There’s a scene in Californication in which Hank Moody, the show’s nihilistic protagonist, proclaims, “I’m a writer: I think, I type, I drink. … As far as I’m concerned, Art’s just another guy from Brooklyn.”
That sentiment has always resonated with me (sans drinking). Although I’ve written daily for more than a decade, and I even teach a writing class, I never thought of my writing as “art.” Is it expressive? Yes. Is it communicative? Yes. But is it art? Meh.
So it would stand to reason that I wouldn’t consider “blogging” an art form, either, right? Well, no, actually that’s not true—because I recently changed my mind.
Alongside our editor, Shawn Harding, we spent the summer of 2015 editing every essay on this website—nearly 500 of them—by updating text, correcting typos, culling unnecessary words, and replacing photos to establish a more uniform motif.
We didn’t embark on this Great Cleanup to make The Minimalists a perfect website; perfection is futile. Rather, after five years of writing for this audience, we’ve developed our voice and created an aesthetic commensurate with our message (simple, authentic, communicative, expressive), and we wanted our archives to reflect that aesthetic. Throughout the editing process we took great care not to radically modify the content within those essays: we didn’t want to change the past; we simply wanted to present it to you in the best possible light.
Over time, our blog has become our largest body of work; it has become our art. It is an imperfect creation, but we can look in the mirror and honestly say we’ve done our best to create something meaningful with this art form.
Phew! We sure worked hard this summer—hundreds of hours passed as we polished the HTML hallways of this website—but we did it for you. We hope you find value in our words.
Some of our favorites from the archives:
Live Like Stan (my personal favorite)
Financial Freedom (Ryan’s favorite)
Not Busy, Focused (our most tweeted)
Be on the Mountain (our first blogpost)
Goodbye Fake Friends (my friends’ favorite)
Our 21-Day Journey (the reason we started this site)
How to Start a Successful Blog Today (our most referenced)
Things We Are Prepared to Walk Away From (the most controversial)
You can visit our Archives page for links to all of our blogposts in alphabetical order, as well as our 20 most popular essays. We even added a random button there if you’d like some spontaneous inspiration.
Finally, many of you have asked why we tend to use vintage black-and-white photos atop each of our essays: those photos are meant to be a metaphor for the words that follow them; we hope to blend the beautiful old (the photos) with the beautiful new (the writing). You see, minimalism is not a new idea: the concept itself dates back to the Stoics, to every major religion, and, more recently, to Emerson and Thoreau and Tyler Durden. What’s new is the problem: never before have we been more seduced by material possessions. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, consumerism has allowed us unprecedented access to stuff—we are steeped in a culture of consumption. Ergo, the problem is a new one, but the solutions are thousands of years old. With our art, we hope to shine a new light on those time-tested solutions.
If you find value in The Minimalists, consider donating a dollar.