For those of you who don't know, I've been on vacation. Right now I'm sitting in my father's house in 90 degree heat sweating my ass off. After the massive amounts of rain the coast of Maine and most of the North East have had the heat is nice, just not something any of us are accustomed to feeling this year. Even this August, and the last few days in which I've been visiting have been abnormally cool. I don't mean for this post to become a meditation on the weather but more of a series of thoughts on vacations.
Every year I take a week in August off (from the DayJob) to visit my family and relax. One year we stayed at the camp on the lake without electricity. Another year we spent the time hiking the easier hikes in the area. Still another year I spent my week off working on the blueberry harvest. The last few years I've spent the time split between the farm, hiking and just spending time with my family. My family is aging and we see each other less and less, and the time in which we do spend together is more and more relaxing and less stressful.Also the pace of life in Maine is different, it always has been.
I say that as someone who grew up in Maine and was involved in many after school activities as well as having worked in Maine. The pace of life is different, I don't want to say slow, but it is something like that, but not with the implication of mediocrity that slow gives. There is less going on, because everything is so spread out and to decide to drive 2 hours to the large cinema or to drive 20 minutes to get Dunkin Donuts; it all takes planning. Forethought. Unlike here where I can walk to Dunks or call Papa Gino's and in 30 minutes a guy with pizza will arrive on my porch. No planning, nothing slowing me down, just doing it.
Planning makes you think, "Do I need that pizza?" "Do I want to drive the WHOLE way over to Dunks?" Nah I'll just make a second cup here. Maine makes me think.'Thinking is good,even when relaxing on vacation.
And so I thought, a lot, about this blog for instance, about the books I make and my future with the two. I've been considering what I want to do with this blog for awhile. Also I've been considering what to do with my books. I have mostly decided that what few books I do make in leather will be limited. I just don't like to work with it, the full hides gross me out and the price on pre-cut pieces is prohibitive. So that leaves me making a few limited edition leather books and lots of recycled stuff. I'm more fully exploring the recycled items, and getting more and more inspired by my materials and I'm really looking forward to what that inspiration will bring to my work. So there is that.
Then there is the blog. ComfortableShoesStudio.com first started out as a blog, not unlike what it is today and then I wanted to turn it into a online journaling sales place, and I did that for awhile and it didn't work for me. I'm not an html expert. Then I realized that it worked best as a blog. I've been blogging for years. I started out on DiaryLand in '99, then switched to Diary-x, with LJ shortly after that and then started this blog on blogger until I got my own domain 5 or 6 years ago. through all of that I've been making books. I I've had a lot of my books go to my readers all over the world. I like that. Back in the day of Diary X I had people who used to read my blog and learn about my bookbinding adventures and buy my books on eBay because I made them. That's a pretty cool feeling.
In the past when I blogged, I really blogged, in that I treated my blog like I did my journal, as a safe place to let off steam and think. It was anonymous. No one knew who I was and I didn't know who I was reading, It was the grand days of the internet, beautiful in it's anonymity and yet frightening as people found out who you were. The first few crossovers were from long time readers who I also read their blogs it was pretty cool, we felt as though we somewhat knew each other. The sales grew, and more of my readers started buying my work.
These people then had my address (back then I was still doing 'zines under a pen name and had a PO box) and that's when it got scary for me. I had one lady start to send me gifts and buy a lot of my work. Like a crazy amount. I was thankful for the money but I felt weird about it. That's when I started to think about my online presence and the perception people had of me through my online writings. I'm rather glad that my DX journal was one of the many that disappeared in the server crash and will never be found again. Around that time I also read an article about online branding and about professionalism on the 'net.
It's when I changed everything. And I'm rethinking that now. These books are a huge part of ME. It's what I DO. It's my craft, my art and inspiration. I like my DayJob but the books are what make me think and want to do more with. So I'm planning on filtering in more of ME into this blog. I hold back a lot of my personality and I think that's wrong. I am who I am and I've often said if you don't like it tough. IN person I don't withhold. I'm a straight shooter that if you ask me for my opinion I'm gonna give it, maybe make it a little more palatable but not hide the truth. So I'm gonna go that route from now on. No more hiding. I swear.