I was talking with Landis the other day about our shared dream of populating the world with weird little books, and about how difficult it can be in mainstream publishing to find ways to stretch creatively, and push into new and exciting spaces. It’s almost an axiom in creative work that any measure of success also builds up an expectation for more of the same. In these circumstances it's up to the artist to step lively—to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."
Inevitably the topic of social media came up, along with questions like “does social media engagement really have an effect on book sales?” And from there came the mention of the quieter corners of the internet—those all-but-forgotten spaces where, perhaps, a different kind of opportunity lies.
“I’ve been blogging again,” I told my friend. “Just quietly. I don’t think many people are reading, and that makes it strangely freeing. Like I have a space for quiet musings.”
“And yet…” I continued, “there’s still the fear of revealing too much.”
I recently posted an entry titled “Face of a Sad Clown” which was a little bit about what I’m doing with Patreon, and about smiling for the camera—not just about smiling but about putting on the smile.
I took the entry down shortly after I posted it because I thought “no that’s too much.” But I forgot something. Well, I forgot two things:
First, I forgot that often, when you're doing creative work, being uncomfortable can be a sign you're on the right track.
Second, I forgot that my blog is still linked up to my Goodreads account (I do hardly anything on Goodreads these days). And from there I heard from a few people who connected with the post and appreciated it.
I shouldn’t have taken it down. So here’s the original entry:
The Patreon is well and truly up and running. And that is good.
But it makes me uncomfortable, these days, all the perky smiles for the camera when I am still so aware of how complicated everything is on the inside. But it’s still a part of me, the sparkle and the bounce—the stage light and greasepaint, if you will. And I don’t mind it so much.
My wise friend recently wrote a bit about different online platforms serving different facets of personality, or acting as stages for different kinds of engagement.
Is this disingenuous? Acting differently on different platforms? I think it the opposite. I think all my favorite people are gems.
And gems are multifaceted.
That's why they sparkle.