I’ve been slipping. I began this blog just about two years ago as I was leaving for India on a Fulbright scholarship. Cloud and Mountain served as a place for field notes, story ideas, photos and sometimes just a place to ramble.
When I returned to California, I decided to keep Cloud and Mountain going because it gave me some grounding at a time when I needed it. And, as a writer, it helps me stay more disciplined and focused.
In the process, I’ve learned a lot about blogging and have connected with fascinating people around the world. In some ways, reading other blogs has helped me piece parts of my own life together.
I also began to look at the possibilities of a blog, and as a freelance writer, to look at the ways it could help me. I realized what I wanted to do was build a different blog, a niche blog, one focused around a theme rather than whatever I felt like writing that week.
So I began American Zenstone. Most people who freelance find themselves writing on all kinds of topics. When I lived in China, one of my freelance gigs was for the jewelry and gemstone trade. My assignments took me to Burma, Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam and many other places. I began to look at the history of stones as the history of humanity and jewelry as a reflection of culture all over the world.
When I returned to the U.S. in 2007, I continued learning about gems and jewelry. I took courses at Gemology Institute of America (GIA) and went through their Graduate Pearls Diploma program.
And I continued learning about stones in North America. I gathered turquoise from Nevada, visited the peridot fields in San Carlos, Arizona, went to a black pearl farm in Sonora, Mexico and have also continued to connect with and talk to jewelers all over.
Therefore, I decided to make the focus of my next blog North American gemstones and jewelers because that’s where I’m at right now. It takes a lot of time and as a result, Cloud and Mountain has been getting left behind a bit.
I’m not abandoning it. I still love having a place where I can post photos and write whatever I want, but I might be cutting back a bit. And in the meantime, if you have any interest in rocks, jewelry or stories, please stop by American Zenstone and let me know what you think.