On April 1st, 2023, my wife Thomas Slatin and I launched our new website called Obscure Curiosities. This website provides resources to obscure niche-focused topics that few people might be aware of, but have enough interest to be worth exploring. The purpose of the blog is to educate, inspire, and to encourage lifelong learning, missions that both Thomas and I heartily support. This is entirely separate from my Substack of the same name, although content from here may appear there, as well.
But this website has been one that’s been years in the offing for me. I’ve always wanted to have a website where I could curate my personal interests, while also offering useful information to others with similar curiosities. I’ve tried creating niche blogs over the years, with minimal success outside of those related to trading card games like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh. But, as I’ve moved on from these games for a multitude of reasons – corporate greed being the primary one – I needed a new project besides my curious essays and musings.
Some time ago, I asked Thomas to use the title Obscure Curiosities for my new website, a name she previously used on a page of her own, called the Museum of Obscure Curiosities, which had pictures of oddball items she collected over the years. Since she didn’t have many of these items in her possession anymore due to multiple moves over the years, Thomas decided to let this page go. But, I wanted to keep the spirit of that museum going, but expand it into the many niches that pique my interest, without overwhelming my own personal website, which I am now focusing on as a literary blog.
This site was going to be launched in October 2022, but due to issues propagating the DNS and installing WordPress over the course of a couple of months, we shelved the project indefinitely. My drive to finally make this site a reality was inspired by a YouTube channel called The Auction Professor, who thrives by becoming an expert in collector niches such as vintage postcards, oddball advertising pieces, and more. I decided that I wanted to begin covering any niche that people search for that also interests me, but currently lacks a strong resource to whet the average Google searcher’s appetite.
Finally, in late March 2023, I told Thomas we are going to make this website happen. At first, she was reluctant, not really understanding my vision for this website. Why couldn’t I just post more articles on my own site? My issue has always been a matter of organization; the Phoenix Desertsong has become a dumping spot for many disparate pieces from my archives, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
Many articles were hits back when they were written, but no longer hold any weight. Since many of them were about marketing and personal development, areas I certainly have experience in but no longer actively pursue, I realized I needed to completely overhaul my content plan going forward. I’ve really gotten back into just writing essays on what ever topic I wish, without having to worry about SEO, trends, or whatnot. But the marketer and SEO specialist in me desperately needed an outlet. So, Obscure Curiosities was exactly what I needed.
As soon as we set up the domain – which was purchased in 2022 – and set up WordPress, I laid out my ideas for Obscure Curiosities. Originally, I had planned to take up reselling obscure niche items as a hobby, but now, I decided I’d rather just be an informational resource. Now I’m simply checking out niches that interest me but haven’t ever really explored – particularly two that seemed lacking in strong curated resources were cryptozoology and junk journaling.
The idea behind Obscure Curiosities is that you never know what niche I’ll be exploring next. It allows me to be spontaneous, but structured in the mission, which is to curate the best websites, blogs, and other media in each niche. The niche has to be one people search, but doesn’t necessarily get a ton of attention; for example, you won’t see us talking anything currently well-known in popular culture. There was one missing ingredient, however, which is to have one primary topic that we always write about, just to provide a foundation for the site’s identity. This is where Thomas came in; she suggested we write a ton of content about Vermont, since we live here now and aren’t ever planning on leaving.
Since Vermont is a pretty darn weird place to begin with – and it seems to get weirder the more we learn about the state’s history, it fit the bill of our core subject perfectly. I’ve never seen Thomas more enthusiastic about a project, and frankly, I’ve been dying to collaborate on a website for quite some time.
The most important part of Obscure Curiosities is that we consistently ask the audience for suggestions on what we should cover. I want this site to be an open-ended resource for curious minds who appreciate the obscure. I’m thrilled that we finally got this up and running, and I’m very blessed that Thomas has poured her mind, heart, and soul into developing my idea into something very real and professional.
So, what does this mean for the Phoenix Desertsong? Far as the essays and motivational content are concerned, that won’t change. But, after a few eye-opening events in my personal life recently, I’ve vowed to never write about anything that have become vehicles for capricious greed and market manipulation. This doesn’t mean I’ll never write about trading card games again; in fact, there are quite a few that are now obscure which are fine topics.
But, as time goes on, there will be a lot of content dropped from this website, anything that no longer serves me or my vision, even at the cost of views and rankings. I want to focus my personal website, which I never plan to monetize outside of promoting future books, being my literary home. Obscure Curiosities is likely going to be just my side project, as I intended, but thanks to Thomas’s incredible enthusiasm, it may become her full-time job, with me serving as editor.
I’m truly excited for what Obscure Curiosities is going to provide for the curious among us. If you have any suggestions for topics for Thomas and I to cover, please leave a comment below, or email email@example.com.