I come to celebrate, not to mourn. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be sad.
In a move last week that tilted the infant 2015 into ‘crappy’, friend of the blog (and good mate IRL) Kate Atherton announced that she was shuttering her long-running Jake Gyllenhaal fan-site, Wet Dark And Wild. I have many feels about this.
WDW, which was started in the wake of Jake’s remarkable performance in Brokeback Mountain, was a cornerstone of Gyllencentric fandom. Passionate, exhaustively researched and often very funny, it delved into the work and process of one of our most interesting actors with incisive detail. Sure, there were beefcake shots in there. Jake’s an attractive man. But WDW was never just fangirl squee. Kate is too good a writer to ever let the site devolve into gossip and tittle-tattle, and it was the only actor-centric site that I read on a regular basis. The rumour is that Jake did too.
So why now? Jake’s getting some of the best notices of his career for his remarkable turn as the reptilian Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler, with a good chance of an Oscar nod. His second collaboration with Denis Villeneuve, the Kafkaesque Enemy, is available on VOD as I write this. There’s even chatter about a release of Nailed, the David O. Russell comedy that fell into a funding black hole a few years back. Interest in our man Jake has never been stronger.
But time is a son of a bitch when you’re a writer, and Kate has hit the point where there’s simply too much else going on. Her book review site, For Winter Nights, is a great resource for the latest in SF, Fantasy and Hist Fic, and that’s where her energy and talent have increasingly been directed. She also points out that many of her original readers have moved on. The time just seemed right.
Rather than just delete the site, Kate’s letting it stand as a monument to past glories. As the designer of the site logo, this pleases me–even if she never did let me use the full res version of the artwork. Believe it or not, she’s happy with the jaggies on the text. Each to their own, I suppose.
The shuttering of any long-running blog is a time for sadness, but without Wet Dark And Wild Kate and I would never have met. I’m happy and grateful for that, and for the community that she gathered around her. As she points out in her emotional final post, she remains as much of a fan as ever, and you know she’ll be on the front line of any UK premiere Jake attends.
A good writer knows that, when something stops working, it’s time to let it go. Whether it be a cool line of dialogue, a scene that you’ve always been in love with, maybe even a title–if it slows you down, you have to lose it. Kate is a very good writer, and I look forward to seeing what comes next, whether with FWN or a new project. For now, though, I’m simply glad that WDW is there. A little shot of Gyllenhaal in the dark.