In Which I Answer Your Questions About Myself and Blogging

I had you ask me questions last Sunday, and I've been busy answering ones about place, the Palinode and I, and music over the last week. Today, the second to last instalment, I am answering your questions about blogging.

Ashley, The Accidental Olympian asked:
How did you get to where you are today with your blog popularity? Was it an accident? Or did you hustle and hit the pavement until you began to see results?

I started blogging back in August of 2003, and I loved so much about it that it immediately became something I couldn't put down. Suddenly, I had a space in which I could do just about anything — write, share photography and videos, explore what thousands of others were writing and sharing, dip my toes into social media and then take to it like a duck to water — and this space that I had originally created to journal my early married life grew my creativity and technical skills in ways that continue to surprise me.

My relationship with blogging has been an organic movement built on a passion for creative expression and storytelling by both others and myself, so, although I have not actively set out to "hustle and hit the pavement", my love for this space has had me putting myself out there for six solid years. It's hard not to meet more than a few people along the way.

Shelley asked:
This one is pretty forward but... are you really able to make ends meet between blogging, selling things on Etsy, and designing mastheads? If so, that is awesome. You are living my dream. Also, I've been reading this blog for months now and have yet to see a picture of you!

To be perfectly honest, if not for the Palinode's income, I would be living in a cardboard box on a heating vent, but, as it is, my modest income from blogging does help to pay the rent plus a few extras. Recently, I have been scouting around for regular, paid work on this here internet, but until that happens, I have taken a part-time job working for a shoe store.

So, I am kind of half living your dream and half living the life of someone who talks about deer and moose hide slippers more than she ever thought she would, but you know what? For right now, this has created a balance that works for me. I love it.

Also, here is the latest extremely grainy picture of me:

Schmutzie

I think that's the first time I've really put my own face on this website! Hello!

Colleen asked:
I've been curious lately about your link blog and how in the world you find all of the crazy things you find. How do you come up with all of them?

I started keeping my linkblog because I was always coming across things I liked, and my list of bookmarks had become this huge and unwieldy mess. It only seemed to make sense to organize it in a place that other people could enjoy, too.

I come across some of the things I find through surfing the internet and finding them on other people's weblogs and Twitter streams, but I also get some of them through people who send them to me by e-mail.

LoLa asked:
How did you come up with GiST?

When I reach the conclusion of my first year with Grace in Small Things, I plan on writing a much more detailed account, but in short:

I was seeing a therapist last fall who said that I have a tendency to make everything too big and wanted me to keep a gratitude journal, because she thought that I couldn't blow that out of proportion, and then I went home, wrote a weblog entry about it and created badges, and created a social network, too, because why not, and then I went back to see my therapist a couple of weeks later, and she said "I saw what you did", and shook her head. GiST is a gratitude journal gone awry in a pretty happy way.

Liz asked:
Several years ago I found your site through Looky Daddy. Since then, I have been a Schmutzie Junky. Here is my question. Could you drive and/or fly to New Jersey and kick Brian's ass to make him re-start Looky Daddy? (you could invite finslippy over and maybe have some beers while you do it!)

If I could make anyone do anything, I'd help you out, but Looky, Daddy! seems to be down for the count, at least for the time being, although he still tweets. Don't lose hope, though. A blogger I really like shut down operations a year ago, and then, BAM, she started up again out of the blue.

I have had a mad crush on Alice of Finslippy since 2005, so I fear that if I piled Brian and her together into one beer-fuelled afternoon, something really socially awkward would happen, which always makes me say and do weird things, and then I would turn into that weird kid who randomly blurts out I LOVE YOU or calls somebody Mom by accident.

Kate asked:
Do you think that words are more powerful than images? Or vice versa? Or is it an unfair comparison? I'm thinking of these questions in the context of blogging, but they're also interesting in a wider sense.

Kate, you have BLOWN MY MIND.

I think that either can be incredibly powerful depending on the mind of the individual who is experiencing them. To me, images and words are very similar to each other, because I generate both from images I hold in my head to a certain extent. It seems unnatural to me to separate them out into two separate things, but I am not sure that other people experience both as visually as I do. I'm curious to hear more from you about what you think on the subject.

The N Word asked:
What is a topic that you're interested in, but you never get to write it?

I have a terribly strong spiritual connection to writing and other arts, and I rarely touch on that aspect of creation in my public writing. Although I think about it quite a bit, I am not yet comfortable with stapling it down into written language.

Lee-Lee asked:
When you picture your internet audience, your blog readers, what do you see?

Having been to two BlogHer conferences, I have a fairly clear image of some of the people who read this weblog, but I also envision a wider audience that includes people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities, etc. It can be surprising who some of your dearest supporters can end up being, and it's important to remember that your voice has the potential to touch every kind of person. It helps me to keep myself open to the possibilities of others and myself rather than shut myself down in judgment. I have this "where everyone is welcome, all things are possible" mentality when it comes this website.

The next and final instalment of answers will be to questions that did not fit into a tidy category, so they will range anywhere from religion to candy. Stay tuned!