Ah, longtime Austin Eavesdropper readers. Mom, Dad.
Let's take a stroll down Memory Lane, shall we?
A collage of my old blog headers, plus a little taste of the next header.
This blog has been through so many changes, and the header is only the beginning.
In fact, I'm having a hard time lately answering this question:
"What's your blog about?"
If you attended SXSW last week and do in fact blog, I'm sure you got this a lot. Whenever I go back and read my old, old posts, like from 2008, all I can think is: "Who is that silly, wannabe party girl?"
Reading your old blog posts is a little bit like looking at pictures from high school. "Did I really dress like that?" you think. "Why did I think that hair style was cool?"
At the time, you think you're making all the right moves. And then, when you've grown up a bit, gaining distance and hopefully perspective, you're able to see the old you through a clearer lens. It can be uncomfortable at times.
* * *
During SXSW last week, I got into many long conversations with people. I don't know exactly why. I mean, I like to converse, it's just that SXSW is the time for running around frantically from panel to panel, then show to show. "Conversations," if you can call them that, are typically:
"HEY DO YOU WANT A BEER I'M GOING BACK TO THE BAR OH YOU HAVE A TAB? PABST? WAIT YOU HAVE A TAB OR YOU WANT ME TO GET YOU A PABST?"
But this year was different.
I attended less shows. A lot less. Instead, I decided to station myself at a few places, and talked to more friends. Friends I have known, and friends made right there on the spot. Among the latter, a few asked: "What's your blog about?"
There was a time when I knew how to answer this question.
"Austin nightlife!" I used to say, and leave it at that. Eventually I amended it to, "Austin nightlife and events!" which was even more vague.
But then, somewhere around 2009, I started gaining more focus. A posting pattern began to emerge. I realized that my posts fell into roughly four categories -- local music, fashion, food and art -- and following the advice (i.e. exasperation) of fellow bloggers, made little margin labels for those things.
And THEN, much more recently, I decided to get personal.
I began telling more stories. And putting some effort into crafting them.
Stories that had nothing to do with music, or fashion, or food, or art or even Austin, except for the fact that I live in Austin, so at least there was that.
And it's funny. I always thought that the only reason people read this blog was to find out what was going on around town. Then those posts, the personal ones, ended up getting a lot more interest, though I didn't know people even wanted to hear about that stuff -- my baby neuroses, my alcoholic friend, my go out/stay in dilemma. But it made me extremely happy, that people read and commented and cared.
* * *
This all leads up to an extremely garbled explanation I offered at a SXSW fashion blogger brunch on Wednesday, when a clothing designer asked me that dreaded, awful question. "So, what's your blog about?"
"Well," I began.
"It's, like, local discoveries that I make?"
"Combined with some of my more personal writing?"
She nodded again.
"I mean, I focus on music/food/fashion/art, mostly here in Austin, but lately I get the most excited about telling stories? Sort of doesn't matter what the topic is?"
An encouraging smile.
"Because, well, I'm not a great photographer, I shoot video sometimes but it's just ok, so I guess it's mostly me writing about stuff? Austin stuff but also just 'me' stuff?"
At this point she stopped listening. Returned to her egg white omelet with a decisive lift of the fork. I couldn't blame her.
* * *
Do you know who I am in awe of? Style bloggers. They have lasor beam blog focus. Good at photography, good at marketing, good at everything. Also, food bloggers. Who's more networked than food bloggers? Probably no one.
Any blogger who possesses a single, catch-all, categorical net: This is who I long to be sometimes. I often think, "maybe it would be better to just pick something, JUST ONE THING, and start a new blog about that one thing." Sweet potatoes, maybe. I really, really like sweet potatoes.
But in the end, I always keep Austin Eavesdropper. Even though I don't "get" Austin Eavesdropper. Chances are, you don't either.
If you're a regular reader though, then something keeps bringing you back. I wish I knew what that something was, because I would replicate it over and over again until I knew how to answer that question: "What's your blog about?" (Though I'm beginning to suspect it may never be a simple answer.)
I'm just immensely grateful that you are here, reading, going along on this little journey with me. Chronicling your late 20s (and beyond?) is a bizarre task, but I feel really lucky that I get to share it here, and talk about it with people. At SXSW last week, I realized this blog doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up. Hell, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
And maybe that's ok. As long as you'll have me, I'll keep trying to figure it out.