It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post (I wonder how many of the 2.5 million blog posts written today will start that way). It’s also been a strange and terrifying year. Today I want to put the terrifying to the side and concentrate on the strange. For me, the strangest thing (and certainly the first of its kind in my lifetime) was the lockdown. There is something both encouraging and depressing about the lockdown.
I’m alive! You might not believe me, but I totally am. Yes, it’s been a year since I posted anything here. Yes, the last thing I posted was the previous year’s ‘Year in Review.’ Yes, I can list agreements… but I did lots of stuff this year… LOTS of stuff! It is disappointing that I didn’t post more. You would be correct in thinking that this is representative of my writing output for the year.
Greetings, Programs! During my Christmas break, I took some time to reflect on my previous year of writing. It was in December 2016 that I first decided to rework my writing setup and, one year later, I was considering whether I’d achieved my goals. Actually, there were only two goals: write more, and write better. The problem is that I’m a classic yak shaver. On my way to achieving those goals I determined that I needed new writing software, new website software, the ability to easily publish to multiple formats, a dedicated writing computer, a new computer keyboard, a writing bag, a marketing strategy, a better choice of fonts for both writing and publishing…
I have another cinema story for you. My local film theatre has an option called ‘VIP.’ In addition to the improved seating and unlimited snacks, your ticket grants access to a pre-film, all-you-can-eat buffet. After getting my money’s worth much quicker than expected, I had a good half hour to enjoy before I would be needed in the cinema hall. I decided to spend the time visiting the water closet in the hopes of securing a more settled and comfortable experience while the film was showing.
An email has come flooding in to request information about the website software I use. So then, technical minded readers and enthusiastic neophytes alike, let us take a journey into the web. This is the second post in a series about how I do my writing. The first post introduced you to my writing software, Emacs. I mentioned that one of its benefits was that I was able to write everything in one place and then have it ‘publish’ to lots of different places with very little effort.
Are you ready to learn about the overly complicated system I use for my writing? I’m not sure that I would be, but apparently a few of you are desperate to find out. At least, that’s what I’m led to believe by the overwhelming number of requests (there were three) I’ve had to write this series of articles. The plan is to talk through some software and hardware that I use for writing.
I saw a horror film last weekend at the cinema. It’s easy to take movies for granted with the near constant access we have to them: Phones, laptops, televisions, virtual reality home theatres, mixed reality projections into the sky… At any given moment most of us have immediate access to films but, at least for me, these options tend to encourage casual viewing. When it’s so easy to have a film playing wherever I am, I tend to have it playing in the background.
For each of us, there will be some beliefs to which we hold a firm grasp. These few ideals will form the core that is an essential part of our character. For some, a core belief might be loyalty to friends and family. Others might favour helping those in need. The more light-hearted among us might feel that bringing laughter to the world is central to our humanity. I am no different in my need for core beliefs and today I thought I would share one of them with you: I believe in making the time to fail.
I’ve been working on a secret project since the beginning of December 2016 (or not so secret if you’ve spoken to me for more than five minutes over the last four months). If you’re here today (April Fools Day, 2017), you will be seeing part of that project. Welcome to the redesign of johnurquhartferguson.info! The old site had been showing its age and I felt it needed to be refreshed. I’d also been a little unhappy with the ‘writing’ section of that site.
Something has been on my mind for a while concerning the sad lack of updates to this site. A few years ago, I had what might be called ‘an identity crisis.’ I had lost sense of who I was and what I wanted. I realise I’m not unique in these particular pontifications, but perhaps my own peculiar eccentricities in dealing with them may prove interesting to you. My main worry was a simple question: am I happy?
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