The Long Way Home

Before weblogging and RSS—long before Facebook, Twitter, or the next poor bastard service, doomed to be worshiped and then sacrificed on some given Friday—I used to write long essays I'd publish online by hand editing the HTML and posting the static files. Having to manually create the HTML template and design, incorporate navigation, and craft the links and images, took a considerable amount of time.

To justify the time, I wanted to make sure that what I published was worth the effort. I would research a story and edit and re-edit it, and look for additional resources, and then re-edit the story again. My one essay on the giant squid actually took two months to research, and days, not minutes, to edit. Even after publication, I would tweak the pages as old links died, or to refine a section of the writing.

Now, we have wonderful tools to make it easy to put writing or other content online. We can think of a topic, create a writing about it, and publish it—all in five or less minutes. We've also come to expect that whatever is published is read as quickly. We've moved from multi-page writings, to a single page, to a few paragraphs, to 140 characters or less. Though there is something to be said for brevity, and it takes a true master to create a mental image that can stand alone in 140 characters or less, there still is a place for longer writings. We don't have to be in a continuous state of noise; a race to create and to consume.

Other than a few posts, such as this, all writings at Just Shelley will be spread across pages, not paragraphs, or characters. Such length will, naturally, require a commitment of your time in addition to your interest. However, I can't guarantee that your time will be well spent, or even that your interest will be held (though the former will, naturally, be dependent on the latter). All I can guarantee is that I probably took longer to create the writing than you will in reading it.

I am using a tool to publish, true, and even providing an Atom feed. There are no categories, tags, or taxonomies, though, because everything here fits under one bucket: it is something that interests me. Taxonomies would just clutter the site's zen-like structure, as well as set expectations I'm almost certainly not going to fulfill.

To further add to my state of web regression, I've not enabled comments, though I'd love to hear from you through some other means. As anachronistic as it may seem nowadays, this is not a site that's community built. It's not that I don't care about you or community, or that I'm asking you to be a passive observer. My hope is that if I don't inspire you—to talk, to write, to howl at the moon— I make you think; if I don't make you think, I provide comfort; if I don't comfort, I entertain; if I don't entertain, at a minimum, I hope I've kept you in the house long enough not to be hit on one of those rare occasions when a meteorite falls from space and lands in front of your home just as you were leaving.

Just Shelley is my place to be still, and my invitation for you to be still with me.

My tree

Writings: