Making Myself At Home
By Nadine JL 12th July 2018
The Github Octocat image source: Cracksoldier at Deviantart.net
Yesterday I had a very lazy day in which I neglected the kids (which they were very happy about, I might add; they got up to some experimental baking), received more passing visitors for teas and coffees and good conversations, and futzed around with my Github blog.
I’ve decided to stick with this platform for now. I love the versatility of it and I love the bare-bones aesthetic. I also loved the glossier Ghost blog aesthetic, but I loved it far too much. It was like writing in one of those extra-special handmade journals… I never could do it. Give me a battered old spiral notebook any day. I have a stack of beautiful, special journal books that are blank inside if anyone wants one…
So here I am, in my “beater” Github blog, typing away like I’m a carefree hitchhiker in the front seat, sun blasting through the windshield and hair getting tangled in the wind. I feel extraordinarily happy.
I moved over a bunch of old posts from one of my Ghost blogs; I learned how to “code” images into the text body. It was a lot of puttering and I love to putter. wnuke helped me put a few bits and pieces in order.
Wnuke and I use a “Fiver” system.
I’ll say, “Lookie here… can you please cluster the posts by year?”
He’ll say, “No problem.”
And he does it in a jiffy, sitting beside me with his own laptop, and I pay him €5 via Paypal.
Then I’ll say, “Hmmm. Maybe we need the categories to be in a separate page, to reduce columns on the front page, so that the post title lists aren’t too narrow on mobile.”
He’ll smile like a cat and say, “Sure, for another five euros.”
“Oh, come on,” I say, groaning.
But I pay him anyway, and inside I am thrilled. He’s learned how to charge for his work, something I have yet to figure out for myself. (As the saying goes, ‘those who can’t, teach.’ And I hereby gleefully and greedily gather the credit for his budding career success like a talisman against my chest, a medal for my motherhood — whether I deserve it or not.)
At the end of the day, the last loads of dishes were washed and dried. I checked my email and had a happy surprise:
MasterClass: Margaret Atwood teaches Creative Writing.
I can’t really explain how lucky I felt just then, and how grateful to technology, to my parents, and to T… and to Ms MA herself of course.
It came just at the moment where I had been wishing so hard that I had managed to get into the Master’s program at Cambridge. Literally all day I had been thinking about it and regretting it… and to get this email felt like a gift from the Universe, saying, “Here, girlfiend; Cambridge may not be for you, but there’s this, free of charge…”
I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Margaret Atwood! Margaret Atwood!!!!
Choosing a style of blogging
It’s funny how you can fix up your physical space or your metaphysical space, here and there and everywhere, and at the end of the day feel pretty special, rubbing your knuckles on your shirt and blowing on them, or preening like a little caged bird at his mirror; and then, the minute you see it through the eyes of someone you admire, it seems like a big ol’ pile o’ scattered crap on the newspaper-lined floor. Ever had that happen? If not, you’re either blissfully unaware, or blissfully self-confident, or blissfully uncaring of what others think, and in any of those cases I salute you in your bliss.
But for me, seeing my newly fixed-up “blog” (if it can even be called that) via my imagined view through Atwood’s eyes made me realize what a mess my writing still was.
Normally, after this type of revelation, which happens to me relatively often, I would now go through the posts and systematically hit delete, tearing down the steps I’d taken, and starting at the bottom of the spiral stair yet again.
But this time, I take a cue from my good friend Göran, who recently wrote a post called “Changes in my style of writing,” and I make a statement about intended changes in my style of blogging, though perhaps it’s more like I’m finally picking a style of blogging to begin with. Of course, it may change again in future but for now, I will try to narrow down to the following styles:
Spur of the-moment “process posts” and “stream-of-thought” journaling.
Because these are my favourites to read, in other other people’s blogs.
And less editing.
Editing is separate part of me from writing. I have to face the facts. Looking back, I believe I’ve ruined countless bits of my own writing with it. Editing should only be done with a good amount of distance from the work. Only time, or another set of eyes, can provide that distance; so I renounce it for now, with respect to my own work.
I might be good (or even great, if I flatter myself) at editing, guiding or curating others’ writing; but I’m not as qualified to edit or curate my own.
So I blissfully leave those latter tasks up to the Universe.
I hereby forgive myself for the fresh, steaming piles of crappy writing I am about to do. I hope you will forgive me, too.
Love, xo n
My writing friend Göran’s post: https://goranstille.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/changes-in-my-style-of-writing/
Process notes: Typed directly into Github Pages markdown editor, 2018-07-12, 07:28. Small welcome interruption by a small welcome visitor, my youngest son Z, who continues to carry his new book everywhere he goes, still using the cardboard Amazon mailer as a carrying case. His body formed a comma, beside me in my nest of blankets.
Disclaimer 2018-07-24: This post has since been edited. In retrospect, I’d probably be better off renouncing making announcements, rather than renouncing editing. Editing is in my bones and in my blood; it’s part of the process for me. I love editing.