I don’t know where the “weeknotes” trend began, but I see it everywhere now. The idea is simple: once a week, on your personal blog, you post some notes about what you’ve been up to. It recalls the indie-web glory-days, before everyone confined their self-presentation to the glass-walled gardens of the major social media platforms.
I think weeknotes could form the backbone of a renewed blogging practice for me, and I’m going to post weeknotes every Saturday this year. As I retreat ever-deeper into hermitage from the internet, I like the idea of firing up a regular signal flare to friends and readers. Or you could think of it as bear scat left by a superhighway: proof I’m still alive out in the woods.
A story of mine — “The Moneylender’s Angel” — was published on Friday in the fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can read it for free online.
I wrote the story a year ago, but it feels older to me. Last year I set out to write 52 stories, and “The Moneylender’s Angel” was the first one I completed.
My partner and I have the extraordinary privilege that both of us do location-independent work. For a while now, we’ve availed ourselves of this privilege by living nomadically; but now we think we’d like to roost.
The problem is, we face an abyss of freedom. Anywhere in the continental US could be a roosting place (our jobs permit us to visit, but not live in, other countries, so they, alas, are ruled out at the moment—though sometimes I feel pangs for Lisbon or Trieste). So we made a spreadsheet to list various things we care about and to order all the places that fit our specifications, to try them one by one until we find one we like. It’s a very bizarre way to choose a place to live, I admit.
But it’s made me reflect on what a good living place means to me. I realized that ideally I would prefer proximity to both a research library that allowed outsiders to purchase a library card and a good public library system (the two types of library barely overlap, and my work really requires both). I already knew I wanted to live without a car—I’ve made it thirty years without one, and I’d like to make it another fifty at least. My partner would like a cooperative ceramics studio to work in and make friends through. We’d like a place where our desire paths take us regularly into sight of tree-covered hills, or a lake or river or ocean, or mountains. And we have to be able to afford to live there.
The introduction of these limitations transformed the abyss of freedom to the wellspring of possibility, and it has already begun to produce surprising results—as the introduction of limitations in a creative project always does.
Yesterday I was looking for an internet bibliography which guided some of my research in grad school. I couldn’t find it. Eventually I realized the site that hosted it had disappeared. Link rot had claimed a resource central to my education.
It made me sit up straight and reflect on my own tendency to delete things off the web. What if something I wrote were important to somebody, and then I removed it? I’ve been writing on the internet in a personal capacity for a decade now, and periodically I have lost or, more often, deleted all of that writing to start fresh. It must be several books’ worth. But I like clean slates. (Joe Schreiber once nominated me, “our blogger of the perpetual grand reinventions.”) But that’s not a very considerate pattern, is it? For some reason I never thought of it except in terms of myself: my space, my writing, my choice.
So another website-related thing I’m going to do in 2020 is to begin treating this place like an archive. No more deleting, even if I feel unhappy with what’s been posted. No more conspiring with entropy.