This is going to be one of those 'thinking out loud' kind of posts. It's about why I started this blog, why I blog, and what I'm hoping to do with this blog, which is a work in progress. The thing about blogs is they're a very visible work in progress. I wouldn't dream of showing you the novel I'm writing at the moment, the scribbles in my notebook, the rough draft appearing achingly slowly in a Word document. (Half of it still in my head, too). But when you blog, there it is, for all to see. Mistakes, lameness, repetitiveness. The trying.
Although I've been blogging for years and years at Calm Things, I never really thought of it as a thing itself, so to speak. I always sort of had this idea that I would scrape up all the random thoughts and ideas and some poems and quotations, and make a book out of it. Which I did. The book was called Transactions with Beauty, as it so happens. I shopped that book around and pretty much everyone said no. Then over a year later, one of the publishers I'd sent it to expressed some interest, but in the end, I asked them to withdraw it because I knew the thing needed a serious re-write, and I didn't feel I was up to that. And somehow it just didn't feel right. I went with my gut. I sat with the thing for a while.
That's where I had my big light-bulb moment. That what I'd written was really better suited for the internet, which is where it had been conceived in the first place. So some of the posts you've seen here and will see, are reconfigured, re-written bits of that book. Will it be a book someday? I'm not averse to the idea, but it's not my goal.
I like blogging because it brings things that I enjoy together. I like taking photographs. I enjoy taking photos of things on my kitchen table, of flowers, of the suburbs and leaves and my dog. And I like thinking about things like beauty and light and trying to understand and learn more about them by writing about them. I like sharing stuff. I like to think I might inspire others to make stuff that they enjoy making. I like the combination of pictures and words and a blog/website is the ideal place to share these. (Nothing against books, of course).
So a blog is a place where you can share, where you can learn, sometimes flying by the seat of your pants, where you can contemplate, connect and above all be creative. I know that I'm lucky to be in a spot where I have an 'excess' of creativity. I have stuff that won't fit into a book, photos that I don't always know what to do with. In my writing I go from genre to genre. Poetry, essays, novels. This is probably bad marketing and I've often been called 'prolific' with varying degrees of derision. But this is the natural state of the artist. Here is where I always quote Hélène Cixous from White Ink, where she says, "Fecundity is the creative person's natural state. The more pertinent question is what inhibits it. Why does one get periods of broken productivity? What causes these interruptions? Productivity, it has to be said, has no reason to be broken except through adverse, exterior circumstances."
The thing that I most want this blog to be is an antidote to the news. Blog as antidote to the news? Blog as soul food?
The following poem can be found in the anthology, Soul Food.
The Good News
by Thich Nhat Hanh
They don't publish
the good news.
The good news is published
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.
So I've been blogging for quite a while and reading other people's blogs. I've watched bloggers like Kim Klassen and The Pioneer Woman and Brain Pickings evolve. There are a lot of food bloggers I admire (and drool over) and I especially admire Pinch of Yum for the way they show their blog income report every month. And then there are blogs like Chookooloonks and Modern Mrs.Darcy, examples of successful, popular blogs that are about books and reading, photography and the beauty of the world. I guess the question I have is whether a blog called Transactions with Beauty can build a following, make even just a tiny bit of income. In my first month of blogging, enough beautiful people donated to me that the amount equalled the web fees for one year. This might seem small, but to me, it's huge, and a huge vote of confidence. I'm happily overwhelmed.
Most of all, what I want to do is learn and evolve. Thanks for being here with me as I collect my soul food.