By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Resolutions for 2005:(1) Make some more progress on last year's resolutions. (2) Take a really, really long vacation, write a book, make a million or so dollars, start a charitable foundation, and live happily ever after (with the results of resolution 4, ideally).
On Echo since 1998. As a photographer, I've always wanted to keep a distance between myself and my subjects. When I joined Echo, it was initially to just be an observer. Along the way, I became an active participant. I've met incredible people through Echo, and through them have had some incredible adventures. Echo enabled me to reconnect with a friend I had lost track of, and to meet people I knew by name or reputation, but lacked the intestinal fortitude to approach at a party or similar social occasion. I'm old-fashioned; I like being introduced to people by a third party, and Echo has served as a good third party.
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:To survive and be happy, and the hell with everything else. Three days after Christmas last year, I was nearly killed by a speeding car. I had the cliché near-death experience and was compelled to start thinking about my life, my career, and what I could do to unstick myself. After a few months of physical rehab and some minor setbacks, I was able to go out and photograph again, and it felt really, really good. It became clear what I had to do to be happy.
Did you follow them? I started taking more risks in terms of photographic assignments. At the behest of the friend I reconnected with through Echo, I threw caution (and two paychecks) to the wind and self-financed a trip to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, with the intent of photographing the participants. I spent two weeks in Binion's Horseshoe, getting to know my subjects, making lots of friends (and some enemies), and shooting a lot of film. It really drove home the point that the distance between myself and my subjects doesn't have to be psychological as well as physical.
Results? As gamblers will tell you, big risks pay off big. They also tell you that winning is addictive. My trip has made it possible for me to do some of the best work of my lifeone of my images of Greg Raymer, the 2004 WSOP winner, was made into a commemorative poker chip, which is a cool thing to show people when they ask, "So what do you do?" at parties. I fell in love with my subjects, which is something I never thought was possible for me.
Resolutions for 2005:To just keep doing what I have been doing. I can't wait for the 2005 WSOP, so I can do even better work than I did this year. I'm hoping to photograph more close-up sports, not just poker. I'm thinking Scrabble tournaments are the next big thing.
On Echo since 1995. An ex-boyfriend was a member and thought I'd like it. I did. It's a small miracle: a real writers' community, with a smattering of everything else you need.
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:I had just come back from a trip to Italy with two girlfriendsmy first trip. I did a little triage on my life: (1) More Italymaybe that was a metaphor for more happiness. (2) Get rid of Mr. Wrong. (3) Find Mr. Right.
Did you follow them? I did! The second I got home, I bought a cheap ticket to go back to Italy again. I ended a long-term relationship that was going nowhere. I wrote an ad for nerve.com that did not exactly hide my essential snarkdom. I responded to one from this guy sitting on top of his desk at work, not even smiling. He was 5-3four inches shorter than I am!
Results? We got married November 8 at City Hall.
Resolutions for 2005:Make enough space for the two of us in a studio. It's like my 2004 Italian triage resolution: Clean out your life, make space for happiness.
On Echo since 1990(?).
I knew there was a world out there in my computer, but Echo was the first place that sounded like I might want to stick around and make myself at home.
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:(1) Kill self. (2) Alternatively, quit smoking. (3) Stop spending entire working days hanging out on Echo when I should be making a deadline. (4) Do more drugs; see more live music.
Did you follow them? (1) Apparently not. (2) Three or four times. (3) See 1 above. (4) Yes.
Results? (1) Life continues, parole denied. (2) Intermittent rage, weight fluctuation. (3) Acute deadline anxiety; chain-smoking. (4) Pixies rocked.
Resolutions for 2005:See 2004.
On Echo since 1994. It's a safety net I can leap into when I need to vent or when I need to find out where to buy the best Pont l'Evêque. At times it was utterly thrilling, logging on in the middle of the night and yo-ing people.["Yo-ing" is Echo's instant-message equivalent.]
Your New Year's resolutions for 2004:I vowed to control my versions. I know this sounds strange, but I have a real problem tracking versions of my writing and other projects.