Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The many years of Arctic Glass

The best of "Arctic Glass"
As blogs go, "Jill Outside" formerly "Up in Alaska" url "Arctic Glass" is beyond ancient. On November 3, it will turn seven years old. With the exception of a few friends, family, and my cat Cady, this blog is the only thing that has been a constant in my life for that long. (Even bodies regenerate an entirely new batch of cells every seven years.) It was a snowy evening in Homer, Alaska, when I first launched my blog on a whim, planning to use it to stay in touch with friends in the Lower 48 (this was 2005, the now-almost-unimaginable-pre-Facebook-era.) I figured I would post pretty Alaska photographs once a week or so, and maybe my mom would read it. Arctic Glass has since amassed 1,548 entries, 19,910 comments, 3,317,930 direct page views, and 2,840 Google subscribers. I couldn't even begin to guess how many words and photos fill this space ... suffice to say it's a whole lot. This blog is quite the obese oldster, so to speak.

I never diverged from my original intention for this blog, which is — and only is — a simple online journal. I don't sell ads. I don't publish how-to articles. I don't comment on politics or current events. I don't do gear reviews. I do consider commercial blogs to be worthy ventures, and while I have received many requests and offers over the years, I decided not to venture down this path. Arctic Glass is really just the story of my life — truncated, for sure, due to the content being largely restricted to my chosen theme (outdoor activity), the blog's public status, and my own time constraints. But even with these limitations, this blog has helped me generate a rich and cathartic record of my day-to-day life, which is why I continue to enthusiastically pour so much time and energy into it (even though its sheer obesity means that not even my mom has read the entire thing.)

Still, I believe that some of the content on this blog is worth revisiting. Which is why, under the urging of a trusted colleague, I worked on putting together a compilation of blog posts — the "Best of Arctic Glass." As with other projects amid my adventure-distracted lifestyle, this one took much too long to come together. And while I've been working on designing a photo-enriched physical book that I can actually afford to publish, more and more time keeps passing. Now what started as a "Six Years of Adventure" project is quickly approaching seven. As such, I decided to release the compilation in eBook form, which can be read on Kindles, iPads, or your home computer.

"Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure in Alaska and Beyond" is a collection of 33 essays from this blog, along with short commentary. The main question I get when I tell people about this book is whether any of the content is new. The answer is no. Yes, technically these essays are available for free somewhere on this blog (the key word, of course, being "somewhere." Even I had a hard time finding many of the posts I wanted to include.) What the eBook offers is a succinct timeline, as well as a thorough culling of 1,548 posts to get to the good stuff. Photos are not a prominent part of the eBook, but there are a few. If you're a new reader of this blog and curious about the backstory, or a long-time reader of the blog who missed a few years here and there, I think you would enjoy this book. It's a measly $2.99 on Amazon and iTunes, and your purchase will help me stay gainfully funemployed long enough to finish my other writing projects. Or waste more time pursuing yet more adventures. Hopefully both.

As for the full photo book, I plan to keep working on that. Given all of the adventures I've been trying to cram into the remainder of this year, as well as renewed determination to finish my "A" project before the year is out — it might be a while yet. But for now, you can find "Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure in Alaska and Beyond" at these links:

Amazon Kindle
For iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch via iTunes
PDF and other formats via Smashwords