Under the Hood

One of the more delightful aspects of setting up this blog has been forcing myself to tinker with HTML like I used to as a child of the early web. This was before the internet became much too complicated and way too simple all at once; when there was just enough innovation for my “computer user” magazines to keep me interested, but not too many over-friendly widgets and doodads that blackbox’d all hope for caring about the inner workings of things. This world would rapidly disappear (for me) with the advent of Blogger, Tumblr and eventually, Facebook, when it became perfectly reasonable to be lazy. “Content” would be the conquering king.

This tingly sensation of accomplishment is counter-intuitive for me, as there’s not much I hate more than malfunctioning appliances; when my Intro. to Philosophy class had me read Seneca on anger at inanimate objects in college, I was so annoyed by his subtweets—@ me, you coward—that I featured him as the villain of a short script in another class.

Those were also much simpler times, when the world felt a lot smaller, and you’d get away with pretensions like resurrecting an Ancient Greek Stoic to play the figure of misdirected resentment literally incarnate, as one elaborate, very obscure and wholly self-absorbed gag.

I don’t think that I ever held on to that particular script, which was just a throwaway assignment, but I did feel proud of the other one I wrote as my final project. It was autobiographical, as one would expect from a twenty-one year old. My character was called “Writer.” There was a whole scene that took place over MSN Messenger. Naturally, “magic realism” ensued.

I could dig up that script if I went looking for it—which brings me to the less delightful aspect of setting up this website: a thing that’s also, irony of ironies, the main point of this whole endeavor.

One generates many texts living in these hyper-communicative times, especially when one thinks of oneself as a “Writer.” These disparate words I’ve written and left littering the worldwide web are a huge part of my sense of self, in their witness to changes in roles and locales, and through their paper-thin vulnerability and their veering towards incoherence. What they represent and mirror back are many years of neglect—or, better: avoidance. This website is partly an attempt at facing up to these facts.

And it’s already way past being a fool’s errand; two of the online publications that I’ve contributed content to went offline a long while ago, and with zero fanfare. This isn’t much of a surprise. My generation’s effervescence and quickness to “do” and “make” is its charm and disposability in equal measure. And in some ways, it’s comfort in being forgotten, so there’s that.

But this is an exercise in re-membering. Putting everything in one place is a chance to read more clearly between the lines; a perspective on the fine grain and broad texture that ‘just-in-time’ writing and the pressure to ‘publish-or-perish’ don’t normally afford.

It’s also a chance to get absolutely emotionally drained. Reading old writing is not quite as bad as listening back to recordings of your own voice, though it comes close. It’s also (hopefully) not as jarring as seeing a transcript of your spoken ramblings—this happened to me just yesterday, and let me tell you, it’s a great way to… I don’t want to say ‘find yourself’ (laughs) – but, if you’re lucky, it will force you to confront the parts of who you are (or are not, or no longer), thrown into sharp relief by the acid etchings of time.

I’ll be adding more texts to that section of the site, but I’m taking a break from it now; there’s only so many missed opportunities, broken promises and loose threads that I’m willing to face before permanently souring my mood. I will keep going under the assumption that there will be plenty of time to piece together an origin story.

I’d like to believe that this old jalopy still has some mileage in it left, if only for a little while longer.




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