I’m dreaming of a great aesthetic

So when you start a blog or a new venture of any kind, really, you start thinking about how you are going to represent yourself in the world of social media.

My friend (and 1/7 of my writing group), Jenifer, is helping me figure out how to navigate Instagram. So far, we have gone through and looked at how others who are doing what I am are handling the Instagram thing, and I have to say, man, everyone is killing. Excellent photography. Polished pictures. Beautiful font.

ANd then there’s me.

Poor Jenifer.
She’s trying really hard to get me to where I want to be and yet I am unwilling to do the work necessary to get there.
I’m like the old grandpa who spits and fits about “newfangled technology”. I don’t WANT to properly light something before I take the picture. I dont’ WANT to worry about “shadows.”
I’m a curmudgeon.
And basically she deserves a medal for dragging me along.

OKAY, So, thus far

I’ve decided I want a “handwritten” font. Like, my own handwriting. And that’s pretty much all I’ve decided. The rest of it has been a bit of a puzzle to piece together.

I’ve played around with lighting and backgrounds. I’ve fiddled around in GIMP* to try to create the right aesthetic.

But then I realized, I’m looking at this all wrong.


Like, instead of playing around with my pictures, trying to make something I like, I need to think about my brand, and what I want it to convey.

Like, what is the “feel” I want for my Instagram board?
To know that, I realize, I have to know what am I actually doing with this blog…this project.


It’s funny, because what I thought I wanted was an aesthetic that matched what I am doing over here at writing shorts. But that’s not so. Writing Shorts is my studio space” – J. R. Nichols. Messy. Sloppy. Disorganized.

What I want is for my Instagram and other social media to “woo” people over here.


It sounds like a case of “bait and switch”. I don’t mean it to be that.

I guess what I want from social media is to invite folks over to look at what I am doing. This is my virtual studio…” – J. R. Nichols. I bring it back here and explore it, eviscerate it, re-create with it, play with it.

I want my social media to welcome you, introduce you to an idea. I want the blog space to be where I explore these ideas.

That’s why I like the simplicity of the grey newsprint. It keeps me clear, so to speak. The words work, here, not the ambiance.

OKAY OKAY SO how does that translate into A social media AeSTHETIC?

Here is the aesthetic that I want:

You push through the heavy wooden door and the first thing you notice is that it is dark. There is some natural light from a window, perhaps partially obscured by some drapery, and in that light a million dust particles whirl and dance, like a microscopic welcoming committee.

Then you are enveloped, as if into a warm embrace, by the familiar smell of the room.

Pipe tobacco. Leather. Aftershave.

And that one fragrance you can’t quite name but is at the same time known more intimately by you than any other smell.

His scent.

There is not another smell like this particular combination though you will capture glimpses of it in various moments throughout your lifetime. You breathe deeply, and now you are a part of it and it is a part of you, and you are more aware than ever that you are present. You are present in this space and that you are safe.

Safe. Such a simple word for such a complicated feeling.

You pass a table upon which sits a Newton’s Cradle. Though you would not dream of fiddling around with most of the objects in this space, you know this is meant to be explored.

After interacting with it you move on, and venture to the place you came into the room to explore.


Here you know you are destined to find a curiosity, a treasure, a puzzle.

Like the Newton’s Cradle, but for your mind.

And on that desk, there it sits – a little glimpse into the mind of the keeper of this wonderful place of good smells and great conversations.

It is but a trifle, surely, written on scrap paper in a careless hand. This is a whim of an afterthought, jotted down as though in passing.

You don’t dare pick it up and take it with you, though, in your heart of hearts, you want it to be true that this note was left here just for you to find.

You might reach out, and touch the paper with your finger.
You might trace the lettering, and wondering how similar your own handwriting is to this.

The one thing you will do for sure is remember what is written there.


You feel you are taking with you a treasure.

This “point to ponder” becomes a piece of mental play-dough, which you can knead and prod and shape and poke throughout the rest of your day, or even throughout your lifetime.

Minimally, you have something to turn over inside your brain while your meat skeleton is dealing with boring things to keep you alive, like your lunch of SpaghettiOs with hotdogs cut up into it. Or in those endless moments when you are made to sit around and nothing is happening, like in the waiting room at the dentist’s office.

The final thing I will say about my desired aesthetic is this – there are some paintings done in a style I am not educated enough to be able to talk about intelligently, in this moment, but before I push “publish” I will find an example of such and paste it here. It is a good demonstration of the kind of “feeling” I want. I don’t know what the proper way to talk about this sort of art is, but it is art that stirs up what is “romantic” in me**, but not in a sexual way. I don’t know if that makes sense, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

*GIMP is a photo editing program. It’s free and cool. Check it out, maybe. I’m not sponsored by GIMP. I am open to discussions about that particular point.

** In fact what I thought I wanted was a piece of art from the “romantic” era but it is not, as when I thumbed through those they did not seem “bold enough.” Go figure.

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