Two roads diverged in a fading blog

I’ve maintained a blog since 2004, if by “maintained” you mean “kept one online and occasionally updated it.” Interestingly, the first iteration was a Blogger site, also called That Darn Kat. At that time, having a blog with its own domain seemed out of reach, and the odds of snagging “thatdarnkat.com” even more so.

What can I say? I’m really persistent. Yes, I stalked the domain like a honey badger for years till it lapsed and I snapped it up.

Other versions of the blog were called Life in Pal (a riff on returning to small town Indiana after living abroad), Oh, the Drama (a reference to Chris and I being theater geeks who can’t seem to escape personal drama), and  Internet Bard (What? I love Shakespeare.)

Aside from changing names/domains, I changed themes about as often and some people seem to change their underwear. I tend to stick to fairly similar layouts, but some have required featured images for each post – often of a specific size – and some haven’t. Images which I lost when I moved to a new hosting company two or three times.

Consequently, this blog is sort of a mess. It’s like a house that’s been remodeled so many times that there are rooms with no doors to them anymore, that people have forgotten were there in the first place.

My gut instinct is to gut it.

To go back through the 915 posts from over 11 years, cherry-pick the best, and start over. It would be a huge undertaking, and it would require me to re-examine periods of my life that were really painful. But I might end up with something really great at the end.  Buried under the endless job changes and chatty dissections of books and TV shows, there actually is some good stuff in here. I could clean it up, and present a shiny-bright version of my past that makes it seem like I am a wise and lovely person who totally has their $#!t together.

There’s nothing wrong with this path. It’s basically turning That Darn Kat into a very long, serialized non-fiction book. I’d just be editing out the boring parts, and moving forward with the intention of just posting truly useful, interesting stuff. It wouldn’t really be my story anymore; I’d just be the delivery mechanism.

Or, I could embrace the mess

The other option is to go in the exact opposite direction. I’ve done my share of oversharing here in the past, but I’ve done a lot more dodging and dissembling. I have been so concerned with offending people, I’ve watered down nearly everything I have to say for years. I think the version of me you see here has become “The World’s Least Interesting Woman.”

Which is pretty much the opposite of reality. I a have a lot of flaws; but people who know me best will admit I am always interesting to be around.

Editing myself so much didn’t just make it hard for readers to care about this blog, it’s made it hard for me to care about it, too.

What do you think?

If anyone out there is still reading this thing, what do you think? Clean it up and make it a resource, or get way more real and messy?

I’m not saying majority rules. It’s my decision. I’m just curious.

5 Comments


  1. ·

    I prefer real and messy but somethings we all need to purge and move on. It’s really about what your gut thinks

    Reply

  2. ·

    My opinion is always just to build on top of the ruins. Even if you start over with a new format, don’t lose what you had before. Messiness doesn’t matter, you can always put a slick facade on the front. But a long history gives you a kind of organic cred that a carefully edited and manicured blog would not. It shows you’ve been around, doing this for awhile. It shows you as a real person, someone I got to know online and then in person at various cons and other adventures (we survived the Desert Bus! Hurrah!), but it was your reality, depth of thought, and sense of humor that I first got to know via your blogging. I admire you very much as a writer, and I value you as a friend.

    I guess I’m rambling and showing why I’m fine with messiness, but as someone going through a rather different sort of transition, it’s core to me that I not lose my past even as I make huge changes in my life. We are the sum of our experiences, whether we care to revisit them or not. I think your strength is your sense of self, and this blog shows that pretty clearly.

    Reply

  3. ·

    ALL HAIL THE DESERT BUS TO NEW JERSEY.

    I am really glad you are my friend, Chris. 🙂 You’re good people, even if you can’t lace up your corset worth a damn. 😉

    You make an interesting point. And the truth is, if I wanted to write a nonfiction book pulled from “The Best of That Darn Kat,” it might make more sense to do that as a separate project and, you know, make an actual book.

    Either way, I want this blog to become something that matters to me again. I just have to determine the best way to accomplish it. SPOILER ALERT: This blog is not the only thing I’m working on making something that matters to me again. I’ve been stuck in hipstery “too cool to care” mode for far too long. Part of it was a defense mechanism (I’m capable of caring waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much about EVERYTHING.)

    But it’s time to fix my broken give-a-damn. If I had a “resolution” for 2016, that’d be it in a nutshell.

    Reply
  4. Kat
    ·

    Dianne – somehow I missed your comment in moderation. Maybe I’m just not accustomed to having comments lately. Yeah, there’s something very satisfying about a good purge. I know I feel better when I do it to my house. Maybe it would be similarly freeing to do it here. Still consulting the gut, really.

    Reply

  5. ·

    I’ll keep following, whatever you decide. If you blog about what matters to you, I’m sure it will be worth reading. My own blog is an absolute mess, started and continued haphazardly because “writers have to have a blog.” I’m certain any additions to make the blog “something that matters to me” would be merely letting my inside voice talk outside. I’ll be watching to see which direction you take. And Merry Christmas!

    Reply

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