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.