Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm Torn - Origin and Further Evolution of the Bean

Spirit People: Celebrating Self

July of 2008. The time when I really got this blog rolling. It was originally created in December of 2007 in the heat of a "wanting to vent" moment when the cafeteria at my old job suddenly and without warning wanted to charge me for "extra" cream cheese on my bagel. I literally created a blog for the sole purpose of saying that one thing out loud to the entire world. I think the interesting thing about the start of this blog isn't the post that inspired it, but the name I chose for it. Spiritual Evolution of the Bean...

What does that mean anyway? I guess through having to create usernames on a plethora of websites I have become known as Biffybeans. (On Flickr, on Twitter, on the FPN, etc.) Biffy was my childhood nickname (Mom still calls me Biff) and Beaner my dog. I believe I had recognized my own spiritual awakening sometime around the middle of 2005 and the name of the blog just kind of fell out of my head. The Bean, (meaning me) was going to write about her spiritual evolution. I guess...?

I love the photo sharing website Flickr. I love the user groups that you can submit to and peruse such as the "What's in your bag" group where people spill the contents of their bags/purses and label what's in it. I liked looking through them and seeing the common threads... Lamy Safari fountain pens, Stabilo markers, Moleskine journals. Then I began to find people who would post an image of their art supplies and write mini reviews of what they liked or didn't like about a product. I really liked that. As I am analytical in my thinking, I wanted to share in that same way. I know how hard it can be to find a local art supply store - how most of these things have to be purchased from the web and with the cost of shipping and all, how purchasing from the web and not liking something can become frustrating as all heck. So I happy started to post my comments on Flickr about various products I had tried... then onto the Fountain Pen Network once I started using fountain pens for daily writing... One day in the midst of all that I remembered that I had started and abandoned this blog and transferred everything I had written to this space - so it would all be here in one place.

But I couldn't just write about art and writing supplies.... I wanted to write about my Spiritual Evolution. I had been doing all kinds of interesting and mind expanding activities and meeting all kinds of amazing new people and I wanted to share, and so I did. I talked about drumming, performing, teaching... and creating art.

Writing, teaching, and creating art. If you had asked me 5 years ago what I think I'd be doing now, I probably would have stared blankly into outer space. It took a long time to understand (with the help of a friend's shoe up my butt) that I had more to contribute to the world than what punching a clock from 9-5 could deliver.

It took a world of guts but in November of 2008 I gave my notice and walked away from a "regular" job to live the life of a renaissance woman. During that time I have helped a friend write a book, maintained two blogs, started teaching my mandala/personal growth workshops, played music with amazing people in front of big crowds, traveled more than I have in my entire life and met a kazillion spectacular new friends. In addition to continuous writing and art creation, I also maintain a fairly regular presence on Facebook (a personal profile as well as a fan page) and an occasional one on Twitter. I've set up my original art for sale on Etsy, prints of my art on Imagekind and my images on stickers and such on Zazzle.

Sometimes I don't know whether I am coming or going, but this is exactly the life I wanted. To do what I love while being of service to others. But now I have a rather large dilemma. I do not know what to do with this blog and I'm hoping that you can offer me your thoughts, opinions, etc.

Though I still have a few items that I will eventually review/discuss, I no longer live to find the perfect combination of pen/paper/ink. Have I found it? I don't know, but I can say for sure that my focus is no longer on it so there must be some things that I enjoy using on a regular basis. Quality product reviews are incredibly time consuming when you factor in the actual use of and note taking about the product, taking and editing photos of the product, writing and editing the review. Though I did have a fair amount of fun trying all kind of different things, other things in my life have taken priority.

What I want to do is move more towards writing and sharing my art as it pertains to my experiences and interpretations on life and unfortunately, I find blogger to be somewhat limiting. (Though for a free blogging platform, I am extremely grateful.) When I write for Rhodia Drive, I am using Word Press and I find the interface so much more rich... just the ability to put an individual post into a specific category - I want that for this blog! So I am pondering moving the blog to Word Press, OR starting a new one altogether.

Starting a new blog has it's pros and cons. One big pro would be that I would want to redefine myself as "Stephanie Smith" visual artist/writer rather than "Biffybeans" product reviewer/mandala artist. (In that scenario, this blog would be kept up but no longer updated) One big con would be not knowing if all my readers would be interested in following me to a new blog - and potentially losing what I have worked so hard to gain and having to do it all over again. I know for sure that I want to continue writing my own blog - just not 100% sure which is the best direction for me to take right now.

Your thoughts?

Thanks for hanging in and letting me ramble. I appreciate your patience.

PS - Original artwork above available for sale on Etsy


Anonymous said...

"Sometimes I don't know whether I am coming or going, but this is exactly the life I wanted."

Justifies it 100% for me Biffy. What more could you want.

Anonymous said...

Move, already! Your regular readers will absolutely follow you (it isn't your domain they are after it is your thought process and your wonderful art). Just be sure and post that new website to this one.
Bonus, with a new website you are sure to attract new subscribers who didn't even know you were out there.
I like wordpress very much but your own domain would be perfectly sweet too!
So just do it and quit thinking so much about it. You know you are gonna anyway ;-)

Eden said...

Ahh Stephanie, I say GO FOR IT!! Use the wordpress that you like, link to your wordpress here and just be YOU and have FUN with wherever this new adventure takes you. Plus you never know when you might want to review a new product and you've already got the format in place here for that.

We will find you.
Good Luck to you :D

Dorothy said...

Hi Biffy, I just wanted you to know I've been following your blog with lots of interest for a couple of years and I'll miss seeing you in my inbox. For such a talented writer and artist you are an inspiration to me. And even though you may decide to stop blogging - critiquing pens and papers, I still very much enjoy reading about your life and your art.
I understand how blogging can become a chore; since I haven't blogged for a couple of years now.
I hope you decide to continue in some way, even if not as often as you have been. You'll be missed.

hap said...

Evolution is not only spiritual, but physical, and emotional. Perhaps the bean has grown into a flowering plant now, and needs and growth have changed from your origins.

Personally, I enjoy your reviews and have looked at various products you've discussed here. I've long been a fountain pen user, but found renewed joy in seeing your discoveries and explorations.

I've become a regular reader of your blog here, and hopefully my comments have contributed a little as well. If you move, it's likely I'll still follow your blog, as long as I find it interesting, informative and entertaining.

Life is exploration, exploration is discovery, discovery is change and change is evolution in action. Keep reaching, discovering, changing and evolving!! Good luck!

Angie said...

I'll follow you to your new site. I just discovered this one in the last couple of weeks. I think if you put a notice on the front page of this one, then people will just click over to the new site. What I love about your blog: the art, and that you show how your process works.

I don't get that "I'm writing this because I think it will help my career, but really I'm not this fluffy in real life" from your blog which I really enjoy!!

Oh and if you ever host an online workshop I am signing up!!

Unknown said...

thats very cool!!!! what do you use on that black paper?? watercolors or acrylic??

Stephanie "Biffybeans" Smith said...

Elena - acrylic paint, black gesso & white gel pen on black paper. :o)

Unknown said...

nice, thanks, i should try:))

Jennifer said...

Haha! Change is a happenin! I love what you have created here and will love what you are about to create. Imagine holding a dandelion flower in your hand, the seeds, ready to burst. Hold it to the wind and watch which direction the seeds are drawn to scatter. I will follow you wherever you plant those seeds, Steph. Much love and best wishes on this new leg of your journey.

laoriginaltec said...

Move I will follow.

Unknown said...

Stephanie i would be glad if you follow me too:)

Sam said...

Hello Miss Beans :) I've just found you yesterday when I searched for 'Lamy 2000' on Flickr. And then you seemed to appear everywhere! Your pics and reviews are all over the web and today I come across your blog.

I want to do almost exactly what you are doing. I had a similar awakening but I don't have 1% of all the talents you have to support yourself without a 9 to 5. Anyway, I don't know much about you yet, but you're a delightful web presence and I'm a fan.

So yes I would follow your blog if you move and you should. I have a hosting account with Dreamhost and their service is top grade. That should be your next step, host your own site with limitless space to grow as you like.

You also wondered how to use the blog. If you are a regular writer in your paper journal, and want to share that, just scan and post images as blog posts. That way we can read what you have to say in your own handwriting.

Good luck with the move!

Stephanie "Biffybeans" Smith said...

I just want to say that while I know I write in a public forum and can see the number of people visiting via my stat counter, I don't think you can fully realize the impact of what you are doing until you receive comments like these. I was so overwhelmed with emotion by your comments on this post that it took me a while for me to gather myself so I could respond - I apologize for taking so long to respond.

Thank you all so very much for your kind words and support. Though I do my best to offer inspiration through my own actions, there are definitely times (this past month) when I am not as strong as my words might make me out to be and I suffer from a lack of confidence, etc. then fall into the mud - but at least I know I am there and look around for a way to pull myself out. :o)

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