menagerie: … b: a collection of wild or foreign animals kept especially for exhibition
It has been a struggle to post to my website as much as I would like recently. The biggest reason is the same reason I struggle to maintain side projects or do anything more than the minimum these days. Life. Within the last year I went from a father of 3 to a father of 4, studied in and graduated from a graduate school program, was laid off from a job, moved with my family from Texas to the Seattle area, searched for and started a new job, got through the holidays, all while dealing with run of the mill illnesses, spending time with my family, supporting Their Story is Our Story, teaching Sunday School, and reconnecting with loved ones. I’m sure you have similar periods of intense obligation in your life where your day to day is a lot more about reacting to things around you or following through on previous decisions, all while seeming like you can’t make many decisions now. Well, things may settle down in 2020, or they may not. There is something else that has kept me from posting on my blog as much as I wished to this year. Subject matter.
My website has a few purposes; it is a place to publish thoughts and writing, fully formed or less so, it is a portfolio for my design work, and it is a playground to try new technology and attempt to keep my skills up. So when I have something I want to write it is very easy to go through the mental checklist of whether something is good or bad for those different purposes. Is the subject matter right if a potential employer is going to look at my website? Is this idea about design or business fully formed enough to share? Is it jarring to have a personal essay touching on religion or spirituality, next to my impressions of a Star Wars movie, next to thoughts on design paradigms in technology products? These are a lot of wild animals to wrangle.
I write about many of these topics and more in my personal journal, so some amount of self-editing already happens before I post something on my blog. But I fear that I have fallen in the trap of subconsciously limiting what I can post online. The blogs I enjoy reading the most are the ones where there doesn’t seem to be an arbitrary genre. This used to be more common, but for one reason or other has faded as we’ve decided to over-share on social media platforms. Really the only question I want to ask myself when I want to write something going forward is, “is this something I want to share?” If so, it deserves a place. It’s my own menagerie.