Ah, June… Summer is at our doorstep, the days are (almost all of them) seeming to get a little bit longer, and for the second year in a row I am partaking in my daily blogging exercise, marginally focused along a theme I’ve simply called Those 30 posts in June. No planning. No writing stuff days ahead. Just this: each day a meanderingly vague prompt drives a meanderingly vague post… and today that post just happens to be:
June 13th // Something You Are Reading
Sometime in the last couple days I passed yet another content milestone on this blog: Six-hundred and fifty-thousand published words spanning nearly one-thousand nine-hundred and fifty posts. For those into certain kinds of meaningless statistics, if we assume that an average paperback novel consists of two-hundred and fifty pages (on average) of three-hundred words per page (on average) then this blog is something akin to eight-and-a-half novels worth of text. All of that is spanning a little more than eleven years. Like I said… meaningless statistics.
I only mention it because my query for the day is to write about something I’ve been reading,
and what I’ve found myself reading a lot of lately is this blog.
See, thanks to a variety of content sorting techniques and tools that I’ve integrated here over the years, I can dig through various archives, look back “on this day” or scour through computationally-related posts. It tends to leave me wandering through these many, many random bits of writing that I’ve done over the years, picking through parts of my life that I’d forgotten or that for some reason don’t stand out significantly in my mind.
Unless you have such an archive for yourself — and I’m really coming to understand that it is a rare and precious thing — it is a difficult experience to describe. (It’s never really too late to start, by the way.)
But I’ve been reading those old posts… a lot. I don’t think a week has gone by in the last ten or fiften when I haven’t polluted my own analytics data with dozens of my own page views and awkward wending tracks through these pages. It’s curious. And it’s curious not because I was (or am) a great writer. It’s curious because of the nature of memory and self-understanding. It’s curious because there is this guy writing those posts that I barely recognize, but somehow share all these whisps of recollection with. See, I don’t think I’ve come across a post yet where I’ve read and said to myself “gee, I don’t remember doing that…” I remember it all — at least, I remember after the memory has been sparked by the post. But so much of the context has blurred into forgotten history and so much more was trivial to begin with. And much of those fleeting vacancies of context, you may have noticed, have been shaping my more recent writing and causing these verbose and context-weightier posts to appear here. It’s not accidental. It’s a result of reading old posts. I’m trying, often subconsiously, to avoid missing context for my future forty-five year old self reading these words as old posts.
Do I expect others to read this stuff? Not really. My analytics surprise me sometimes, looking through the posts that become popular because of topics I’ve dived into. When I write about popular culture for example, hits spike. I don’t think anyone reading those posts cares about my personal ramblings. But it is tough not to care myself. Or maybe I’m just getting old.