolution that I have written for in the past is worth reading, though I don't think it's updated anymore. My friend Drew in SF has some art up that's real pretty, y'all should check it out. Also, everyone should join in on the bike community, another under-attended section of Salt Lake. More info on that at Salt Cycle, SLC Critical Mass and SLC Bike Colective. I think that's it really.