That I have been neglecting this site is undeniable. I have been conflicted about how and why to continue. In the Pinterest era, it is easy to believe that there is someone else out there who is better, neater, tidier, and thensome than anything I have to offer.
But that's the thing, isn't it?
Tightly framed shots. Perfectly placed bokeh backlighting. Marvelous antique silver cachepot somethingorothers.
Does anyone really live like that? I travel in some pretty well-heeled circles, and I don't know anyone who does.
For the last year or so, I've struggled with Cottage Industrialist. It has brought me incredible pleasure, helped me to forge real-life friends, and helped me soldier through some tough times. But I have become increasingly concerned that I have been a part of selling a fantasy. A fantasy in which I do not—and do not want to—live.
In late December of 2008, I posted a calendar on my blog, which was then only a few months old. I sent a PDF of the calendar to a blogger I admired. She never wrote back. I printed off a few copies for family members and moved on. And then on December 31, the hits started rolling in. First by the hundreds and then by the thousands. Some other well-known blogger I'd never heard of had found the calendars and posted a link in her year-end round up. And, overnight I went from having a handful of friends and random Norweigans reading my site to being (okay, feeling like) an internet sensation. And, well, that felt pretty fricking good.
To my great delight, a lot of the people who came for free calendars stuck around and became a part of a community of big-hearted people who appreciated the same things I did and encouraged me personally as I tried to figure out how to pursue them amidst the pressures of being a mom, wife, lawyer, daughter, sister, and friend.
That and, I would soon learn, they (along with every other person on the internet) REALLY liked calendars.
For the next few years, I would spend much of November and December trying my best to outdo myself, trying to please the clamoring hordes. I tried humor one year. The next I taught myself to paint. Seriously.
This year, as October and November and December ebbed farther and farther along, the annual pressure to come up with a calendar felt lopsided and weird. I've never let up with my industrialist ways at home. But over the last year or so, I've decided to back off of documenting my every crafty or culinary move for the world to see. So why keep up the calendar business? Hadn't it run it's course?
But. Two things:
Two years ago, when I set out to do the drawings that became the basis of the Seasonal Produce Calendar 1.0, I had a file that I worked on for HOURS. It was a bunch of radishes. And I loved those damned radishes. But I ran out of room for them. And never finished them. I can't tell you how many radishes I've drawn since. It's like they're trying to tell me something.
The Internet gets a pretty bad rap. Creepy ads for Viagra and Cialis and mail-order brides. Spam chain letters and flame wars and anonymous comment trolls. But, in my experience, the Internet is full of kind, lovely people. WHO FREAKING LOVE CALENDARS. And who write forceful, if very polite, emails requesting same. Posthaste, please.
It's late. Your January is one-quarter finished. You are likely penciling in your February obligations.
And all I have for you is this radish. This single, winter radish.
But that's the thing. It's not perfect—radishes rarely are. But they are bright, red spots in winter's dreary harvest. They are a promise of spring's plump peaches, of summer's bright red tomatoes. And so, in a way, this single radish is my promise to you few who remain, who pester me (eversogently) for the next installment in this Julian madness. There will be more to come. In the fullness and ripeness of time.
You never know when the next bumper crop is on the way...
Download January here. Be not a jerk. Do not sell, alter, or redistribute, please.