When I took on this documentary project, I never thought it would be this hard. And I’m someone who’s kept a blog before. But now I’m realizing, I did the easiest sort of blog imaginable, a travel blog. I took a cross-country road trip, I was snapping pictures, I had an itinerary every day. It was a cinch just to bundle that into an entry and a Flickr set, then upload it all at the end of the day. Quite another thing to post every day, when every day is full of mundane “life maintenance” which may or may not have to do with the ostensible subject of this blog — our move back to the land.
It’s the shear technology learning curve that’s so daunting. I’ve had to learn Blogger, HTML and all the ins and outs of Technorati and other blog enhancement/tracking services. (Apple’s simple-to-use but low feature iWeb won’t really do for a blog that you hope will reach more than your extended family.) Then there the photo angle. As you learned in my last post, my struggles with my prosumer camera have led me back to the point-and-click world. However, both cameras are Nikons, so that means lots of intense reading of very poorly written manuals. Plus lots of swearing and crying.
Thank God for one piece of low tech equipment: the original Moleskine journals. These are the famed acid-free, hand stitched journals allegedly used by Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin (who was supposed to have bought out the entire store in Paris when he heard they were suspending manufacturing.) Luckily a company in Italy picked up the ball and started to make them again. You can now buy them in as prosaic an outlet as Barnes and Noble.
I’ve got several of them. One for blog subject ideas, one for Sonoma and farming notes, and one that’s a day planner. Sure they’re five times more expensive than a regular notebook you’d buy at Walgreen’s. But I’m getting dangerously close to buying into one of the more ridiculous theories that some of my worst clients from my design and advertising days used to hold. There seemed to be a pervasive belief among clueless corporate tools (who shall remain nameless) that if you master software — such as Photoshop, Quark or Illustrator — it makes you a designer. I always had to hold myself back from pointing out that you might learn Microsoft Word, but it wouldn’t make you Shakespeare — or even Bret Easton Ellis.
But here I am now praying that a legendary notebook will inspire me to legendary inspiration. At least the acid free paper is resisting coffee stains and my sweat-stained hands as I panic when the day ends and I have no blog entry in mind.