Sunday, March 30, 2008

23 years - It Cannot Be True

I was talking with Cindy O'Leary about computers today (she just got a new MAC). And I realized that I have been working on a PC computer for 23 years. That fact right there makes me feel so old. I think of my computer days as starting when the Internet became the WWW or World Wide Web in the mid-90s. I remember another conversation I had with a fellow artist Lynne Oakes. Back in those early days she asked if I thought people would ever buy art over the Internet. I answered "no", thinking it was too emotional a purchase and that art is too tactile to appreciate on a monitor. Then I went and created my website in 2000 and proved myself wrong big-time, for I sold my art left and right, hundreds of Fragments through that website...back in the days before Ebay, Etsy and Blogs.

And now it has all changed and I am an old-timer. My website is old-fashioned, my HTML lacks CSS, my graphics are tired and my website traffic is down. Well of course all my efforts go into this blog now too, but even that is tired looking compared to what's out there now. I have always been one to focus more on content that bells and whistles. A few good, meaningful photos should accompany every post, but beyond that, do you need to see my Flickr account, my empty Etsy shop, links to fantastic blogs I've found, or blogs of all my friends who seen to have way more to say and way more visitors than I do, whose blogs appear as links on way more other people's blogs than I do? Should I care? Do I care? I don't even know. I do this for me but I want you to listen, or be interested in what I have to say. Pamela Allen said it best in her post on Motivation, "I make art for the rewards of being part of something bigger and richer."

Did I peak too soon back when I was one of the few with a cool website? Who is my audience? Should I continue to be "the Buddha", the wise one, as my friends call me, or redesign myself as more trendy and hip and try to become one of the "in" group? What is this drive to drive traffic to your blog, to "sell" yourself, to attract attention? I am the last person to seek attention in person yet I want it here. I don't want the crown of Miss Popularity, but I do want to know that what I have to say is meaningful in people's lives. I want to make meaning. Yes, that's it. I, who am constantly searching for meaning in life, want to share what I figure out.

Do you ever read a book or a blog entry and go, "Yes, that's it, that's how I feel." That aha moment when someone puts into words the very thing that you needed to know, that bit of wisdom about life that was, to you, still a puzzle with the few most important pieces missing. That's what I want to do. I want to do it through words and art and most of all I want to make your life easier and/or better for having found it out. The mass media has created a society that needs constant stimulation, the next new thing, 1/2 second visual bites pop, pop, popping with no chance to really see what's there. I don't think that's who we are, we, meaning you, the readers of this blog. We want to see, we want to know and we want to understand.

As usual, I had no idea I'd end up here when I started this entry. I can't help it. It's in my nature to make meaning and once I start writing, I go looking for it. Now that I've written this I do know what I want to do with this blog and my website. I still want to give a fresh look to them both but the content will remain the same. It's who I am. And if no one else is listening or looking, at least I know one very important person always will.....me.

22 comments:

Sequana said...

Wow! And I thot I'd been around a puter a long time - I had my first internet hookup in '97. Altho, I'd already been working on PCs at an office in the mid-80's, so I guess I'm right there with you.

Just so you know, I'm out here reading your thots and appreciating all of them. You'd probably enjoy a new fresh spring look tho, don't you think?

KJ McLean said...

I was using Apple IIe's and Commodore 64s in 1984. (I was in junior high.)

Time flies!

Lorri Scott said...

This post poses a lot of food for thought. I think we all feel this way and get caught up in the quest to promote ourselves. You were my guru, get the website and the blog going, now I have the Etsy shop and there comes a point when it takes up so much of ones time that we wonder "now why are we doing this"? Yes we want to sell our work, but we also want to be accepted. I think blogs are part therapeutic because I writing ones thoughts down is part of the process. I wonder about how to promote oneself without seeming like a braggart. Oh boy, where am I going with this? Hhmmm a lot of things to think about.

Thanks for posting this.

Lorri

misti said...

I've always seen you as one of the top blogs and people posting, even if you don't think so! I don't comment much, but I do read.

Jeannie said...

I was there learning Basic on an Apple in 84 (I went back to school in my 30's)and did my term papers on a Commodore 64. We've come a long way!
Just so you know, you inspire me with your blog. I am in awe of your freedom to try new things and look forward to reading about what you are doing. I am also enjoying your segments on the Quilting Arts show. Take care and thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lesley,
Don't change the "you" part. My sea is still turbulent and my vision without focus. You are a moment of calm reflection for me that I count on more than you know. I am grateful that you put so much of you here without bells and whistles to distract from the quiet.
Thank you,
Kathy in Farmington (of the Red book question)

Oh, and the computer thing. My son was playing snoopy mazes on an Apple iic when he was 2. He is nearing 27 now, working at a Mac store and working toward a computer degree! Who'd a thunk it?

Anonymous said...

Lesley--
Your blog is one of my daily check-ins and not entirely to do with your artistic endeavors. I find food for thought in your heartfelt writings and a sense of community from your honest expression of the ups and downs inherent in life.
Cheryl Doran-Girard

Adrienne said...

Thank you for this post, I have been struggling with this for a year, the website, the blog, the esty shop.....and yet where's the art. I had this lightbulb moment I've been taking up so much time trying to get all the tools I need to get myself out there that I've had no time "for the actual creating". The art to sell. Why don't I try working on that first, then worry about the rest. It is a lot to maintain. I just want to get back to basics.

Anonymous said...

Don't change a thing.I so enjoy reading and following along. Change is not always better. Sometimes ,but not always. Just be you, which I find comfort in.
Nancy G. A.

alex s said...

Well, you know how I feel! :-) You are a gem in the glittering sand.

For what it's worth, I don't get so much traffic either, but the people who are meant to find me do. Those are the ones who I most appreciate.

xo

Brenda said...

Just continue to be YOU! We love you-
brenda bliss

DIANE said...

Thank you for putting your thoughts into words. They definitely gave me that "aha" moment. I am still a novice traveler on my art journey and so many of these "roadblocks" have been slowing me down and discouraging me. I've been getting frustrated because I feel like I am losing sight of why I started creating in the first place and my resentment of my computer is the first place it shows. Reading your post makes me realize that I am not alone. I truly appreciate all you share as "our Buddha" (I'm a lurker on your Injet transfers yahoo group). As a fledgling artist (still trying to transition from CPA to stay-at-home mom and now, artist) your willingness to share your wisdom means more than the newest bells and whistles. Thanks for being YOU!

Ruby Craft said...

Bells and whistles can be very distracting. Flashing images so fast that I don't have time to focus hurts my eyes. I love the way you write. It meanders along like walking through a garden, talking with a long time friend. This is my first visit to your blog and I think it is wonderful.

Loretta said...

I know exactly of where you speak. Lesley. The one key that works for me in driving up blog traffic is to post daily. Seems to be the truck to getting people to return frequently.

The rest = je ne sais quoi!

You will always be The Buddha. That is too cool for words!

Mariane said...

I appreciate your blog and site as they are, content and a lovely picture are more interesting to me than a flashy website. I am a regular visitor to your blog but this is my first comment. Just so you know: It matters to me, I am listening... and so are many others. Please be yourself!

Ariane Cagle said...

Leslie, you are being heard and your thoughts and words do have meaning. They resonate with me.

Ariane Cagle said...

Oops... I misspelled your name. I'm sorry about that... embarrassing and from me whose name is always misspelled or mispronounced.

beadbabe49 said...

You've been on my blogline for quite a while and I always enjoy your post and photos...also saw your studio in the new studio issue of CPS and was amazed that you do it all from one corner of your bedroom!
wow! that's good use of space!

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Yup, yup, yup. I've come to love blogging, reading other people's blogs, and cruisin' around Flickr. And I am planning on setting up an Etsy shop this year, as well, but I wonder how I'll find the time to get up to speed. *And* find time to make art, too?? There has to be balance in all this, right? If we can keep our purpose in mind and stay true it, I think it'll all come together.

Shirley Ende-Saxe said...

Well, if I relax, and do what's important to me (fiddling about with content and beauty) I'm hoping everything falls into place. Being a newbie to Blogdom and never having sold anything on-line (still thinking about THAT one) makes me a virtual e-innocent! And I must be the oldest geezer on Facebook!

You've accomplished much more than I have on-line and your art is beautiful, keep being you!

Cathy www.artwalroad.com said...

Hi! This is my first visit and I loved reading this post. I, too, question sometimes why I blog but finding your blog and seeing another woman artist working through life and their own artistic journey is reason enough! Good to know we are all on this creative journey and to see how it is for someone else. Thanks!
BTW, I love my Mac!!

lia said...

what a wonderful and thought provoking post...thank you for sharing this. I feel the same way (although I do, cough, have some of these things listed, which I agree, are ultimately unnecessary!)I love your work, and your website was one of the first mixed-media sites I saw online. It really left me wanting to learn more. Thank you for sharing your art, words and heart! you are touching far more people than you can ever know!