and thus as i repeat the refrain

A little over a year ago, I had a burst of energy and a vision to rewrite my blog. In my mind, I envisioned having a website that I could easily change. I would have complete control over the code behind the site, and it would be effortless to author new content.

As you can see from the dearth of content between then and now, that plan did not so much work as wither. I obsessed over the template and the build system, spending countless hours writing and rewriting the code behind the site. I was caught in a recursive loop of refactoring from which no greater refactoring could be conceived. I like tools like Gatsby, and I enjoy the exercise of writing code as I write other things; but I found myself in an inextricably knotted mat of dead ends and loose threads. The site never looked exactly the way I wanted it to look, so it became impossible to simply write for the sake of writing. I would lose time and energy, leaving the project for weeks or months only to return and find that the whole toolset and ecosystem had changed beneath my feet. I would spend long nights simply building and rebuilding the site just to get it to work the same way today that it worked the last time I had touched it.

A few months ago, I needed to write some content for work, and it occurred to me that a Juptyer notebook would be a nice, neat and uncomplicated way to write a bit of code and tad of content, then see the result rendered as a website that anyone could view. What if I could use a Jupyter notebook for my entire blog? A few minutes of searching revealed the solution: Fastpages.

I abandoned my old codebase and moved everything into the cellar. Fastpages relies on Jekyll, which was the one technology I had explicitly declared would not be part of my solution. Yet, here we are.

This site does not look exactly the way I want it to look (yet or perhaps never); the tools that build the site are essentially a black box that I rely on with little or no desire to understand the inner workings at any level of depth. Nothing about this setup is perfect, but it’s better than that because it does what I need it to do reliably and quickly.

Almost and precisely zero of the requirements I set for myself a year ago materialized into actual parts of my blog. You might even go so far to say that everything I wrote about the future of my blogging was wrong. You might be right. I might be wrong.

Finishing the race is its own satisfaction–no matter that I started a triathlon and finished a biathlon. This to me is one of the persistent joys of writing (be it code or poetry), that we can stumble through the darkness and yet still find our way through the darkness. While I may throw away most of what I write, I lose little. I can look at my past naivete and be comfortable in my wrongness. After all, it’s a place where I spend a lot of time, so it’s nice to be comfortable while there.

Here’s hoping I continue past my own obstacles and. just. write.