Today is the one year anniversary of EatsWritesShoots. Thank you all for making this the best year of my life.
A year is a long time. Much can be done in a year. But it is a long time to be doing anything.
When I began this blog a year ago, I had no real plans or ambitions for it. I didn’t know where it would go and I certainly had no inkling of what exactly would fill these pages. But these pages have indeed been filled. This post is actually my 193rd in that span, a number that astounds even me. It certainly has astounded some of readers who think I quietly gave up my day job to become a blogger … and yes, for those wondering, I do have a day job, a rather demanding day job at that. But really, when I consider that I have averaged more than a post every other day for a year, I can understand the question … and it explains the callouses on my fingertips.
This year of blogging has been a remarkable journey, though, and goes well beyond stats, stats which nonetheless blow me away. That’s not to say I have stats that are remarkable in the larger world, but they’re remarkable to me because when I started a year ago, I had no inclination that anyone would discover me or even read or look at what I’ve put on these pages. But not only have readers touched my pages, they — you — have encouraged me, provided constructive comments, and even chosen to follow me and share my work with others. And I can imagine no greater currency for a writer than to be read.
When I set out on this journey, I chose as broad a canvas as I could imagine, not really knowing what I’d ultimately choose to paint upon it. I was also convinced that my desire to post eclectic pieces ranging from love, photos, my dog (Ben), my thoughts, and my recipes would alienate many who would prefer a simple and consistent site. I still think that’s likely the case, but having said that, this site has been viewed 6000 times by almost half the countries in the world: which is, I think, more people than viewed and liked the recent Lone Ranger film (sorry Johnny Depp, but what were you thinking?).
In that year, I spent a month in April devoted to my dog and the Benjamin Project, posting on him for 30 straight days and, in the process, I started a project that I’m hoping to come back to at some point. I’ve also posted 14 different galleries and photo collections on things that largely caught my eye this year. But if I was unclear where this blog would go, the 54 beer reviews (yes, I’m well-aware that’s a beer/week which is a lot) and the 90+ recipes plus the fact that I’m halfway through my contribution to The Canadian Food Experience Project and plus that I threw myself into self-described Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) challenges means that my blog is largely, but not entirely, the explorations and creations of an Ottawa foodie. I don’t think this is truly a food blog, but I am guessing there are many who would disagree and who simply skip over the one-in-four posts that are about something else.
The truth is that I now know what this blog is about, what my vision is for it, and what its mission, which is twofold, will continue to be. And I now know that I can do this; I know I can write, publish, and be read. And I’m finding or, even, have found my voice.
Fundamentally, EatsWritesShoots is the story of Dale, myself, yes, and my lifelong journey to understand myself and to share that knowledge with others. There is a cohesive nature to this blog in that it focuses this journey through a lens related to the “aesthetic” of life. I made a mistake, I think, when I subtitled this blog “Life through the eyes of a hedonist.” What I think I should say is that it is life through the eyes of an aesthete which, in this case, applies to the beauty and art of not only the fine-art world but also the consumable and natural world.
A year ago, I thought I was setting out on a journey to produce something. I thought I’d share with the world my creative works, my culinary works, and my photographic works. Superficially, this blog does share those works — but in choosing to share each of these works, as much as possible, I also choose to share the story of that work … and in that story is the key to the blog. Those stories are me; I am the lens through which you see those works. Sometimes, as in my poetic creations, that lens is more obvious but it is in every piece I’ve written and every photo I’ve taken. It may not always be meaningful for others, but through self-reflection, I am learning about myself through my own blog. This is a revelation that really hit home in my last contribution to the Canadian Food Experience Project when I wrote about Harvesting an Identity.
This blog presents a challenge to me every day and I mean that in best sense of the word. It’s not a coincidence that I’ve set blog challenges for myself this year but really, the ultimate and ongoing challenge of this blog is to be vulnerable and to share with the world who I am and what I feel and think. My words, my recipes, my photographs are all but portals into me … and in sharing this with you, I also am sharing it with myself. This is the twofold mission, then: to discover myself and to share it with the world and through this act make the world a better place for us each individually and in our communities. I know that sounds rather aspirational and perhaps even a bit crazy, but if through my act of sharing about Benjamin I elicit an emotion which makes someone think about dogs and animals differently; if through writing about the wonder and power of joining a CSA and how it can transform your table, one person goes out and joins a CSA and spreads the word; if through sharing a poem or photograph I provide inspiration to someone else to love or smile, then, truly, I will have changed the world in one small way.
Indeed every small change is still change — large changes are really only the culmination of many small changes acting for a common cause.
For me: this blog is about learning because only through learning can we consciously change ourselves or the world.
Thus, I will continue to challenge myself to explore, discover, taste, look, and feel … and I will continue to share with you what I learn through this challenge. And perhaps, just perhaps, this blog and I will evolve together to live up to Mahatma Gandhi’s most profound and wise words and “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”