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This is Not a Photo Blog (Hah!)

garage in Jemez Springs, NM

When I’m not here ↓ I’m making space for writing (Image: Jemez Springs, NM)

You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The 900 pixel wide images dominate each post, and you get a high-rez version on any Retina-screen device. Zoom in on this sucker from your iPad or iPhone, for example, and it stays in focus longer. I’ll bet three people know that. But I’m always taking pictures—it’s a thing I do—and I’d rather have them at JHFARR.COM than send you off to Flickr or whatever. (You can scroll through every image from this blog right here, of course). So there’s that.

But neither is it like unto a magazine or book. I used to publish lengthy online essays on a regular basis—my old GRACK! columns, for example. In fact, I practically invented the format writing for Applelinks and MacAddict. At least one other guy knows that. This is what happens at a certain age, when you look around and 20 million people are having insights you had years ago—hell, even I was 20 once. Those Web columns were real literature, and a lot of them ended up in my first two books. Once I published them, however, I had to pull the online versions off the air. Amazon won’t let you sell content that’s available somewhere else for free.

The point is, unless thousands of people are reading this stuff—in which case I’d sell ads—the blog is only accidentally a primary medium for serious work, like when I’m deeply moved or crazy excited and just have to post something right away, and it turns out to be good. That’s pretty much the essence of blogging, anyway, unless you’re getting paid.

I used to think I had this brilliant plan: I’d just blog all day, and every few months I’d package the best posts into yet another ebook. There are plenty of people doing this right now, mostly with material of a technical or helpful nature. Spontaneous daily writing, however, tends to generate a lot of drivel, entertaining though it may be, and it turned out that I wasn’t producing nearly enough high-quality art that way. Marrying the muse is what she wants, rather than a one-night stand. I even dreamed about this. She was quite explicit! All kinds of wonders emerge from deep commitment—duh—and now we’re at the story of my wacko life: the fact that I had to have gray hair and lizard skin before I understood this and experienced it first-hand.

That’s why someone hit me with a riddle not too long ago: “Do you know how to get a snake out of an anthill?” she asked, trying to be helpful. (Yes, the question bothered me a little, since there are no snakes in anthills anywhere I’ve ever been, but look here at South Africa.) The answer is, you plug up all the holes except one, and that’s the one the snake has to come out of. Now that I think of it, maybe the riddle was on how to catch said snake. At any rate, the snake is two full chapters long and growing.

Such discipline is new for me and I may fail most horribly. Most days I’ll be here regardless, and by all means visit for the photos, too. After all, my favorite part of grade school always was the show-and-tell…

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  • christian ienni August 14, 2013, 11:39 PM

    just had to say “hey!” since i’m the “one other guy” who remembers the Applelinks days of yore. :-) in fact that’s where i first found you way back when (and i haven’t been back to Applelinks once since you got canned – do they even still exist?).
    as for muses and creative discipline (and lack thereof), tell me about it! i really should be doing a LOT more music than i have been – the whole “dealing with the decline & death of my parents” situation is certainly a valid issue, but it can also become an easy excuse for inertia. gotta work on that. (and if you want to hear some quasi-musical “spontaneously generated drivel” check my site ;-) )

    • JHF August 15, 2013, 12:21 AM

      Hey Chris! Actually, I didn’t mean you, so maybe there are a whole TWO guys who saw me invent the irreverent photo-illustrated tech site column with a personal slant and later ditch the tech and just keep going. I was one of the first, all right, though I doubt anybody copied me. More a matter of what the technology allowed, suggested, or made fun to play with.

      Yes, Applelinks still exists, and I bear them no ill will. I had to bust out, anyway. The MacAddict gig was really the bigger deal professionally, IMO, although it didn’t last as long. All this only 10-15 years ago, yet it feels like an eternity.

  • Frank Powell August 15, 2013, 7:36 AM

    Thanks, I couldn’t think of the online venue you used to write for, Applelinks, thats it. Seems like a long time ago. In that time I lost a good job to down sizing and wife the same year. She decided to move on to someone else.
    Bought a photo studio and moved to most god awful place on earth, Northeast Ohio, I was on the leading edge of the economic melt down and with in 3 years we lost the studio the condo and the house!
    We call it the “bad place”. Didn’t know it was so bad until about one year in. Live, learn and move on.

    Applelinks made think of Rodney, don’t remember his last name and the sadness I felt when I heard about his passing, I never met him but he wrote with a passion if you could call it that.

    Mr. Farr, we have been together a few years.

    • JHF August 15, 2013, 7:59 AM

      Hi Frank!

      His name was Rodney O. Lain. He didn’t write for Applelinks, though. (Here’s some background.) We both rocked at MacAddict.com. They paid real money, too.

      Your own story is impressive. I didn’t know that, obviously, and thanks for sharing. “Live, learn, and move on” indeed!

  • Beth Lock August 16, 2013, 10:08 PM

    Rodney O. Lain emailed me the night he got his G3 Power Mac and said that he was sitting there masturbating opening and closing it, opening and closing it. Rodney was like no other of us. I didn’t mind him telling me about his excitement about the technology, it wasn’t really a sexual email. He had a wife he loved very much. It was an analogy the he knew I would understand. I do miss Rodney.

    Nice you are still exploring NM John. I’m still exploring Utah. I might start writing again once I don’t have to work anymore. Love to you and Kathy. xo from me and Ian.

    • JHF August 16, 2013, 10:22 PM

      Hi Beth! Wonderful to hear from you again. I understand perfectly about that Rodney email. That was him, all right. No wonder we got along!

      Yes, I’m still exploring NM. In many ways I haven’t even started. Older’n shit and finally learning how to let go of my past. You should definitely write. You are dangerously good. Thank you for the greeting, I’ll pass it on!

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