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I used to say anything to everyone.

For a decade and half of another I dropped any thought I had at the feet of the whole world. I didn’t pause, fret over audience. I plowed my fingers into keyboards and published at brave speed. A vignette about walking to work or photos of things upside down in reflections. Minutiae about my chronic illnesses. Complaints. Oho!, the complaints! The peeves! The snark! I did not care that no one cared what books I read or what I thought about them. I told everyone my thoughts about books with total lack of self reflection, or spent a week only posting about the planet Jupiter. I both hate and admire myself for all that content.

I wrote the last content that I would write for four years in the spring of 2011, a book review of Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. looked exactly like this for years. on ice: spring 2011 through 2013 This is still what you will see on the landing page if you visit

Then: silence., unbreathing, for two-and-a-half years remaining exactly like this. Like the childhood bedroom, preserved, of someone who has disappeared. That’s too morose. But it’s not entirely off the mark: the sometimes-cringeworthy, often of-limited-general-interest, self-indulgent, unfiltered and completely brave content stream ceased that spring and has never resumed.[1]

This is not at all indicative that the Web[2] and I parted ways. In fact, we were more best buds than ever. It was during this time that I co-wrote my first book about the web, that I started speaking and writing about the web for various publications and traveling, in relation to the web, and that Cloud Four was starting to grow some proverbial legs.

Yet with my own web site, my online persona: a stagnant fug of self-doubt and creeping shame metastazised. I became, in real life, I think, very slowly, a kinder, humbler, but far more boring person, with adult-ish regrets and insights. I think I believe now that I can aim to be only one or the other: creative, careless, self-obsessed or compassionate, thoughtful, wise, a little dull. And that latter path requires a tincture of silence and reservation.

Then again, I took that to an extreme. In early 2014, when the burden of keeping my hand-cranked WordPress plugins and PHP versions maintained became too much hassle for me, and after my WordPress installation was the target of multiple hacking events, I folded like origami and took my site down to only the most minimal bit of printer’s red and monochrome., 2014

Yeah, that is the whole of, 2014. The only marks of humanity here are a nod to the traditional printer’s red and my inability to quit Caslon.

From here, just a glimmer of a hint of a nucleus of a nascent verve — that red is a blue red, a slightly hot red. It is not that many hues away from the pinkest of the pink. So hot of a pink, in fact, that we like to call it pank.

  1. Yes, as you probably inferred, a major life event impacted this. I hope you won’t be too disappointed that I am not going to share what that was. Even writing publicly that I am not going to write publicly about something is hard for me nowadays. i.e. This. This is hard. ↩︎

  2. I am really trying to wean myself of the antiquated stylistic habit of capitalizing web, but in certain cases it still seems to warrant it. ↩︎