sat18feb2006—07w049d13%— 06h33m00s—0utc
In which I confess to be reading a blog in its entirety, reminisce about one of the first blogs I read, and use “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” as a tool to understand what’s so great about blogs.

I’m a fan of DHH (that’s David Heinemeier Hansson, but since no one, not me for sure, can type his name correctly, he’s usually called DHH). He is the creator of Ruby on Rails, a very smart programmer, and an even smarter manager. How can you not like someone with this in his about page?

I believe in change, ignorance (my own), love, and the power of motivation.

Anyway, out of a childish infatuation with his persona I’ve taken upon myself to read his blog, Loud Thinking, back to front, all 4 years of it. I’ve just read the first 24 posts from July 2001, and it has been a lot of fun.

For one thing, I feel like a scholar, tracing all the antecedents that lead to someone’s achievements, savoring the obscure details, going straight to the source, nosing around on the archives. It’s fascinating to see his development.

It also feels like if I were talking to his ghost of days gone by. Blogs are truly a new state of being (see the next post for more of that techno-boosterism). What’s surprising is how similar that ghost is to myself. How he also struggled with procrastination, also likes the same music that I like, also learned VIM, also loves to argue, also fears growing old, also has sleep disorders, also likes to pontificate once in a while.

Of course, there are also lots of differences. But I knew that already. What is amazing is how much you can have in common with someone apparently so different. One of the first bloggers I read — back in the day when reading a blog was something weird and shameful (“You read people’s diaries? What for?”) — put e.e.cummings’ Anyone lived in a pretty how town in her about page, and interpreted it as a love story between “anyone” and “noone” (here’s an interpretation in that vein). What she found tragic was how oblivious the townsfolk were to their love and grief:

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

So what she treasured in blogs (this is all from memory, I’ve never been able to find her blog again) was their ability to let you see behind “anyone” and “noone”. They put you in contact with people you’d probably never even meet, let alone talk to, and show you that, in the end, they’re not so different from yourself — they also struggle, love, fear, and fail, just like you do.

My favorite from those 24 first posts? Refusing to let an identity mask run my life, hands down.

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