[Home]Inspirations for these Items

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The idea for this site is thrown together from a number of different sources, and realizes two fairly different impulses I've had for a while. On the one hand, I've long been fascinated by the [notebooks] of [Cosma Shalizi], which bring together interesting thoughts, tidbits of informations on dozens of different things, and links to great reading material on the web and in the library. I've wanted to do something similiar for a while, as a way of gathering my thoughts on a number of things that interest me, but I was always afraid it would end up being rather too derivative (it would have). On the other hand, I've been very impressed with some of the on-line diaries that are out there on the web (when they're done well, that is--when they're bad, they can be painfully bad). Ever since the first time I stumbled across one (I think it was Maggy's World, which since then has, through a series of transformations, become [Moments]) I've been both intruiged and a little frightened by the possibilities of such things. I've half wanted to do one myself, but I've discovered again and again that it just isn't my idiom.

You see, many people, when they talk about what's going on in their lives, will tell you what they've been doing lately, where they've been, who they've seen, probably even how they felt about it all. I don't do much. Or rather, I do a great deal, but none of it strikes me as very interesting to talk about. I talk with friends, I walk with friends, I... well, I don't know, I do all manner of things, and I enjoy it, but it's not really very suitable for narrative. But what I really do is think. I think constantly, about almost everything. It's how I define my relation to the world. I don't necessarily think exceptionally well, and I certainly don't often think very originally, but it is, nonetheless, What I Do. It's not that I'm some purely intellectual machine--I feel to (though I'm very, very private about my feelings), I do all sorts of things. One thing I do quite often is get hungry. But meanwhile, I think. It's not that I'm more intelligent than you--heck, I've only ever been myself, maybe everyone thinks this much. It's just that what I'm thinking is what I'm inclined to talk about. So if I keep a diary, if I write down what's important to me, if I really spill my guts out, what I produce is, in essence, a series of very small essays on random topics.

Now as it happens, I rather like this, and I've started writing such things down more and more. And, after a while, I've decided to put them on the web. So what we have is a sort of a curious compound. On the one hand, it's not consistently factual to be really informative, not detailed enough to offer real in-depth information on anything--and yet, I hope it will inform. On the other hand, it certainly won't tell anybody what's happening in my life--and yet, I think it reveals a lot about me. You can think of it as a sort of personal storytelling site, where most of the stories just happen to be about ideas. Or you can think of it as presenting a personal philosophy, that happens to be made more vivid by occasional stories and illustrations. Or you can think of it as what it is: just something I decided to make one day, with no more direction than anything anyone ever does, which nonetheless seems to come together into a rather nice whole. I like to think of it as a much, much bigger, much, much less frequently updated cousin to [bloglet].

Originally created 26 June 2000


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