The notion of kintsugi seems to be fairly well-understood online these days; at least, in the context of the self-affirming “you can do it” attitude of memes/posts meant to keep people going. I’ll not go into much detail on that on this post because that isn’t particularly germane to the topic at hand. I will say that while I am not doing any self-affirmation here in this post, the process for putting this website back together seems basically to net the same result: gather up your pieces and stitch them back together such that the reconstruction becomes part of the story of the vase or the bowl or glass or whatever got broken.
In my case, the cup is this site, and the pieces have been strewn not just across the internet in various different sites, but across some pretty extreme lengths of time as well. So the task at hand is to gather up all the pieces and try to reconstruct one whole website out of all of them, and the monstrosity that comes out the other end will essentially be a catalog of most the writing I’ve ever done.
Most? Why not all?
So far, the oldest piece I’ve found is from August of 1997. I found a few posts in 2000, a few other things on a Tripod site I briefly ran back in 2001; and some more stuff on an Earthlink personal page before I ever registered this domain. There is a noticeable gap in the 2001-2002 timeframe, when I used AT&T WorldNet for dialup service and stored a few things on a personal web page on one of their servers. I know I had at least one long-form essay on that particular site, but either it was never cached, or the address isn’t what I thought it was. Most things from the 1990s are also gone, but if my recollection is right, stuff from that era would serve more as a case study in contemporary (read: awful) website design than anything else.
On the other end of the scale – although I had originally let this domain registration lapse sometime in the 2015-2016 timeframe, I did occasionally still do some writing on other platforms. In one instance, I had a hand-written essay that I’d forced out of my system after a difficult few months. Whether I transcribe that particular piece of business and put it online anytime in the near future remains to be seen.
But at all stops along the way, the Internet Wayback Machine simply didn’t capture every page. As of now, I still have some digging to do, but the best I may be able to come up with is just a headline, or a headline and a couple sentences before the “read more” link.
There are also a few posts which frankly aged so poorly as to fall into the realm of bad taste. Being angry was the schtick then, even before characters like Foamy the Squirrel or the Angry Video Game Nerd really took off, but sometimes jokes don’t land because they aren’t good jokes. I may yet carry those posts over, but will likely keep them as they are and make them private rather than editing out tasteless content just so they can be republished. The end result is the same in that I’m presenting an editorialized history of things, but keeping things intact will serve as a reminder of how out-of-tune my sensibilities could be at times.
That all said, this is a work in progress. By volume of text, I’m about 1/3 of the way done loading all the content in. But as I was collecting all of this stuff, I noticed that in later years (2007-onwards), the posts started growing in size. This coincided with my going back to school and needing to be able to shit out five or six handwritten pages of material in under an hour for classes. I simply had to learn to write more, develop ideas, and have a consistency of purpose throughout a single unit of work, and that carried over into what I posted online. So, I’m actually hoping that I’m most of the way done since I’ll just be pasting in larger and larger blocks of text going foward.