Here or There, with Raven

Just before the world changed in the face of coronavirus, I had given myself permission to explore more freely, without consideration of income potential. During that time, I found myself on, where (to my absolute and overwhelming delight) I was transcribing an episode of Minnesota Bound’s Made for the Outdoors.

Be still, heart, I’m trying to think words.

If you grew up in Minnesota, with no cable but a big love for the great outdoors – you know Ron Schara and Raven. That man’s cadence makes my entire soul swell with emotion. There’s never just one thing for me – and that’s true here, as well. My mom put books in my chubby toddler hands, she brought me to college and the clinics, and gave me music, and all of Video Update’s best middle section indie crap. I am well honed.

There’s no single thing, certainly. Still, there at the top of the pile is Ron, in waders, and sun-baked. He made me love a story – about anything, which truly is at the root of my everything. Have you ever cried over a non-fiction account of a species of fish? Do you not weep at the lifecycle of a mayfly? If not, you have no idea what you’re missing. To be so moved by the painfully beautiful, in the most – so so most – mundane parts of the world. Or so they seem. This is what the voice can do – it can bring the world into sharp focus, in ways we never thought to look. My heart beats to this tempo, it is precisely this that made me a wanderer, a romantic, a storyteller, an artist.

While I was giddly transcribing the episode, I was entertaining daydreams of someday working for Ron Schara Productions – not as a faceless, nameless transcriptionist behind the (perfect, ok, perfect) captions of S5E5, but as a real life somethin’ or other.

But that’s a silly dream – I don’t need to work with the man himself to be inspired by him and to act on that inspiration. I can’t sleep tonight – that happens after sleeping off the sick for days on end. I’m bursting with excitement for the coming spring, and for all of the many projects that I’m excited to pick up again, now that the sun will start inching back into my life again. I can’t wait to lose myself somewhere, in waders, smiling, sun-baked – and telling stories.

Evolution, Embraced

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I have a total inability to commit to “a brand.”

This used to really bother me, but I took a step back and realized that in my photography, I refuse to commit to a style, and in my clothing choices I am all over the map, I love every genre of music, read books and watch documentaries on every subject under the sun. I am a dynamic and ever-evolving human. Expecting that in business I would ever be content to stay committed to a single logo and vibe…absurd.

In establishing better systems for myself, I recently decided to tackle the total chaos of my Dropbox account. Thousands of disorganized files were sorted into a simplified system. While doing this, I had a lot of feelings regarding the many various business names, vibes, and logos I have used over the nearly two decades I have been an entrepreneur. There was some shame, some regret, some amused embarrassment. There was also delight and a lot of warm & fuzzies as I recalled how I felt at that point in my life, the work I was doing.

I noticed that there was a pattern – I would hop between playful, soulful, and stripped brands. The stripped brands were always after feeling flaky and pulled in too many directions by my whims, and feeling like it would be better if I just had a simple text logo and everything beneath it could change – that never worked, either. It’s boring!

When I first started creating my new container system for my work – this series of sites all rooted under my main site, I thought it made sense to have a single brand, all the same colors and a slightly different vibe for each container. It all did, and still does, come back to the concepts of weaving – as the ideas of weaving together the bits of ourselves, our histories, our stories – those are themes that have always been present. It’s not a concept I dreamed up out of the blue, it is the theme that is (lol) woven into all I do. Even in my darkest periods, I fell back into themes of unraveling. The clarity in these themes became apparent with the creation of Family Mythology, my genealogy container, the idea of the thread that connects us, the stories we weave – a mixture of truth, fiction, misunderstanding, and wishful thinking. These stories shape us.

It did not, but should have, hit me at first how perfect it all was. My grandmother’s maiden name is Weaver. This is a part of who I am.

I originally could not think of a name for my photography container. I played at the ideas of crafting our own legacy, and after much headache settled on Modern Legacy – even though I hated it. Then inspiration struck last week and the Weavers logo fell out of me and into Illustrator. It was beautiful and perfect, and I was in love.

It also didn’t match the intended branding I’d planned for all of my containers. It forced me to rethink everything. And like that, everything burst into life, as I broke out of the box I was trying to put myself into, and realized that these containers can be anything I want, and they can change at any time, as needed, as I evolve.

This is the trouble, I think, with the solopreneur – we don’t realize that we are whole humans, not just a brand – and when you are the brand, it will inevitably need to change in totally unpredictable ways, as we do, as we grow.

I will talk more about the specific brands on my branding website – this post isn’t really about the brands themselves, as much as the realization that I need to stop feeling icky about evolution, sticking it under the label of flake. I am committed to growth and development – it makes sense that I embrace how I am shaped and reshaped by that process.

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