Bye, Bye Medium, A Retrospective (Part 1)

In the late 2010s, my writing often took a back seat to my challenging psychological issues

Bryan Winchell


Note: This is the first in a series, where I’ll look back on my four years on Medium in an attempt to understand where I succeeded and where I failed so that my next blog, which will be on Substack, will be even better. It’s also kind of a “Best of” collection, where I’ll be sharing links to and comments about some of the posts that are my favorites.

Hey balloon, watch out for the Lofty Expectation Toothpick! Photo by Florian Haun on Unsplash

Learning the Hard Lesson of Self-Created Lofty Expectations

Lofty expectations are both an air pump and a toothpick to a balloon we mistakenly think is reality.

Sometimes, these are expectations born out of the mouths of others. Those mouths could belong to someone we know, like a friend, or someone we don’t, like a blogger we enjoy reading, or a media story being repeated everywhere.

Travel 20-plus years to the past with me for two examples.

Start in 1992, with the film, The Crying Game, a romantic crime thriller with a delicious twist. I was in college in Los Angeles then and everyone was raving about that twist, inflating the Expectation Balloon until it dwarfed even the ever-present Hollywood sign which shined like a beacon over the movie theater where I saw the movie. And then, when I saw the movie and experienced the twist —


“That’s it!” I screamed as the balloon shriveled off into the scuzzy Hollywood gutter of my mind.

Now, the reality is it was a good movie, maybe even a great one according to its 90 out of 100 Metascore. Unfortunately, my great expectation had first overhyped it and then deflated it.

The same thing happened several years later with the Neil Gaiman road trip fantasy novel, American Gods. A friend who knew I loved mythology told me he thought it was the greatest novel ever and he was confident I would agree. Air pump meet balloon, balloon meet toothpick. “A good read” was all it got from me. Again, probably better than that, but it was pumped up to be knocked down below its proper place.



Bryan Winchell

A Serious Fool who writes about: Personal/collective growth, politics, love of Nature/Humanity, Japan, podcasting, humor, and being a hippie in Service to Life.