2009: The Year In Contraction (Already)

Not a pun on conception or birth, but a commentary on how the new year is already shaping up like the latter half of the old year: full of bad news and and things shrinking, shuttering and dying.

Case in point, two of my favorite creative communities Ficlets and JPG Mag will be closing up shop in the coming days.

Thanks to Thomas, I’ll be downloading my Ficlets to my PC tonight and putting them up either on the blog as pages or maybe sharing them via Google Docs. I’d love to keep the collaborative spirit flowing and both options allow for commenting and collaboration, so let me know how you’d like me to proceed so the stories don’t die or disappear down the memory hole.

Here’s the official word (in pop-up form, ugh) from Ficlets:

Ficlets is going away soon :( It’s been a fun ride, and we love you, but we’ve got to go. We’ll be shutting down on January 15, 2009. If you’ve written any Ficlets, please back them up as soon as you can.

JPG is a different story. I already lament how poorly I utilize my Flickr Pro account, but I have uploaded a few photos to JPG in the past and I got my free issue (hard copy) some time ago that I still keep handy. I feel really inspired by the artwork of “amateurs” that I see there and I’m sorry to hear that the endeavor is going to disappear, though there are rumors to the contrary. UPDATE: Now the rumors seem more real, especially since the site is still up.

Despite losing its original progenitors, Derek Powazek & Heather Champ, I always found the JPG Mag blog and the contributions fantastic. I can’t speak for the print product, but the website felt different from Flickr and made me feel aspirational and NOT depressed, which is breakthrough territory for me where photography is concerned.

I’d also like to add a non-web casualty of time: Alfred Shaheen (NOT Sheehan), inventor of the Hawaiian “Aloha” shirt. I’ll give my own Aloha ‘Oe for him tomorrow by wearing a garment descendant of his original creations.

So there you have it: 2009 is shaping up to be more bitter news than 2008, though I’m strangely optimistic. Maybe I’ll finally figure out this whole “lifestream”/FriendFeed mumbo-jumbo, kill off a few of my logins and figure out a way to publish from one place to multiple constituencies (with varying, degrading content deliveries) and stop getting so wrapped up in the ‘where’ and focus on the ‘what’.

I’m gonna miss Ficlets and JPG, but it just makes me want to focus that much harder on crafting something fun/cool/enjoyable and not worry about the distribution of same. Someone will figure that out and it’s not my job to pick winners.

Happy New Year!