[This site went live on March 17, 2010, which makes yesterday the tenth anniversary. Obviously, celebrating the anniversary should be done on the anniversary if possible, and I did manage to get this post written in time, but I didn't have time to post it. I apologize for posting this a day late, but it is the anniversary post with no further edits beyond what was completed on the actual anniversary. Enjoy!]
Today marks ten years since the grand (re-)launch of this Web site!
I wish it were under happier circumstances. This virus business has us all a little nervous. Or a lot nervous. There is a lot of talk of what to do about religious obligations (Just receive in the hand, already, people), whether hoarding supplies is appropriate (don't take more than you need, because someone else does need it), and whether or not the response to the crisis reflects the bogosity of many of our supposed rules and requirements (I have mixed opinions on that one).
But that just means now is a perfect time to find something not horrible to focus on. So let's focus on how horrible my writing was 10 years ago. (What?)
My first blog post was possibly the only time I've ever really commented on current events (unless you count two paragraphs ago), and if not, then certainly one of very few. I still stand by pretty much everything I said in that post, though if I were writing it today I'd probably be a bit less ranty and more explicit about why these things bother me.
For a while, most of my posts tended to be about religion. Some of them hold up, like my thoughts on singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic at Mass. Others show how much my feelings on religion and politics have evolved over the last decade. I actually, unironically, wrote the following line in my 2011 post about the Little Black Book meditations that some parishes hand out around Lent:
There have been a few times that I thought I smelled a sort of free-thinking, open-minded liberal kind of a slant.
Insert your favorite facepalm gif here.
This was from the height of what I now call my “apologetics phase”—a time when I was on fire for my faith, but made the all-too-popular mistake of letting my religion get tangled up with my zeal for fighting the culture war, and all the politics that go along with that. I mean, I still stand by the observation that the book appears to overplay the importance of subjective indivdual experiences while downplaying the importance of the authority of Christ. But the fact that I used "liberal," a political label, to describe a religious failing, is troubling. And of course “open-minded” is something liberals say, so naturally fresh-out-of-college Linebyline thought it was therefore a bad thing.
Something else I notice is that I seem to go through phases with the blog. For a while, I was writing about almost nothing but Sonic the Hedgehog. And for the last couple years, my blog has been dominated by WIP report posts about my slow progress on unfinished art projects.
Beside the blog, the other part of this site that has seen activity over the last decade has been the art gallery. The subject matter has stayed pretty consistent (mainly anthros, dragons, and fantasy folk), but I like to think you can see some improvement.
Something else that jumps out at me is that some of my favorite pieces are ones that I did quickly, often on the spur of the moment, rather than spending days (or, uh, years) planning and refining and working it to death. You can see this especially in the two Inktobers: Each of those little drawings was done in about a day, and while they're hit-or-miss, there are some really nice pieces in there. This is a lesson I keep learning over and over again but somehow I can't let go of the perfectionism when it comes to the bigger projects. Hopefully it won't take me another decade to break this habit.
It's also striking to look back and see the directions I thought this site would take and it clearly hasn't. The previous site I developed as a preeteen under the same name was an HTML tutorials site, and I launched with every intention of writing a new set of tutorials (this time with the added benefit of having some actual clue what I'm talking about). That didn't happen. I had planned on the Other Writing section containing articles that would be more in-depth than blog posts. That didn't happen, either, though there's some chance that it still might.
The Reviews section also didn't turn out the way I envisioned it. That first review was in need of revision from the moment I posted it, and the revised version is still a mostly-finished draft on my computer. The rest of the section is devoted entirely to Sonic the Hedgehog comics (and there's one of those that's also been sitting around as a draft for a couple years).
In light of all that, it would be easy for me to look back and be disappointed at everything that hasn't worked out the way I'd hoped. In fact, that's exactly what I've been doing for the last few paragraphs. But you know what? As slow a process as it's been, this site has been a valuable learning experience. Even if it accomplishes nothing else, it serves as an archive that lets me look back, as I have in this post, and see how far I've come. It shows me how far I have yet to go, but also how far I can go.
It would be easy right now to despair, between the things going on in the world, my past failures, and my painfully slow progress. I'm not going to do that. Instead, perhaps surprisingly, I'm genuinely excited for the future.
It's super cliché but I'll say it anyway: Here's to ten more years.