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Grief and loss Musings racism Travel

Conjure Publishing at One Year

Conjure is one-year-old!

If you’ve been with me since I launched this site one year ago, thank you for your support. And, if you’ve only just recently found Conjure and have subscribed, thank you too. I appreciate each and every one of you reading this.

When I launched Conjure Publishing a year ago, I had a rough idea of what I wanted it to be and where I wanted to see it go, but I always felt strongly that the site should have an organic flow, dictated more by my moods and what I felt inspired to write about rather than sticking to some blog aesthetic or some self-prescribed topic for the sake of building readership.

I’m proud of what has been published on Conjure over the past year. Conjure had been a work in progress for a while, mostly in my head, then finally I decided it needed to become real. I’ve learned so much about things I never wanted to know about in creating this site, but I’m so grateful I have. Conjure has been a constant learning process as I stumbled through setting up the site, designing it, and getting the correct back-end things going. But more importantly, Conjure became an outlet for me when I needed it most.

The day I launched the site, I was SO excited and nervous. I felt like I was putting my insides on display for all to see. A couple hours later, the news of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s deaths broke, and I, like most others in the world, was stunned. It’s a hard day to share an anniversary with – so many people felt grief over this terrible loss for so many different reasons.

I’d set up the “quote of the week” feature on my site as an ode to my love of reading and quotes, and for the second week of Conjure I featured a Kobe quote, in an effort to pay tribute somehow to this unimaginable loss. As February came, I shifted focus to my upcoming first wedding anniversary and how I wanted to incorporate my personal life with Conjure – what stories I would and wouldn’t cover. I was a news reporter for 10 years, but I don’t want Conjure to be a news source, per se. I’m never going to break news here or cover something as pure news.

Conjure is meant to be a source of entertainment and knowledge, pure and simple. Sometimes I share ultra-personal stories about my mom and dad, and sometimes I’m sharing what Mercury Retrograde articles you should be reading to guard your ass during the current transit. 😉 I hope whatever the story is, that you enjoy my take.

As the year went on and 2020’s twists and turns took me for a ride like it did everyone else, there were times when I wondered if I should write anything at all. But this is when being an experienced journalist kicked in, whether I liked it or not. During the beginning of the pandemic, I enlisted help from Lisa Valentine, the talented writer and editor whose work you’ve seen throughout Conjure the past year. She worked up a few articles on things to do during the pandemic and ways to stay safe.

I think the most pivotal moment I had with Conjure, though, came when the protests swept the nation after the killing of George Floyd and so many others. At first, I wasn’t sure what to publish or if I should publish at all. My husband and I were so incredibly sad and hurt and I just wanted to be there for Chris, while learning how to be better and do better as a white woman. I wondered if I had anything to actually add to the conversation, rather than just parroting what others had said. It was my husband who read something I wrote when I was upset who told me I had to publish those words. He told me I did, in fact, have a voice and that I absolutely had something to add to the conversation. So, I published. And then I published a few other stories with resources and even worked up a tips article for engaging with the media, especially for those who seem to be disenchanted with media coverage. I’ll repeat the gist of that last article here, because it’s important: Don’t like what the media is covering or how they’re covering it? Call your local editor/publisher/reporter and have a conversation. News is a two-way street.

Those events in June moved my vision of what Conjure could be – from my high school vision of this – to its current state. Admittedly, I’m not great at web design and don’t have time to do a lot of photography. But, I’ve learned a lot and hope to continue to make Conjure more substantial and worth your time every time you click on an article.

The latter half of 2020 really tested my endurance for life in general, as I’m sure it did with most of you. I felt alternatively tired, depressed, and anxious. I pressed on with my day job, Conjure, writing my novel, living life with my husband, and trying to see friends virtually when possible. Thanks for sticking around through all of the end of 2020’s craziness.

I guess in writing all this to you I’m trying to say I know we have all been through a lot, and it’s still ongoing, albeit a light is starting to peek through those clouds. Many of you readers are people I love and appreciate, especially in what has been the weirdest of years. If there’s a topic you want to see more of, or if you have an idea you’d like to see in Conjure, hit me up. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, suggestions, or just hear from you, one human to another.

Here’s to the next year of Conjure Publishing.

Laura

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