Blogger has been bugging me for years to ditch the layout I've always had for something newer and snazzier, and I've declined. Once I have something set up the way I like it, I don't care to fiddle with it. But apparently, my very old format will only be available as a "legacy" one, and will be riddled with problems holding it back. I've already started having problems adding photos, and spell check totally went away. So on the eve of my 1900th post I decided to quit fighting it and spend a few hours setting up a new look. What do you think? Of course, very little looks familiar on the page where I create each post, so there will be some stumbling around while I get used to the new symbols and where to find features like "preview". And there may be some things readers can't find as well, as where to post a comment (Just click on "comment" in the bar at the end of the post, whether it says "no comments" or "x number of comments" if you are viewing multiple posts on the home page. If clicking through to an individual post, it's pretty clear what to click.)
So, my 1900th post! I started blogging nearly 15 years ago, and while the number of posts each month have dwindled lately, I still feel compelled to keep at it. I've always done this more for me than any audience I might garner, but the audience was what I hoped would keep me honest and on track. It has proven to be a wonderful record of what is stated in my header, the creative journey I set out on, as well as of my life journey as well. I've always known that what happens outside of the studio will influence what goes on inside it so it is a valid part of the journey to record side by side with the projects worked on.
But periodically, the debate surfaces about the value of blogs in a world of social media catering to those with shorter attention spans and a definite leaning toward the visual rather than the written word. It saddens me that it is so but it hasn't changed my feelings about the value of blogs. And so I was heartened to come across this recently in an Austin Kleon post:
"None of us still blogging do it for clicks. We do it to leave our traces, because it feels good to us, and because complete statements are better than tweets or facebook updates…." Warren Ellis
He goes on to talk about "zuihitsu", something I'd never heard of, but I would agree that it fits describing blogging:
Zuihitsu is a genre of Japanese literature consisting of loosely connected personal essays and fragmented ideas that typically respond to the author’s surroundings. The name is derived from two Kanji meaning “at will” and “pen.” The provenance of the term is ultimately Chinese… the native reading of which is fude ni shitagau (“follow the brush”). Thus works of the genre should be considered not as traditionally planned literary pieces but rather as casual or randomly recorded thoughts by the authors.
Specifically, he makes this observation:
"I have long had the notion that zuihitsu is, in fact, the sort of writing that weblog software best enables. That these are not diaries but fragments. Zuihitsu and fragment writing has fascinated me for a long time. I created the jotter category (on LTD) to try and give myself permission for “casual or randomly recorded thoughts.”"
That, I think, is what I've been doing all these years, recording casual and often random thoughts while also imparting what I hope is helpful information. And like Ellis, one other thing, as my actual contact with people outside of the virtual world shrinks:
". . . I still need to be able to send signals out into the world, and it gives me pleasure to be able to draw your attention, reader, to the things in the world that I like."
Always hoping that my readers will like them too.