Legacy vs. Lineage

Chalk it up to aging, having a parent die, climate change, the general shaking up of assumptions that is the latter-twennyteens, but I’ve been wrestling with my creative goals in blogging.

Jason Kottke, who started before me (and that’s saying something), had a very helpful post recently, ‘The Legacy of Philip Glass‘. Glass said about the future of his works, “I won’t be around for all that,” he said. “It doesn’t matter.”

Now as someone trained in history and librarianship, that’s not a sentiment I swallow easily. As someone who has had seen the writing legacy of beloved people—pour one out for Leslie, for Brad—vanish or fade from the Web, that’s something that instills worry not a sense of release.

But Jason also quoted and linked to Austin Kleon expanding that piece with thoughts about lineage vs. legacy:

“I like this idea of thinking about lineage vs. legacy, because it means you can sort of reframe any worrying about immortality and how you’re going to project yourself into the future, and think more about what you’re taking from the past and what you’re adding to it that creates a more interesting and helpful present.”

That’s got me looking hard at what I’ve been doing with my ‘retroblogging’. I described it as writing an autobiography in slow motion. And, to pull a phrase from Kleon, it was centered in projecting myself into the future.

But the future doesn’t need more of me.

That’s why I decided decades ago not to have children; I do not require permanence of myself or of some sort of avatars of me.

When I look at my major works—my book and game store in the mid-1990s, the book Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff, the book The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, and what I’m doing with the Kabalor project—the value wasn’t in my first ideas, it’s in the synthesis of ideas I achieved after studying, listening and learning from others.

That’s a reminder to turn the inputs into outputs. Instead of merely talking or documenting, amplify and reflect.


As I write this afternoon, I’m looking at old pictures and thinking what they can inspire. A wiggly handed baby with her mouth open and a bit of a combover being gazed upon with love by a woman with a small bouffant suitable to a 60’s soul backup singer. The same baby dancing horizontally—foot kicking, arms waving—with tongue sticking out of her mouth in concentration. Excited baby amidst toys, bracketed by grandmother and great-grandmother. Wiggling baby/toddler again, hands waving and mouth open, in lap of laughing mother, hair now smaller but in a cute ’60s dress that still evokes stylish femininity. Back to baby on the rose-printed blanket on the floor amidst toys including foil pie pans, thumb in mouth and hand gripping the blanket edge. Rolling and stretching hands to be picked up. Unable to sit up, but able to raise on hands to gaze into a doll’s face or at the camera. Puzzled by the toy grandpa beckons with, unsure if it’s worth releasing the toy in hand to reach for. A note about immunizations—Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio—which places this baby at a point in time. Baby in a little tabletop seat, like a carseat but before they came into use, gaze away from mother, thumb in mouth, other wrist held gently to keep that hand from interfering with the loaded spoon; a mealtime standoff. In mother’s lap, gripping the spoon as she coaxes me to cooperate and eat; she is beautiful, like an escapee from a Renaissance painting, and I am intently focused on taking control of my fate, even if it only involves this bite. And with intent, I become not “a baby” but “me”. In father’s lap in an armchair beside a board-and-cinder-block bookcase, gazed at by him and by mother sitting beside chair, her hair in transition from fancy updo’s to the long natural look I remember from childhood; they are so young, so young. And, the baby, me, is safe and happy.

Filter, absorb, create, refine. I mark the posts with the pictures private; nothing to offer others. The next time through, my thoughts above will become further distilled, and maybe then or the distillation after that, if ever, there might be something to carry on beyond my time.

Happy blogiversary to me

21 years? That can’t be right. Twenty-one? Well, huh. Yeah. 21.

I probably would have done something more on the blog today if I hadn’t spent the day working on getting things set to launch a new project.

I’m creating a new universe for fantasy gaming, one which moves away from the binary bias and colonialist baggage of certain other games built on wargaming and traditional divisions of good/evil, male/female, civilized/savage, people/monsters.

Because I grew up within and continue to enjoy a lot of privilege (white, cis, middle class, educated) I need to do the work of listening to under-represented voices. Finding the flaws and dismantling them will take a community and I’ve begun to set that up on Patreon.

Stay tuned for further announcements very soon. 🙂

Well, it’s been two decades, let’s mix it up a bit

I’ve been blogging on my site for over 21 years. I feel really good about doing a project for that long and am going to continue doing it.

From the fall of 1998 it has been a stream of reverse-chronological posts and in general it has been expansive; bringing content I created elsewhere into the timestream of posts.

Today I am beginning something new, the slow shuttering of the earliest posts (which are retroblogging I added to represent my life before 1998) as I add new posts.

Work to be done

Though this and last year have had 'not getting to do what I'd planned to do' as their main theme, I have not given up my intention of moving this site to new software.

My goal is to integrate all my online output into this one place. As is obvious below, there's a lot to be done for Twitter integration, just for starters.

A big part of the problem is that as ideal as it once was and as fond as I am of that old Movable Type foundation, Typepad as a platform has been sorely neglected for a long time. Another is that I haven't had web design or even web-based product management as my main job for years. That's why making the big switch has become an increasingly challenging task and ever easier to put off. But it's time. I'll start with my other, vastly smaller, sites before I tackle this big beast.

Feels like I'm standing outside a ramshackle mansion and rolling up my sleeves. 🙂

Definitely still some issues with Typepad’s post-by-email…

… which is how I'm getting my non-reply tweets logged here on MetaGrrrl.com.

Many annoyances—CSS being ignored, category showing as text not applied properly, URLs in shortened form, truncated message text, images not passed through—are making me think before long I will have to bite the bullet and completely rebuild the site in software that's better maintained. Maybe for its 20th birthday…

The slow process of bringing it all together

I've been using the Internet a long time. Not as long as some of my friends, but since before the first Clinton administration at least. In all that time I've created many things online, some significant, some fleeting. Lots of them are lost forever, but what I've been able to save, I'm gradually integrating into my blog here on MetaGrrrl.com along with other memorabilia of my life.

Think of it as an autobiography written very, very slowly.

One way I'm able to reduce the workload of this phenomenal project is to automate those additions where services allow me to do so with my skills. Unfortunately, these integrations are often rudimentary, as you can see with my tweets, where Typepad isn't obeying the style rules it should and where, ideally, I'll come back eventually and merge separate related tweets into a single post.

Thanks, everyone, for your patience with this multi-decade project. As ever, I appreciate you visiting my site and reading my words. Thank you for sharing the Web and the world with me!

Laments of the death of old-school blogging are missing something

Kevin Drum's piece "Blogging Isn't Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely Dying" is not without some truth, but overlooks key things. Most importantly, that when old-school blogging was in its full flower, text was the only easy way to share yourself online. Now it's almost as easy to create and distribute art or audio or video or combinations of those as it was to submit a long post in the Blogger submission page. We have a great diversity of expression happening, particularly in video.

Beyond which now, with a good computing device in everyone's pocket, it's no longer necessary to save everything up into one chunk you laboriously craft over a long evening at home. The conversation truly can be dialogue, with reactions and riffs taking place within minutes or even seconds. Yes, Twitter and other easy technologies for portable sharing of ideas and images are sometimes knee-jerk, but heaven knows so have the comments under blog posts always been. Nor has >140 characters ever been an unusual length.

One of the strengths of new-school sharing is that it allows conversations to easily extend and expand not only over a growing audience but also over time. Yes, we had follow-up posts back then—and that inter-blog dialogue was always a joy—but it was hard to find and even harder to maintain momentum. Now, between Twitter and, to my mind the best combination of the old and the new, Medium, it's possible to more easily find the pieces of reaction which wander around the web, rebounding from and influencing each other.

I started blogging before the word was coined and have never stopped, but—like many—my means of output have expanded as opportunity grew. Wordy posts pour out of us when words are all we have, but we have so much more we can do now, and more ways to use our words. Since Flickr and Twitter and Medium and the opportunity to take my long-form work into finished books through self-publishing, I write fewer blog posts, but I am even more creative and connected through the web than I was back in the day.

Old-school blogging isn't dead, it's growing up, and growing up beautifully into something new.

A conversation 14 years long

Have we met?

I asked that question here on this site in September of 1998 in a post one month before MetaGrrrl.com would turn into what we would later call a blog.

I say I’ve never met Karawynn, Jamie, Carl and Justin. What the fuck does that mean?

I sit next to someone on the bus, I shake hands with a co-worker’s client who I’ll never see again, I chat with the bank teller and somehow these are people I’ve met?

My body doesn’t encompass me.
I don’t have to breathe the same air to be in the same place as you.

Have we met?

What a different world we live in now. We’ve been through radical changes in politics, technology, and cultural norms. Our days have transformed as the non-present world becomes present through these magic devices in our pockets. I live in a different city. Have a completely new career. Am in another relationship.

What hasn’t changed? Many of those people that some folks used to say I’d never met are still a part of my daily life.

So here’s my question for them, and for you, what has made these “virtual” connections so strong?

How has the way we built the web and the mobile internet and our tech-centric cities strengthened and weakened those chains since that year, 1998, when it seemed like maybe this world wide web thing might be sticking around?

 

http://embed-script.branch.com/production/embed.m.js
A conversation 14 years long

Safe in the loving arms of pairNIC

My domain transfer from Dotster (formerly 000domains.com) is now complete. To their credit, they provided adequate service for years until their platform migration snafu and did address all my open support tickets even after I had begun the transfer process to pairNIC. However, I am greatly relieved to now have all my domains with pairNIC, who are just great to work with and have a higher caliber of technical expertise directly available to customers.

Let me know if you encounter problems with accessing any of my sites or if any mail bounces, but I think everything is now working correctly.