Across the Margin

by: Michael Shields

And we’re off…..

I have heard in passing that if you want to actualize your dreams, if you truly want to make them real and drag them from the depths of thought, and conceptualize those suckers, that you should take the time to write them down. That makes sense to me I suppose. To achieve your goals you must define them, and to realize them you should know what they are so that the proper steps can be taken to make it happen. That sounds well enough and all, but a little too cut and dry. A little too self-help book, too motivational speaker for my likes.

So when I sit down and try to explain the goal of this website, or even what Across the Margin actually is, it is easier for me to share what we hope it becomes. We hope for a place where writing is king, but a devout one and one who serves his minions in good faith. We hope it is a place were thoughts are shared, scrutinized, and eventually beaten and broken down to the most basic of elements, and then reassembled and reborn as a new idea all together. We hope that it is entertaining, oft witty, and full of new and peculiar ideas. We hope that you may laugh,  or even cry on our best of days. We hope that insight is gained, thought provoked, and beliefs challenged. And we hope that the site at some point in the near future could possibly be recognized as precocious, or even…good.

But the truth is we don’t know. And there-in lies some of the fun. All I can promise, without a shadow of any doubt, is that Across the Margin is a place where boundaries do not exist. It’s a safe house for topics of all kinds. Ideas can expose themselves in the light of the brightest day at Across the Margin with no fear of scrutiny or judgement.

It’s the Island of Misfit Toys speaking their mind.  It’s the inmates running the asylum with pride and with the efficiency that eluded the previous government. The bench-warmers getting their run and making damn good use of the time. A pirate ship set sale after the captain has been cast overboard. Land motherf*ckin Ho….and you get the idea.


I told a very close friend one night, while re-inventing wheels and emptying brown fire water at disturbingly unnatural rates, that Across the Margin would be very much like the resulting love child between McSweeney’s and Grantland, if that child was then raised by idiosyncratic, licentious parents. He, friend that he is, looked me dead in the eyes and told me that it would be best, for me and for all, to keep that to myself. Maybe I should have. But we all have stories, things to share. So what if we don’t know the ins and outs of post-Hegelian moments (or do we?)? So what if our spell check has to work a touch harder?  So what if we talk dangerous nights out, sports, film, music, art, love, religion (or lack there of), and the like in the voice we were furnished with?  If the story is a good story, and it is told well, that is more than enough…for us anyway.

Across the Margin is inspired by the lyrics of one of the finest mc’s to ever hold a mic right, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. He spoke of “writing in his book of rhymes, all the way past the margin.” He couldn’t stop writing, spitting rhymes. Synapses firing ,thoughts developing at such a frantic pace, that he had to get it down, even if it meant breaking one of the simplest rules of writing and breaking into the unknown inhabit-less space that lies past the forever closed and heavily guarded walls of the margin. It is that space where we will dwell. It is there where our voice will echo off the walls and possibly even be heard. Our thoughts, our ideas, our rants, and who knows what else at this point, will be there….just across the margin.

“Weight of the world on your shoulders- gotta hold it up / When the pens burning the paper never fold it up.” – P Monch

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