The beginning

I bought this domain almost three years ago, and I have not done much of substance with it. I’ve changed its theme and style at least three times in the last six months. Every time I did it, it was with the intention of turning the site into something – a professional website that I could share at conferences, a blog about one particular thing, a basic one-pager about me that I could use as a learning tool for my day job.

Every time, my plan failed, because I didn’t do anything once I changed everything. Didn’t add any content, didn’t write any posts. It was frozen in time.

I was thinking about why this was the case last night as I installed yet another new theme and played with more CSS. It’s actually pretty simple: it’s easy to change the looks of a site. It’s a lot harder to maintain. But most importantly, it’s a lot harder to write and to make something that is your own on the Internet. Your own space to talk about whatever you want, even if it doesn’t fit tidily into a particular category.

So my hope is to start writing here much more often. Like many people, I am loath to call myself a “writer” – that conjures up images of someone sitting at a desk with a typewriter and a pipe and devoting their every waking moment to their words. But I read somewhere (and now, of course, I can’t find the quote) that the only thing that makes one a “writer” is that they write. To that extent, we’re all writers. We just have these silly ideas about what a writer is and why we don’t fit the description, and that keeps us from writing.

My plan is to write about the things I love and care about. I don’t particularly care if anyone reads it. I just want to write regularly and I’m doing something to keep the part of my brain that generates and edits and pores over words active.

(That said, if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll continue to read. I write good. I promise.)

The Pittsburgh Anthology

I’ve long been a fan of Belt magazine, which provides fascinating journalism, essays, and art on the topic of Rust Belt cities. Now I’m tickled to announce that I will have an essay in their newest anthology, The Pittsburgh Anthology, available for pre-order here. This is the fourth Belt anthology, each one focused on a different city, and they provide a unique perspective on the beauty and contradictions of living in the Rust Belt.

Another contributor to the anthology, LaToya Ruby Frazier, had some amazing photographs featured on NPR.com today. Her exhibition The Notion of Family documents life in Braddock, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh.