Curating my Life and my Website

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops multiple bordres around her old outdated website graphics.

“This is Me, it’s like a part of me. I can’t just get rid of it. These graphics are my branding,” I told the Ithaca College student who was writing a critical evaluation of my website for his final project. But I knew the distracting purple and black zigzags had to go. It was the Me from four years ago, when I was clinging to my past artwork because I no longer knew who I was or what I was capable of. Thinking I’d never do art again, a year after my daughter died, I’d grabbed graphics from decades earlier to design my site. I’d filled every corner of my online home, as if I could pad and protect my new life.

“Cluttered …crowded … crazy patterns … Unclear what the purpose is,” was written in the student’s report. Many of his classmates had voted in agreement, “The site doesn’t look trustworthy.” A suffocating heaviness enveloped me. Like grief. And I wondered how I had failed, and why my readers wouldn’t trust me. After all, I had emptied my heart onto the blog posts. Each week for four years I’d dug deep into my gut to extract the truth about losing a loved one, and planted it on the pages. What else could I possibly expose in order to be “trustworthy?” I decided to tear down and whitewash the whole site.

Days later, I learned that trustworthiness referred to the credibility of the website, and the safeguards utilized to secure the site from scammers and malicious hackers.
“We’re updating your secure connection, and getting you the certification sticker,” Bob, my webmaster at Ameriweb Hosting, assured me, when I called, in tears. But by then, my mind was made up. It was time to clean up and clear it out.

So please excuse the mess on my website the next few weeks as I peel away the old distracting layers of design, and Bob adds layers of protection. I’m lightening up and simplifying our looks. There’s room to spread out now. More space. It’s secure. Finally, I can breathe again. I can fly.




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6 thoughts on “Curating my Life and my Website

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    It’s a big job, but it will make you happy to start fresh. I did this in 2014, the summer before my book was published. My CA son said, “Your website is so 1990s, Mom.” It will probably go out of style again soon.
    It threw me off that there was nothing written–and then I realized you’re still in process. It will be beautiful, just like your new little book (which isn’t listed but I’m sure will be).
    Stay calm. Be cheerful.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Still working on it, Elaine. Yes, it will feel great when it’s done. Not that it can ever really be DONE. Like you said, “It will probably go out of style again soon.” I can’t seem to reach my webmaster to finish the book page and home page off. Lots of work. Yeah. Perpetually in process. Cheers!

  2. Monica

    Deep breath and fly high, Robin. All the best with your redesign. It will be just as lovely and authentic as when you started, I’m sure.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thanks Monica. Redesigning my website is beginning to bug me. I don’t usually suffer from writer’s block but this project of redoing the pages has been extremely difficult. I’ve had to drag myself and promise myself things and really force myself to get to it, to stick to it. Yeesh! What IS my problem? I wonder.
      Meanwhile, congratulations on Lena’s publishing. Isn’t it some kind of wonderful to have your daughter be published even after her death? I’m wishing and hoping I can do something with my manuscript so my Marika can get some of her songs (in the manuscript) published.

  3. Annette Corth

    Robin, this image is merely magnificent! I love it! It is quite a change from your prior work, much lighter in tone and feel. Congratulations! Keep it up!
    Love, Annette

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thanks, Annette. My latest images seem to be taking a lighter, less color-saturated turn. Not sure if I’m entirely happy with this yet, but I do believe in change and in watching where your work takes you. Maybe it’s all part of this de-cluttering thing I’m still working on for my website. Keeping it up for now but ready to change once again at any moment. Cheers!


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