I'm kinda sunburned. I spent quite a bit of time over the weekend outdoors, mostly taking photos. But the end result is rush from having this kind of a chance to play with a camera on a picture perfect day. And glowing cheeks.
I was at the College of Charleston campus downtown by 8 yesterday morning. I figured that's the best time to get the campus without any students there and I was right. It felt like I had the entire campus to myself for a couple of hours, and I had a great time. It's an incredibly beautiful place with old oak trees, moss, beautiful buildings, quaint walkways....just amazing...and doubly so in the early hours of a pretty Sunday spring morning.
Then, I went downtown by my old house and spent a couple more hours just wandering.
The air downtown is sweet with the scent of blooming Jasmine and bright flowers in wondowboxes everywhere. Not good if you've got allergies, I suppose, but amazing if you don't. It was amazing, a cornucopia of color and sights. All day.
I had my macro lens with me so I took close-ups of everything. You get a whole new level of appreciation for things when you reduce it to a super-close-up....pollen inside a flower, the fine details of a leaf, textures....it's actually pretty fascinating. I probably took 200 pictures over the course of the morning and early afternoon.
On the way home I stopped at the beach to contemplate a few things.
One of the things I've been forced to consider is my website, and whatever role it provides to anyone anymore. My hosting package and my domain name are up for renewal so I need to make some decisions.
As I think about it , I've been doing this for a long time. I started my original website in 2001. The reason I created it in the first place is that I was acutely aware that I literally owed my life to those who shared online and provided a glimmer of hope where there had been none before. At the time I wasn't sure whether that glimmer was a blessing or a curse because, up until then, I was comfortable with the fact that transition was impossible for me so I was doomed to an unfulfilling, frustrating, unrealized life.
Fifteen years ago doesn't seem like all that long ago in the scheme of things, but those of us who searched for resources at the time found pioneers like Dr. Becky Allison, and Andrea James, and others who provided resources unavailable anywhere else. More than that, though, they provided the real-world stories and perspectives that made them real, and in turn made Donna real. Their path was not necessarily my path, but the fact that they had crossed the abyss of fear and confusion, and had overcome the seemingly endless obstacles that prevented everyday people from getting from "here" to "there" was a source of inspiration and strength.
I owe much to those who helped me without ever even knowing it, simply by sharing openly and honestly to a world of faceless strangers. And, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to pay it forward similarly. I never imagined anyone would ever find my little website, but simply the process of sharing seemed important. The internet was different then that it is today, but I found that sharing online feed some deeper inner need in me, as well.
In 2004 I started my blog. It was originally a way to show that the website was alive, that it hadn't been abandoned. One of the ironies is that now - 8 years later - I update this blog on a regular basis but I rarely update the website. There's an irony there.
Back to the issue at hand...Managing the website and the blog has been a labor of love for a long time. If I counted all the words I've typed here, and in various emails and other "stuff" that has sprung from it all, I'm confident that it'd be well over 6 figures, and hundreds if not thousands of hours.
So here we are - making decisions about its future. It's a world of online communities, social networks, blogs, and any number of other significant changes that have altered what any one website can provide. The question at hand isn't merely one that involves the cost of hosting, the time to maintain, and the general implications of simply having a website out there. It's one of relevance. Is my website relevant anymore? If yes, then it should and will endure. If no - then there are two options. Either make it relevant, or take it down.
Nobody can answer those questions but me, but I am perhaps least qualified to do it. Still, that's what needs to happen in order to determine next steps.
There's a lot more going on in my life than this. But the two things I've got deadlines on right now are my website, and my income tax. I'll take care of both of them tomorrow....
Donnarose.com has expired. It is offline for the first time in a long time.
I talked with the hosting folks, and we came to an agreement. I've decided to keep it alive, and to make the commitment to making it more relevant. It will be back online by tomorrow.
So - one decision made.
As for my taxes....I need to finish them up over lunch. I'm going to see the band Daughtry tonight so I won't be home to send them in. I owe $$$, so I'm happy to wait until the last possible second....