Monday, February 18, 2013
Last night I got an email from a long-time blog reader. She mentioned how my early days of blogging had set a standard for her and how much of what she does now on her own blog is patterned after those earlier entries. She's not the only one to notice how different the style of the blog is now.
A lot has changed since I first started the blog.
When I first started this blog, I was still trying to figure a lot of things out. I wanted to present myself as a real life person with real life challenges. I was tired of seeing people cloak themselves in the mysterious artist persona. I was also secretly trying to find my brother. I thought that if I could put my story out there, maybe someone who knew something or someone who saw something would say something. To achieve my goals, I had to put a lot of myself out there. The risk of doing this is that when you open yourself up, you become vulnerable.
Over the years, I've met a lot of people through this online portal. Most of them have been highly supportive and encouraging. Many of them were also on their own quests and we traveled the road together, trying to solve our own personal mysteries with one another. A few of them were openly aggressive and nasty, and some were more cunning and devious. While the number of those who were positive far outweighs those that were negative, the effect of those who were malicious was felt more deeply. I have been subconsciously recoiling and separating myself from the online stream. I'm reminded of the armadillo... once poked, it curls upon itself... creating a tough armored exterior, only poking its head out from time to time to see if the threat has passed. I was on that mountaintop, cold and windy... hidden in the cloudy haze. The blog was in the valley, kept warm and separate. There's a comfort in isolation.
Other factors have come into play as well. We opened Allegory Gallery and my brother returned. The opening of Allegory Gallery redirected a lot of my attentions and energy. It also made me make my posts less personal and more about what we were doing in the store. The return of my brother had a profound impact on all of our lives. For so long, I built who I was on this emptiness and vacancy. I defined myself as a survivor of loss. But then, a miracle happened. Our prayers were answered and my brother was restored to us. What do you do then, when the foundations have shifted so completely? You can't just be "business as usual" and keep doing what you've done in the past. Things are different and there's no use in pretending that things are as they always were. Things have changed.
So what does this mean?
When you achieve your goals, do you hang up your hat? Do you retire to the mountaintop permanently? Do you just stop?
This blog has never been about the destination. It has always been about the journey and exploring how things happen. As I consider the future of the blog, I have to take in account the new developments and evaluate what's important. It's a constant process of refocusing, refining and readjusting. One of the things that's paramount is maintaining the human aspect of Allegory Gallery. It's an artist-run space for creative individuals. I want to dive into the stories that make our space so rich. Just because we're a brick-and-mortar store and most of my energy is being poured into building the success of this project, I don't ever want it to become sterilized and thought of as "corporate". I want the space to be thought of as a living and breathing entity with a human face and a human heart. I also want to continue building relationships with others who are hanging their digital shingle and forming a community of creative minds. As I look forward, I must look also back... and find a middle path between great heights and low valleys.