Sunday, November 30, 2008

Working the blog

I’ve been doing this blog for about a month now, and asking myself what I’m after. One thing for sure is that, in addition to sharing with folks I already know, I’m hoping to get my work out into the big world outside Vermont. To make a career in the fine arts, you’ve somehow got to get a slingshot that will propel you over the border.

Since I don’t have a counter on my site, I actually don’t have any idea how many people visit and what they think. I’ve said it’s like leaving your house open and going away for a few hours. When you get home, even if nothing has been moved or changed, you don’t know whether anybody’s been there while you’ve been gone. Sometimes people stop by your house and leave a note saying they’re sorry they missed you. (Or, heaven forfend, a note saying you had invited them for dinner and where the hell are you!) Here on the blog, only a few people have left comments in the comment section at the bottom of each post, though quite a few people have told me in person that they’ve visited and mentioned things they’ve seen here. Even my daughter sent me a comment by email instead of commenting on the blog, but she gave me permission to print her comment:

This blog is the best idea you have ever had. Seriously. It may take a while for it to spread around, but I'm pretty positive that this is going to get you noticed. And even if it doesn't, it's just so wonderful to allow a peek behind the curtain of art, not to demystify (because the mystery is still there: how does she think of these things?!) but to invite everyone to participate and invest instead of just being consumers.

I never thought before about how what is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure to me can be a peek behind the curtain to others. That’s wonderful! Later, she suggested that I ask some questions instead of just holding forth, which seems like a good idea. So after I tell you about last week’s frankly commercial (though heartfelt) effort to make a few bucks, I’ll do that.

I’ve been making ornaments at this season for the last 4-5 years, and this year I decided to go back to simple, inexpensive ones. Someone suggested last week that I make ornaments commemorating the big political victory this year, and it came to me that I DO feel good about the country and the direction I hope it’s moving in, so here’s the outcome (They’re $2 each, and have an optional, commemorative "08" sticker that you can affix to the center of the ornament. You can buy them at Studio Place Arts through the end of December.):

Tah Dah! And here are the questions: What do you think about patriotism? What does it mean to you? Is being a partisan for your country like being egocentric about yourself? What are the good (and bad) things about having aspirations and ambitions for yourself (and/or your country)? Don’t like those questions? Write some of your own!


Unknown said...

Well hey-hey, look at that! I made something happen on the internets! I guess I'll take a stab at these questions. (Love the ornaments, btw. I think cheap art is really where it's at.)
What do I think about patriotism? I think it's disappointing that it's become a dirty word, and I think it's infinitely more complex than simple pride in or preference of one's country over others. I think patriotism is a promise. A promise not just to stand by and accept the benefits of your nationality, but to ensure that in your lifetime those benefits spread to more people, even beyond your nations borders, and to ensure that the scale tips heavier for those benefits, against want and oppression. Patriotism is a pledge to hold your country to its founding principles and to make it more a nation of those principles for you having been a citizen.
I hope that makes sense on paper the way it makes sense in my head. Great questions, Mom! And patience... before you know it, your house will be bursting with guests, some of whom may leave more than notes!

janetvanfleet said...

Wow, I think you nailed it. And as I read your comment (maybe just because of our family relationship) I thought that what you say is true also if you substitute "family pride" for "patriotism" and "family" for "nation" and "country." I guess what's true and good works on many different levels and layers -- from the family, through the tribe or town, to the state and nation-state. Maybe someday to multiple worlds. If we can keep this one alive, of course...

jcburns said...

Janet, I'm glad to see you're diverting some of your creativity budget into bloglandia...which I've been doing in some kind of form since, well, 1995.

It doesn't have to be much to make a wife is happy with one image and a sparse paragraph of observations (the two may or may not relate) every day. Other friends host virtual salons where the comments number over a hundred per weekday post.

Oh, and by the way, I keep up on your posts using your fine RSS feed (which you may or may not even know you have)...who needs reminder emails when a feed reader can do all the work?


Cathy Dellinger said...

You amaze me, dear Janet. The ornaments are delightful not to mention the fact that I could feel all the joyous energy you put into them. And, they do make me feel patriotic in the best sense of the word. I am proud that this country has elected, without a shadow of a doubt, someone who is inclusive. The power elite has been subdued, for the moment, and I can honestly say that "Hope" truly means something. And, I agree with Berrian, the benefits need to move beyond our, or this country's frame of reference. It truly is the time, and now the most opportune time, to finally and sincerely reach out.

Happy post-Thanksgiving. We have lots to be thankful for!

janetvanfleet said...

What a blast from the past, JC. I haven't laid eyes on you in... almost 30 years? (Though I occasionally hear from people who have met you as you passed through the state.) This is exactly what I mean about people walking around in here without my knowledge. I guess it is a part of what is regarded as the delicious anonymity of the internet, eh?

Well, I actually did NOT understand about RSS feed, but now I have looked it up, informed myself, and see that handy little icon on the righthand corner of the location bar. I will have to try it out with YOUR blog and see how it works.

jafabrit said...

I started my blog almost three years ago and it has been a very rewarding experience. I kind of view my blog as just another medium to use, to play with, as a platform for exploring art. In the process I have met so many wonderful people and have had new opportunities as a result.

Patriotism. Hum! I don't know how I feel about it. I am British, my husband Turkish, my children Texan. I love being in the USA (hence why I became a citizen) and would support and defend it, but I don't feel a moral duty to blindly defend policies that are wrong. I don't trust patriotism, it tends to blind people and is used as a means to manipulate the masses. I feel more patriotic to humanity.

ps. Love your work

janetvanfleet said...

Thanks for your comment. What a wonderful, blended family you have. I have a friend who just got back from three weeks in Turkey. She brought me an amulet to ward off the evil eye -- it looks very much like the concentric circles I often make, sort of an eye itself.

It has been good launching the blog already, and (from your comment) will anticipate many more cool things!