New Potato Tian


Before I say anything else, I need to thank you for your encouragement on the last post. When I wrote it, I did it for myself, to say out loud and to the Internet that I wanted to practice intentionality in this space. I figured that way, next time I found myself fixated on photography or recipe indexes or Sitemeter, I would have a published reminder to come back to, a post to point out my purpose, to remind me I’m here to share my stories, whatever does or doesn’t come with that. I swear I didn’t write it so you would pat me on the back and tell me I’m awesome and that I should keep going. In fact, reading through the comments, I almost couldn’t take your kind words. It seems while I’ve spent a lot of the last few years wondering about my focus in this space, you guys have discerned it all along. You are the greatest gift of this place. I don’t know what else to say but thank you. Thank you.

Now, continuing with the theme of things I’ve wrestled with: potatoes. It’s not that I don’t like potatoes; I do. Like most of you, I grew up eating baked potatoes and mashed potatoes, French fries and hash browns. When hasselbacks emerge from the oven, crusty and golden, garlicky and soft, I’ll be the first to spoon half a dozen to my plate. I’m nuts about au gratin, that sloppy, creamy potato casserole plumped full with butter, milk and several different kinds of cheese—you and I both know that’s pure comfort on a plate. And if it’s Chanukah and you bring latkes, you’ll make me one happy girl—in fact, that’s true if it’s Chanukah or not.

But all these facts notwithstanding, in this household, we hardly ever buy potatoes. I think the last time they were in my grocery cart was circa 2010, and as strange as that sounds when you consider my earlier admissions, the reason’s pretty simple. It comes down to two words:

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Confessions on Blogging, on the Day before Four Years

blog birthday

Four years into blogging (as of tomorrow!), I have a confession to make: sometimes I ask why am I blogging and forget what I’m doing here. For a while I thought this was a photography blog. My posts revolved around my pictures, which I was spending lots of time trying to improve. Then, it was business. I looked for ways to monetize, testing ad spaces and selling statistics. It’s been design-focused, while we’ve changed the layout and header more times than I care to count. It’s also been about food and about compiling more original recipes, since everyone says that’s how to stand out.

But while I was home in Chicago, spending an evening with Jacqui, a friend whose perspective on blogging has always been authentic and grounded and right, we got talking about blogs and about writing, and it hit me: somehow, in the last few months and years of changing styles and formats and direction, I’ve forgotten the heart of this place.

Because no matter why you start out blogging—to practice your art, to build community, to tell your stories—it’s not long before you start to feel pulled towards another goal: to be noticed. All bloggers want to be noticed; all writers want to be read. There’s nothing wrong with that. And you look around and there are bloggers getting endorsements and bloggers quitting their day jobs and bloggers with fan clubs the size of celebrities’, and you think, does what I’m doing matter at all? It’s basic human nature to want someone to care about you, to want to be known; and listen, as any blogger would tell you: keeping up a website takes work and time, but for most of us, instead of getting a paycheck at the end of our work days, we get the satisfaction of knowing other people who like what we do, too.

But see, here’s the thing.

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