Wednesday 10 February 2010

Pondering, gestating

One good thing about being ill for a week was the time to ponder and, as I felt a little better, to spend sporadically some long, slow hours fiddling about with possible layouts for the new blog project. I'm not a designer. I know what looks good, but often not why.  So this has always to be trial and error. After many hours of repeatedly playing with one idea, dumping it and starting on another, I'm happy with what I have, but there's a lot more to do. I want to import the things worth keeping from this and previous blogs to 'pages' built around the new blog and then, finally, to dump the old ones. I've embarked on sorting my photos too, having never stored these accessibly by theme and style as more organised photographers do.  I shall finally reinstate my blogroll and set up links to other favourite web resources.  Much work, but I hope it will be worth it. I'm quite excited by the thought of finally having a loose theme, shape and direction for these online bits and pieces.

I'd just written the above when I read the very interesting and inspiring essay on the future of publishing that Beth of Cassandra Pages has posted on the website of her small press, Phoenicia Publishing. So much in her piece that fires me with realistic inspiration, and I plan to post my response there to some of the issues she raises. But just to focus on one, very personal level where her words resonate: this new venture I'm gestating is all about taking my 'online bits and pieces' more seriously, taking the very small scale as seriously as the whole big and often daunting picture of how the words of writers - from the already known to the rawest neophyte - may find an audience in the future.

Yes, my little bits and pieces are no more than that. But finding I could write and take photographs, and that a small audience enjoyed reading and looking, has been no small thing. It's something I would never have done before the Internet, and it has meant so much. So one aim of the new site will be to collect and preserve the best of that in a single on-line home. At the same time, since, as Beth also reminds us, the Internet is by its very nature as ephemeral as it is wondrous, I mean to keep a printed copy of everything, as I used to when I first started blogging, and to start making little chapbooks, printing some photos, for me to keep and, who knows, perhaps for a few others who'd like one. I want to find out if taking it all a bit more seriously will help me to write more and do better, and to be a tiny part of the multi-stranded counter-movement of creators, publishers and readers that will always be needed if something else is to survive and develop alongside the continuing whirlwind consolidation and homogenisation of mainstream publishing.  


Loren said...

I think I'm too old to really start over, but I, too, have been thinking seriously about redoing parts of my blog, particularly finding a new theme and new ways of featuring photos.

I've had complaints that readers have a hard time fining photos they've seen in the past. Truthfully, I've always thought of my site as an ongoing conversation with fellow bloggers, but perhaps it is a new form of literature, and as such needs to be presented differently.

Looking forward to seeing where you're going here. Loved some of your recent photos.

Beth said...

Oh, Jean. I'm so glad.

You know, I wrote that piece to try to encourage myself as much as anyone. It's so hard to see a direction, so hard to take our bits and pieces seriously. I despair of it sometimes. But we must, I think, and help each other to do that too.

And to Loren - yes, sometimes it feels like we're too old to start over, but never too old to revise and change and improve things!

Dave said...

Jea, I am excited to hear about this new venture. Your work is almost always high quality and deserves better than a Blogger blog, IMO. (I don't agree that WordPress is that much better than Typepad/Moveable Type, by the way.)

Huw said...


I don't have wise words, but I took this photo and afterwards thought of you. A new season!


marja-leena said...

So pleased that you are going forward with this new project, for your work is very worthy of saving, for yourselves first! I'm intrigued also by your thoughts on printing some of it.

My blog archives are so huge now that I regret not doing more about saving at least some of it in print format, little books like you say. Yet it overwhelms me to think how to even arrange it all into a book or books. How to deal with links? include comments? what not to include if any? and so on...

Looking forward to seeing your new blog! Oh, and get better!

Lucy said...

This is so exciting, I am looking forward to it. And yes, the other blog possibilities really are much more interesting and give more scope than Blogger (and as I've largely ditched all my feeds now anyway, I'll stop griping about Typepad re feeds!).

I love the idea of printing bits and pieces and making artefacts that can be handled and enjoyed that way too. You are so inspiring here...

You're the second person today to recommend Beth's piece, so I'll get on over there now.

Tamar said...

This is inspiring. I am looking forward to the birth of your new project. Plus I would adore to have a little chap book that you create. Indeed, it makes my think of thinking about doing that some day ... perhaps ... when I have time ... which I seem to have so little of even when I have a lot of it.

We are ever evolving and developing, aren't we, Jean?

Daisy-Winifred said...

I look forward to seeing your regeneration here, same person but different map to follow,no blue police boxes though:0)
I think your readers have always taken your writing seriously.