It is my opinion that the popular catch phrase “Simple Living” should never be taken as synonymous with “Easy Living”. In fact, since more seriously trying to embrace “simplicity” in recent years, I have been so actively absorbed in tasks that setting aside time for writing about the experience has been nearly impossible! Over the weeks that have passed between my last post and now, my family and I have spent time in Colorado, returned to Canada, moved out of our little condo to a cute bungalow, been busy with family priorities, home-schooling, Spring Cleaning and too much snow shovelling to dwell on. Alongside all that, I have been trying to keep up with computer crashes, musical projects and weekend tours ~ juggling the life of a sleep-deprived, stay-at-home dad with the life of a tired, travelling minstrel. Often, I believe, it would be easier to juggle flaming bowling pins in the nude, while riding a uni-cycle on a tight-rope above thorn trees, whistling Dixie with a mouth full of crackers.
Our recent move, spring cleaning and home-schooling adventures will all deserve blog posts of their own in coming weeks, but until then, I feel it important to share a decision I have made with those of you who have been awaiting a new post since December.
Last weekend, while visiting Boston, MA to share some songs with a delightful group of university students, I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady who expressed her sweet support of this blog with me. It was not the first such humbling circumstance I had encountered in recent times, but for some reason, her passion about my little posts seemed to provide me with more inspiration for reflection than usual and the motivation needed to present a new offering.
Over the past many months of touring in the guise of a travelling troubadour, it has been consistently heartwarming to have individuals in several countries approach me after events to voice their support of this blog, encourage further articles and lovingly demand updates on my daughters, DYI activities, composting and gardening. It seems that increasing numbers of folks ~ especially young people and fledgeling families ~ are eager to embrace more meaningful lives, simple surroundings, earth- conscious choices and perennial philosophy. Naturally, such endeavours feel easier when embarked upon with friends ~ hence the camaraderie fostered through a somewhat interactive blog as this.
Spun-off of my “Wharnsby.Com” music-site, this blog began as nothing more than a personal outlet for my thoughts ~ a means of documenting my ongoing experiments in living simply while bouncing seasonally between homes in Pakistan, Canada and Colorado, USA. It was unceremoniously launched with no cross-references to my music related activities and was initially not publicized in any way to supporters of my poetry or CDs. Yet within weeks ~ and much to my surprise ~ the subscriptions began to pile up! When I did begin to gradually merge the blog articles with my music focused Facebook page and website, I worried that perhaps combining the “two worlds” would cause problems.
What if music lovers came to my website looking for flashy music videos, MP3 downloads, snazzy PR pictures or links to my hip performance clothing sponsors…and were confused to find only articles on “Rain Harvesting” or “5 Creative Uses For Wooden Clementine Crates”? Would they think I was some has-been, middle aged singer/songwriter too proud to sign with a music label providing him with professional distance between fans behind a glossy website and a producer to auto-tune his aging voice… an “Anti-Diva Diva” so disgruntled with the music biz that he’d gone cuckoo and started recording songs in his home-studio between tea parties with his daughters and house-plant waterings? (Alas, their assumptions would be correct I confess.)
What if Global Green Granola Eaters wanting to keep up with my escapades on minimizing plastics in my home were constantly being “updated” with posts about my latest tour venues, home-studio outpourings or recently published poetry anthologies? Would they feel I was using my “Simple Living” platform to promote my artistic “products” wrapped in recycled cardboard with 100% vegetable dye inks? Packaging my home-made cookies, as it were, in brown paper bags then selling them for double the price of Mr. Christie, like so many specialty “Organic Food” shops do?
Thinking upon all these things, reflecting upon the support I have had for this blog and the years of support I have had for my music…and dwelling for days upon my true passions, I have come to a conclusion:
In an effort to streamline my time spent on the internet, while also presenting my work, my ideas and my passions as simply and honestly as possible ~ the old Wharnsby.Com will go off-line shortly, with it’s URL being directed here to this blog hence forth.
It was never my intention to be a “professional” musician ~ use music as a means of securing financial income, distribute it in a competitive way within an arena of other musicians, or commercially target-market what I record to any specific niche community or music-loving audiences. Here I find myself a professional musician, and though I am grateful for the good that livelihood has brought my way ~ there are aspects of The Life that I struggle with painfully. Aspects I wish to change for my own peace of mind.
Music is, and always has been, a means of artistic expression for me. Those who know me or have been to some of my shows will have perhaps heard me say many times: the true reason I write is because I can’t afford a therapist. In my early days of releasing music publicly, I was always a dedicated “Do It Yourselfer”, handling all aspects of my expression independently, from writing and production, to graphic design, layout and distribution ~ hoping that such a hands-on approach would help me to keep a focus on the music itself. It was always my desire to avoid PR photo shoots and avoid having my face grace album covers. Things changed in about 2003 when I attempted to re-adjust my music distribution to the rapidly twisting industry, shifting uncomfortably in those days from CD/live-venue based marketing to digital sales and web-based PR. Suddenly there was “Wharnsby.com” cluttering the internet and imposing upon me expectations for annual make-overs to both the brochure-style site and my own personal appearance atop its pages.
Another aspect of the music-biz experience that has been a nagging thorn under my guitar strap, relates to the often egocentric nature of “selling one’s art”. Perhaps others can balance believing their own bios with being down-to-earth better than I am able to ~ and more power to them ~ but I find the threat of losing one’s self in marketing what is sacred to one’s self very troublesome. Since I began writing at the age of 17, quests for simplicity, spiritual growth and sincere expression have been the foundations of my writing. Trying to maintain those quests sincerely while simultaneously selling the musical musings they inspire has been a very tough road. Now, after two decades of stumbling along ~ quite honestly ~ I am just tired of selling myself, my faith and my music.
Turning off the promotional “Wharnsby.com” website and having this blog be my primary platform for expression feels much more genuine to me and may hopefully be one small step in trying to simplify my life further. It also means less time updating a website (on-top of this blog and a Facebook Page) and less money on web-hosting annually. Another step I am taking involves the revamping of my professional music company (publishing and distribution wings) into a non-profit entity more heavily supporting educational programs for children overseas. A few hundred dollars a year in saved web-hosting fees equates to two years tuition for a child in rural Pakistan.
It seems, based on feedback I receive to my music sites and this blog that, just as my passions for trying to live simply and honestly have been primary inspirations for my poetry and music over the years ~ in like fashion, many supporters of my writing and music have also been individuals sharing desires for the more “organic” aspects of life.
So ~ I hope those of you who have been sharing these posts with me here over the past year or so will bear with me in coming days/weeks as I add a few new sections to this site, consolidating some of the music/poetry related pages from the other Wharnsby.Com site with this blog. I have tried to see if I can keep those additions from being sent out to all of you as “updates” but do not think I can disable that function. Thus, if you get an update listing my CDs/books etc, please don’t think I am advertising ~ I assure you, my intention is to simply merge my worlds together ~ leaving me more time to write articles for this blog about my plans for building my daughters a soap-box car and why exactly I won’t be buying any new books, CDs or clothing for the next 9 years….