The number of hits on the ol' blog have been way up in the last few days (and generally over the last couple of months), which is encouraging, in its way.
The spike in numbers is apparently due in part to reader Inertial Mass, who has tagged a few of my posts at StumbleUpon, through which I've had a number of hits lately. True, the Stumblers aren't a talkative bunch... but, to everyone dropping by through StumbleUpon... umm.. "Hi" (waves sheepishly).
I am also now mysteriously popping up on search engines, it seems. An AOL search for "How to tell if a swine is pregnant" brought me up on the first page. Another post placed highly in a search on the word "mylar". I get hits from "pipe smoking" searches. Do a Google image search for "nativity painting" and I'm not only on the first page, I'm the top entry. Blog life is weird.
I really enjoy blogging, but it's something I do for pleasure and not anything I take too seriously. I are not a righter, after all. For that reason I don't really do much at all to promote the blog. Nothing, actually. I have had some nice comments from some bigger, name-brand bloggers who (whom?) I really respect, but the idea of posting these endorsements in the margins rubs me the wrong way. I don't know why.
It is a quirk that I find is pretty common among artists. Most of us desperately need a manager or an agent (also a valet, a cook, a gardener and a maid... we need help with life, is what I'm sayin'). A lot of the artists I know are intensely uncomfortable with self-promotion. Unfortunately, self-promotion is a do-or-die thing for professional artists. If you want to make a living at this paint-slinging gig, you have to get used to the idea of knocking on doors, shaking hands, attending "events", rubbing shoulders... all the things that make my fellow studio mavens want to crawl under a rock. Preferably with some cookies.
A great Chestertonian, Del Teeter - whom I was delighted to meet at ChesterCon 08 - made note of the fact that... how do I put this?... well, he said in essence, "You look taller on television" (though I have never been on television). It's true that in person I am something more like a drifting shadow than a Sherman tank, with a face more forgettable than my name. I'm accustomed to being the tornado watcher, rather than the tornado. It's a different story once I become really comfortable with people, (and it takes very little time to become comfortable with fellow Chestertonians). As I've said, if I had to be in a foxhole with anyone, I would hope it's some of these people from the Chesterton conference.
Again, most artists I know are pretty solitary folk, and perfectly happy that way. It's something I have to actively work on, to expand my circle. By nature, I'm content as any fat squirrel, curled up in my studio all alone, so long as the cookies hold out. I often go for hours with nothing but the sound of my brush and my own breathing. But this is not exactly what God has made us for.
No doubt there are those of us called to a more solitary way of doing things, but in general "It is not good for man to be alone". We need each other. We need to think more about keeping some spare cookies on hand to share. I find it of great interest that the only Bible passage I could find that simply doubles itself for emphasis is when St. Paul admonishes us to "Practice hospitality. Practice Hospitality.". Seems like he meant for us to practice hospitality... even if we find it a bit of a challenge to lift our rock a little and offer a cookie to a stranger.
I had the singular pleasure of meeting and talking with both Jennifer Overkamp and Joseph Pearce at ChesterCon 08, as well as hearing them speak, and these were among the highlights of my trip. I've got to check out this Saint Austin Review. Paul also has a cool, sort-of-geeky (not that there's anything wrong with that...) review of The Karate Kid, which is interesting. Looks like I might need to give Mr. Miyagi another chance.