Reading things you’ve written in the past is as bad as reading your own old source code – you keep wanting to find the author and tell them not to quit their day job, and then you remember that’s you.
I woke up at 4:36 this morning, dying of thirst. After I got a drink, I lay in bed failing to get back to sleep, so I started looking at some of the things I’ve posted here. I wound up deleting a few of them.
It’s considered dishonest to remove blog posts as though they’ve never existed, and I kind of agree with that, except for the fact that I use this site as kind of a writing practice scratchpad. It’s good, because I have few readers, and I can get the words out, scratch the writing itch, and try to figure out my thoughts on a topic in doing so. Writing is part of how I think about things. Talking with people is another way.
The problem with using the internet as a tool for developing one’s ideas is that it’s public, and people view it as gospel, as though we’re not allowed to have half-considered points of view or to process information out loud. Again, fair enough, but that’s not really how people work. I know this, I use my site and Twitter for saying things that I often no longer exactly think are accurate later on, and even I judge other people’s words this way too often.
By now you may be wondering what I am babbling about (frankly, you’re not alone). I’m babbling about what I babble about. I’m babbling about how I tend to have strong opinions on things, I tend to write about them, but as time goes on and I talk to others about topics, my viewpoint becomes more nuanced or slides around a bit as I dwell on it. A lot of times I’ll keep the same basic viewpoint on something, but if I were writing about it again, I’d use less extreme language or be less emotional about it. And sometimes, my position on an idea changes radically.
Some of the posts I deleted last night could be considered hot topics (the Bundy militia). Some of them were just boring, banal, and badly written (how I modified a WordPress child theme). Either way, I just didn’t want them up on the site anymore, and now they’re gone.
After reading enough of my own inadequate writing, I had to resist the urge to just delete everything I’ve ever posted here. Obviously I didn’t, but I was tempted. Trust me, I look at some of my babbling on this site and see proof of incompetence on a grand scale. I probably shouldn’t be allowed to write. Ever. But it’s a free country, sort of, regardless of what a certain self-proclaimed militia in eastern Oregon thinks, so I do and I’ll probably continue to.
Just don’t mind if things disappear once in awhile as I revisit them in horror and wonder what on earth I wasn’t thinking.