An Update

5 minute read

Trees in a nature preserve.
A view from the nature preserve near me, taken by my then-new Nikon D5600.


You’ll notice the site looks a bit different, if you’ve ever read it prior to today (September 1, 2022).

Back in 2020 or so, I decided to move my WordPress blog off of a hosted architecture and onto my NAS, where I didn’t have to worry about paying to keep it up (not that I was paying much). I went through a lot of back and forth setting it up and maintaining it, but it was up and stable for a while.

A couple days ago, I had to restart said NAS since it had apparently frozen and become unresponsive. This, plus having to change the site’s DNS entry because my ISP randomly changed my IP address, meant the site was in a bad state, and I just didn’t feel like dealing with fixing it.

I’ve been using Markdown for a few years now, especially in my writing. It’s a really simple, easy to use way to format text, and I find it very elegant. Everything makes sense, and the rich text formatting is very unobtrusive. I’ve mostly switched to Markdown editors for my writing (which has been its own journey, let me tell you), though I still use Scrivener for novels. Even so, I’ve been thinking of ditching it for something like this.

I had an idea to convert this blog to something I didn’t have to host on my NAS, ideally GitHub Pages so I wouldn’t have to deal with hosting it myself (and could do fancy things with GitHub Actions). I also liked the idea of using Git to keep a log of every change I made to the site, in case I wanted to recover an earlier version of a post. I feel like Git should be used more in writing, not just programming, but I’m too lazy to figure out how I’d want to use it.

Anyway, after some Googling, I found Jekyll and it seemed simple to set up, as well as letting my easily export my WordPress blog. Took a lot of finagling (mainly just getting the thing to connect to MariaDB, plus figuring the theme out) but you can see the results. I think it looks neat!

So here we are. I admit I’m mainly writing this to test more of the automation, since a previous commit screwed up the custom domain naming. But I guess I can write some miscellany here.

I haven’t been doing all that much writing lately. It’s been a struggle to stay writing for years now, which COVID made that much worse. I’ve barely written all year, and it’s been a downer.

A couple days ago, my therapist and I were talking, and we had the idea of trying to write in the early morning, before I started working. This was impossible when I still worked in an office, I just lost too much time in the commute, but it’s pretty feasible now that I’m permanently remote. I always tended to start work an hour or so early, I was always up then, but now I can spend it doing something more enjoyable.

It’s been day two of this, and so far it’s been going well! I did have the aforementioned problem of my ISP changing my IP address, but otherwise it went fine.

It’s getting to be the time of year when I think most about The Witch and the Serpent, and usually attempting another draft. It’ll be a decade next year since I first thought about Salazarre (though not WatS, that was 2014). I’d like to have actually completed the novel by now, but life gets in the way. It’s still kicking around in my head, and I like to think I’ll get it done eventually.

I do feel my writing skills and my interest in what I want to write have grown past that little story. It seems a bit quaint now, more than a bit nostalgic. I suppose it was always meant to be nostalgic, some forgotten fantasy story I wished I read when I was younger. The book’s characters still live in my head, waiting, more realized than maybe any of my others. I’ve certainly thought about them the most.

There are other stories I want to tell, more complex and philosophical ones. Something beyond a witch who fears her death, a lamia who fears the death of her people. But there’s still something comforting about knowing what this story is, what its meant to talk about. I think I’ve known for a while how I want to write it, I just… have to.

I hope one day I’ll actually get their story done, put into words, to then languish in some old and crusty bookstore somewhere.

It’s difficult getting people up to speed on your writing.

I’ve had a lot of intimate friendships over the years, including a girlfriend now. Plenty of people I’ve wanted to talk about my writing with. Ideally, this would have them actually read through the stuff I’ve written today, but I realize that’s a pretty big ask. Even just communicating the ideas, the various settings and stories I want to tell, is an ordeal.

I’m not friends with many of the people who were around when I first started getting serious about writing, about being creative in general. People I talked about Salazarre with, or the other settings I’ve written up in notes. They got to watch it grow from nothing, knew the contexts and characters almost as well as I did. They had their own ideas about how it looked, how it worked, how it could work, which enriched my further worldbuilding.

How do you summarize a decade of worldbuilding in fits and starts, the early inspirations fueling later ideas, until the setting grew from a gathering of tropes and media I liked into something (hopefully) unique? How do I summarize the dozens of notes I have in my notetaking app, or all the scattered notes I’ve written down over the years?

I still don’t know. People in my life now have expressed interest in listening, but it’s hard to know where to start. Sometimes I feel like I just have to monologue for an hour, summarize The Witch and the Serpent and then talk about all the other things going on in Salazarre, all the little touches that make it a living, breathing world.

I also realize I’m only talking about Salazarre here, I have like five other settings, but it’s a running theme on this blog to just talk about that one.

I don’t know how often I’ll update this blog. It mostly depends on my moods, as well as how much of a hassle it is to update with Git/GitHub. But I’ll keep it around, it’s good to have an archive of the ideas I had back in 2015-2019, when the world made a little more sense.