25 October 2007

For the first time in three years, I’m actually blogging under my own banner.

Maybe I’m being impulsive, but what the hell.

It's time for me to start writing again without delay... mostly about Web-related topics, but there are others on my mind, too.

The item at the bottom of my to-do list for the past three years has been a publishing platform far more sophisticated than the one I built for my Illuminati Online site from back in the day (disable JavaScript before going to the actual content, if you’re really that curious), and my intent has been to write it before going back into regular blogging.

Meanwhile, life is — as they say — what happens when you’re not paying attention.

The good news is that I now have a client willing to finance that work in part (I think). The bad news is that my urge to bloviate has overtaken the march of time.

...So here I am.

Where is that, exactly?

First, some background

There was a stretch of about eighteen months where I had my heart ripped out of my chest repeatedly if only proverbially, most significantly by the unexpected death of my mother from cancer.

Nearer to the end of this spell I moved from Portland to the much different (if not necessarily greener) pastures of Lawrence, Kansas, encouraged by a few now-erstwhile friends.

A move away from Portland was something I was already planning when Mom fell ill, though how ill she’d become wasn’t at all understood until a week before she died.

In Portland, memories would be redolent on the air at every turn.

I have a good enough memory that I do not need to be reminded of the stretches of the lower Valley where I spent the years of my childhood that passed before interacting with my mother became an exercise in supreme patience. All I need to do is close my eyes and concentrate. The sights and sounds of memory will return on demand, vividly enough to make me cry.

No less difficult is recall of the sights and sounds of the afternoon during which I travelled to the hospital, trudged up to the ICU, told Mom — by that time so immersed in pain and the drugs meant to manage it that she could no longer see — that I would be okay and that she could let go, and then only moments later watched her do exactly that.

[...And the conversations I had with my grandparents that afternoon were even more poignant. Let’s not go there.]

That I would willfully choose to remove myself to the oh-so-cosmopolitan place known as Kansas was a mystery to practically everyone with an opinion. Everybody asked what my deal was, so to speak, and my response to everyone was if it was good enough for William S. Burroughs to die in, it’s good enough for me to live in for a while.

Apart from the previously mentioned encouragement and personal considerations too private to lay out in detail, there was the fact that at the time of my decision, I had an outside hope of obtaining a job with the online division of the local paper.

Northeast Kansas had (and still has) the virtues of being 1500 miles from my mother’s family, which became far less dysfunctional after her death but still has more issues than I want to deal with.

[...And lest you wonder, yes, I would move back with dispatch — and some ambivalence — if asked to do so.]

I had attended both high school and college in Columbia, Missouri (during and after my father’s graduate study in American history at the latter institution), which gave me insight about the values and virtues of the area. I knew Lawrence quite well by reputation.

To me, the choice seemed like it had possibilities.

The whole point was to get over myself already in a place where I would be able to steer clear of drama.

...And now?

After more than three years, I know I need to gear up and move on. As years go, 2007 has been full of questions and fears in full measure: is this all there is to life? For the sake of my own health, the answer to that question needs to be a resounding NO! If I stay in Lawrence too long, however, that's not the answer I’ll get in practice.

Having an apartment that I can stand to live in by myself has proven to me how far into my proverbial shell I can go, and at the heart of the matter I am neither young nor parochial enough to get the most out of Lawrence.

I need badly to raise my bill rate (or so I’m told). I need to go legit on software and paperwork. I need a car. But most importantly I need to start connecting with people around me, and starting a new blog is part and parcel of that task.

Beyond the demands of maintaining my own good mental health, I am forced to concede that so much has changed in the past three years. RSS and social networking have come into their own, which makes resource collection fractionally as difficult as before. The maturation of production processes for latest-gen browsers has begotten a lot of conversation in which I’d like to take part, and the evolution of Wikipedia has reduced the hassle of link research. All of these things together mean that blogging is a lot more fun and productive than when I was last into it.

So... "Hello, World!"

1 comment:

ryan said...

feelin you, ben