Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Night at Downton ... plus some other stuff.

Well Reader, last Sunday we had our much-anticipated Downton Abbey Season Finale party, at the old Austin City Limit studios.  May I just say that watching Downton Abbey, in a room of similarly enthusiastic fans, is light years better than watching Downton Abbey holed up alone with your computer  in bed, wearing your retainer and sitting through the Royal Caribbean Cruise commercials?  Shocking I know!

That's my dear friend Vija and I above.  Vija is astounding for two reasons: A) she dressed up in appropriate period wear, as we are now tumbling headlong into the 1920's with our friends at Downton, and B) she made me a Dowager Countess paper DOLL!  Here's a close-up.

There she is, holding her prize-winning roses.  She's probably rolling her eyes at Cousin Isobel for something annoying she just said.

I've been terribly light on posts this week Reader, and I promise there is a reason for that.  I've hinted and I've teased, but we really are moving over to the new Austin Eavesdropper design and platform as we speak.  It's both exciting and scary.

I was having dinner with my new editor and friend David the other night, who works for CitySearch.  He has an eye for branding and marketing, the things I'm supposed to be good at too since I am, after all, a publicist.  And what's funny is, I can advise other people all day long on their brands: If they need better design, how they can reach their audience more effectively, etc.  But when David starting talking Austin Eavesdropper's brand ... I immediately got squirmy.  Insecure.  

It's so hard to get out of the creative thing you love, and step back, look at it objectively.  I have slowly gotten better at talking about Austin Eavesdropper (unlike this time last year around SXSW), have figured out its elevator pitch.  I have been lucky, God - lucky! - to have blog designer friends, as well as lifestyle blogger friends, who don't get all freaky neurotic about self-branding like I do.  

I guess there's a teensy, tiny part of me that worries about losing my authentic voice if I branded Austin Eavesdropper too hard.  Like I couldn't come to you guys anymore, you people reading this post, and let loose when I need to.  Like it would be too much, and you'd say: "WHOA there, Tolly!  Back to pretty images and stories about Austin, please.  Rein it in."

I wonder if other bloggers ever feel this way?  

Some of my favorite posts on this site have kind of addressed heavier stuff in my life -- when Ross had an intervention with our close friend for example, or when my college boyfriend Courtland died.  These aren't necessarily the most commented-on posts, but I loved writing them and processing them and I don't want that stuff to go away when Austin Eavesdropper is sparklier and newer.  Don't worry -- it's not my goal in life to depress you all the time.  But I get a special high off of writing stuff that feels real.  Confessional, even.

Anyway.  This post got slightly heavier than I intended ... I thought I was just going to write a few lines about Maggie Smith.  Snap my laptop shut, skip off to the rest of my day. 

But I'm glad we had this talk.  If feels like it's been a while, since I've told you what was actually on my mind.  I know I am crazy fortunate.  I've got supportive readers and blogger buddies and artistic friends who help me birth my nutty little visions, like AETV.  Despite all my hand-wringing, I really can't overstate how giddy I am to foist the new site on you.  Because it purdy.

Perhaps it's appropriate, though, that as we say goodbye to Austin Eavesdropper's home here on Blogspot, I give it thanks for letting me be that girl.  The one who DOES freak out and DOES get nervous and DOES talk about it, and you, generous souls that you are, listen and nod.  You lean forward, rather than run away.  You tell me that I make sense, even when I only halfway do.

And, I just want you to know that I really, really appreciate that.

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