Ipstenu.Org

What I’ve Learned

I moved to Chicago on Bloomsday, 1997. In 1998, I had created a cute little site that was pretty much ‘A Jorja Fox homepage’. Small, teeny, informational, and rather in keeping with web design in the late 1990s. The site had grown from this one page I had on my college website, and then later on xoom.com. So really I can trace Jorja Fox: Online (aka JFO) back to 1996 or so. That means I’ve been running this site for somewhere near 13 years.

It’s interesting to look back on the changes that have happened since then, in me and in the web and in Jorja’s career. Still, the most oft question I get (excluding the stupid ones like ‘Are you Jorja?’) is ‘How come you’re still here?’ I think what they mean is ‘How the hell did you manage to last blogging like this for 13 years. And the answer is ‘I didn’t.’

Looking back on 2000’s web design (which actually has much the same colors as today’s site), the updates were a little different. I used to just update (manually editing the page) every time I had something new. Then, when Jorja was on The West Wing, I made updates every Wednesday, right after the show aired. Screencaps were always delayed. Then came CSI and I found my webdesign skills stressed. I had my own blog, but I was having to update JFO every day or so. There were award shows, episodes, articles … it was getting unwieldy to be able to update it all via shell access. I needed a tool.

The way I did ‘blogging’ in 2001 was so different from today. Heck, I really didn’t start blogging until 2007 (right before Jorja announced she was leaving CSI, and yes I see the funny). I used to just post things like ‘New image from whatever’ and slap up a link. Nowadays, I’ll get a little in depth, explaining what’s going on, summarize the articles more, point out what’s important and maybe quote that, and then put the link up. I do images now with a lot of posts, trying to add more flavor to what’s going on.

So really the answer is “I grew.” I went from weirdo whatever updates to a weekly update to one-shot blog posts to a ‘real’ blog over the course of a decade. And I didn’t burn out because I allowed myself to grow and change. I had moments where I hated fandom (2002, I distinctly recall thinking ‘Screw ’em all!’) and I sure made mistakes along the way. But I kept plugging away at everything, listening to that little voice in my head that said ‘Yes!’ and ‘Nooooo!’ at random moments, and I kept trying.

One of the hardest things to do, for me, was loosen up. I think I’m getting there now. Back in 1999, I was hard core ‘if it’s not about Jorja, go away.’ Today 4 of the last 6 posts are about William Petersen leaving CSI. It’s related, in that Jorja may (or may not) be in this Thursday’s episode, but I’ve come to rest in a Venn diagram where I accept the things I cannot change. A disproportionate number of Jorja fans come from CSI. Of those fans, a good 80% are pro Grissom/Sara being a couple. Thus, to keep my fanbase, I must accept the truth that I will indeed need to blog about CSI things that have little to do with her. Like WP leaving the show. On the other side of the diagram, I have ‘Advocacy’. Jorja supports the PETA, so I blog a little about them when they have something that relates. I don’t post everything about CSI or the PETA, and I always try to tie it in to Jorja, but the end result has been varied.

The next hardest thing has been not posting about me. That’s what this site is for, after all! But I start to write a post about my thought process on how I govern the site, or make a poll about what we should do next and then I stop, ask myself what it’ll serve, and hit delete. People come here … well I assume you do from FaceBook or LJ or whatever … to read about me, what’s on my mind, and whatever random stuff I throw out there. Which begs the question ‘Which one of us is weirder?’ Actually I believe people read blogs because the blog entertains them. And that’s cool. But people read fan-sites for information, not the wackiness of “Things I wish my cats never learned to do.”

JFO is about Jorja. CSI ties in, Advocacy ties in, Jorja ties in. Mika Epstein has to be content to sit back and let it ride.

So I’m letting it ride, and I’m enjoying the ride all the way.