Preserving (or Wherever You Were)

Once upon a time, there was a web­log.

This par­tic­u­lar web­log exis­ted for almost exactly five years. It emerged — stum­bling and blink­ing into the light, dis­play­ing a dread­ful site design backed up by some very ama­teur­ish code, and fea­tur­ing far too many sick­en­ingly enthu­si­ast­ic words — in Octo­ber 2000, when its writer (that’s me) knew vir­tu­ally noth­ing about the inter­net and had only read two oth­er web­logs because, quite hon­estly, there weren’t many more than that to read at the time.

The rest, as they say, is hys­ter­ic­al.

His­tory. I meant his­tory.

The rest, as they say, is his­tory.

Wherever You Are: third logo

This same web­log finally met its end in Octo­ber 2005, by which time its writer (still me) knew far too much about wast­ing time online, and the term ‘blog’ had become so dread­fully ubi­quit­ous that your next door neighbour’s pet gold­fish prob­ably had a page where it enlightened the world as to its daily thoughts. It ended because the writer (also me, allegedly) was bored with blog­ging and decided to indulge in the medium’s very own ver­sion of a hissy fit — oth­er­wise known as a ‘hiatus’. But the hiatus became a pause which became miss­ing in action which became eight months in the non-blog­ging wil­der­ness. Then the writer (no longer me, because I was obvi­ously not writ­ing the web­log being referred to here) set up An Unre­li­able Wit­ness, the site you are cur­rently per­us­ing with pre­sum­ably no small meas­ure of enjoy­ment. They all lived hap­pily ever after, and the former writer of the afore­men­tioned web­log nev­er looked back.

Except he did look back, because he was that sort of per­son. He decided that the five years’ worth of words he had pub­lished in a dif­fer­ent loc­a­tion had, on occa­sion, not been so bad. He came to the con­clu­sion that his first for­ay into the web­log world had been, in his own humble opin­ion, a little bet­ter than decidedly aver­age. A glow­ing endorse­ment, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Wherever You Are: second logo

So the writer (still writ­ing, but not where he had been writ­ing before) sat down with his sixty months of archives and sifted, pulled out, weeded and salvaged the bet­ter posts, while dis­pens­ing with the dated, irrel­ev­ant or badly-writ­ten dross con­cern­ing long-for­got­ten news stor­ies, hil­ari­ous pic­tures of kit­tens or, more often than not, bouts of pathet­ic­ally self-obsessed navel-gaz­ing. He decided, rather gran­di­osely, to make these chosen entries avail­able in his cur­rent online home, thereby allow­ing him to finally nail the con­demned notice to a wooden post on his old stomp­ing ground. It is dif­fi­cult to ima­gine what the writer (him, over there) was think­ing by tak­ing this entirely vain course of action — maybe he fool­ishly ima­gined that some deluded soul out there might want to read words that, in inter­net terms, are almost pre­his­tor­ic. Will the writer’s inflated opin­ion of his own import­ance turn out to be jus­ti­fied? Very unlikely, frankly.

The web­log in ques­tion was called Wherever You Are. For five years, it gave the writer (who­ever he was) some­thing to do in the even­ings. Or dur­ing quiet moments at work. Or when he was just at a loose end. Which was often. It did not change the world, and the writer (hav­ing since retreated into a per­man­ent state of bewil­der­ment) makes no claims that it did so. It was only a web­log, after all.

Wherever You Are: first logo

Since the par­tic­u­lar web­log in ques­tion was called Wherever You Are, quite obvi­ously this site with­in a site — a bijoux site-ette, if you will — can­not also be known as Wherever You Are. No, it can­not, since that would be ter­ribly con­fus­ing. Wherever You Are is dead and gone and for­got­ten and rot­ting in the ground, though it still lives on in the hearts and minds of many. At least one per­son, in fact. Pos­sibly.

So this is not Wherever You Are, and nev­er shall be. Instead, this is Wherever You Were. But that would be a silly name for a blog, even an archived blog — not to men­tion being too long to fit com­fort­ably into my site nav­ig­a­tion. So it shall be known as Pre­serving. Because that’s what it’s doing — pre­serving.

To put it anoth­er way, this is a means by which a selec­tion of writ­ing from five years of blog­ging can be stuck some­where that isn’t just on the writer’s hard drive. Please try to remain in your seats and not get unduly excited. Enjoy read­ing, but don’t take any of it too ser­i­ously. That’s this writer’s advice, any­way.

Finally, a word of thanks to Hg for sug­gest­ing the very appro­pri­ate title for this part of the site, to The Gold­fish for seem­ingly know­ing Wherever You Are bet­ter than I knew it myself and remind­ing me of many old posts I would oth­er­wise have for­got­ten about, and to every­one who vis­ited the site and took the time to read or com­ment dur­ing the five years of its exist­ence.