Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Still Here (and Some Shakespeare)

Dearest Readers,

I'm checking in to let you know that I've decided to continue blogging. Thank you to everyone for your sweet, encouraging comments and good vibes (I felt them! I really did!) I concluded that my biggest barrier to blogging isn't a lack of interest, ideas, comments or follows but rather a critical lack of energy, time, and decent health. Work took a strange turn late last year when I became a one-on-one aide to a 7 year-old special needs child in addition to everything else I am already doing at the school. It has been a heart-warming task but mostly heart-breaking and it is taking every ounce of willpower I have to keep going. I'm locked in to this assignment until mid-June so I am just taking it moment by moment.

Because life isn't complicated enough, this week, a bad tooth that has been lurking in my head for over a year, finally decided to make my life truly miserable by creating a throbbing, golf ball-sized lump on my chin. There is no local care for adults with dental issues and insurance via the state; all are referred to clinics out of the area and where I live that means 200 mile round trips (at least) and outrageous appointment wait times. Want to pay cash? Well, that's an option...provided you have the cash. Having this tooth fixed by an oral surgeon (which is required since the problem is below the gum line) would cost a minimum of $3000; it's $725 to have it pulled (under sedation.) Let me take a moment to stifle a rant regarding health treatment for the poor and medical highway robbery...*ahem*...OK...I'm good....

Long story short: I will be trying to get some work photographed and posted for sale in the coming days. The posting will be available on an "Opt In" basis; in other words, it will be on a separate page at Lost Coast Post, not here on the main page. As I have said, I like to keep this space relatively free of relentless product-promotion even if I would like to or need to make a bit more money from my work. Thus, things like online classes (if I ever get there...that's the goal) and art for sale will always be announced here but kept on a separate part of the blog; if you're interested, click on through. If not, just move onward.

Again...I was so touched by all of your comments...so wise, so supportive...Thank you to those who have left a little something in my tip jar. Thank you to those who simply make time in their busy lives to read Lost Coast Post quietly but faithfully. I have a few new posting ideas and work to share but things are a bit on hold while I sort out immediate concerns. I'm going to stick with my once-per-week blogging schedule while school is in session but right now, I don't think I can even tell you what day that might be. Thank you again for being here, rain or shine, good days or bad.  It means the world.

PS...The Shakespeare portraits by my fabulous art students have nothing whatsoever to do with this post except that I wanted you guys to see their whimsical wonderfulness. I do this caricature project every year in conjunction with the students' study and performance of a Shakespeare play and the resulting work always makes me smile! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Expanding & Contracting: Considering My Future in Blogging

It has been two weeks since I last blogged. Truth be told, I took a deliberate break to ponder my future in blogging. I began serious contemplation of ending Lost Coast Post last December during my annual, end-of-the-year hiatus. 2016 marks my tenth year in blogging. This space has brought many joys and insights to my art life but also many inescapable anxieties. I am deeply tired of worrying about follows, comments, and page views. No matter how much I tell myself to post and walk away, I still take it hard when I post something and not a soul responds. You'd think that after ten years, I'd have made gains, however small, in followers and yet, I've actually been steadily losing followers. I'm sure there are any number of factors, most of which are out of my control, but it doesn't really matter. It is still disheartening. (And I'm willing to bet that most bloggers out there care about such things even if they say they don't.)

I recognize that my style of blogging is nearly extinct (if it ever existed in the first place.) I write more than I post pictures. I don't end my posts with a lengthy link list of supplies to purchase. While I have some small art pieces I'd like to sell, I don't have my own product line to hawk. I don't host online classes (although I'd like to) and I don't hobnob with any of the big names in the industry. I don't brand, license, name drop, publish, or advertise. I'm just a small-town, part-time teacher and full-time artist trying to show what I do and talk about how and why I do it. I value process over product and that's becoming an increasingly difficult position to hold. It's not that I don't buy stuff or that I don't have stuff to sell; it's that my world (and this space) doesn't revolve around making a buck or promoting my name. Many do that and do that successfully in honest, passionate pursuit of a career making art; that's just not me.

All in all, I'm in an odd time of contracting and expanding: feeling the need to do more work for my eyes only and yet wanting to show more here. Case in point: a brand-new, significantly better camera arrives today that should take improved videos and photos. I'm not sure though that I have the time, energy, or smarts to get really good at editing. I love my work more intensely than ever but it often feels like that fever actually diminishes if I bring my new work out into the public eye. It's not an issue of copyright protection but rather a need to make art just for me so I can grant myself full, unhindered freedom to explore whatever direction I desire. I alternate between feeling like I've said all I want to say and making lists of all the new things I could blog about.

Anyway, lots of thoughts bouncing around in this tender, busy head of mine. I know that I won't make any firm decisions until summer break so that I am not influenced by the cloud of fatigue and overwhelm that envelops my life while simultaneously trying to work and manage my health. I'm going to start blogging just on Mondays to see if dialing back my posting schedule while working helps ease my racing thoughts. If you are one of those people who read regularly and comment (or not), thank you! I intend to hang in here as long as I can.

PS: Please, please, please don't feel guilty or bad if you read but don't comment! This isn't a ploy to get you to comment. I am the Queen of Crazy Busy so I totally understand reading but not leaving behind a note. The comment situation doesn't bug me as much as the page views/follower count...and you guys are right: nowadays a lot follow via feed readers or email so there's no truly accurate way to know the number of followers. I do know that Google discontinued Friend Connect for non-Blogger sites, forcing everyone to have a Google account to sign in. (No more signing in from Twitter, Typepad, Yahoo, Open ID etc) That automatically dropped follower counts for Blogger in late December/mid January.
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