This week’s post is different. This one isn’t a story about the nineties, but questions for you, the reader, in the 2020’s.
When I first conceived this site, it was to be an autobiography of me and my life in the nineties. It’s what I really want to write. How my autism and other conditions and events affected my work on the web during its evolution, the evolution that I aided.
There are lots of biographical stories here, but if I restrict myself to just recognizable web projects/products, there are really only a few more stories left to tell.
I can’t write, for instance, what it’s like to be homeless in Palo Alto during that time, unless you also understand how it is that I came to be homeless while working in the heart of Silicon Valley.
I can’t talk about the depression that caused me to lose interest in the web unless I tell you what caused it, and how it was triggered.
The pushback I’ve received to not write my story has been interesting. People I’ve contacted from those years have gone silent. I’ve been told I shouldn’t write about anyone I knew. I’ve been threatened. I’ve been blocked just for reaching out twenty plus years later. I’ve been told I should change the name of every person I write about. I didn’t think I was a horrible person to know, but I must have been mistaken.
When was the last time you read a biography where all the names were changed? I suppose I could pull a Meyers and change the sex of all the characters too. That might make some events a bit odd though, like the birth of my daughter.
Another thing I was told was that these stories couldn’t be told online. So all this work we did in the nineties to create a publishing medium that anyone could use to self publish, we didn’t actually do? It’s obvious it didn’t turn out as well as it could have, but don’t publish? Really?
What’s funny is that people seem to think I have bad things to say. The majority of bad things I might say, are about myself.
I’m starting to think I should just write it as a book and publish it that way. Apparently in books you’re allowed to be honest, but not on the web. /shrug
It’s a story of obsession, lust, betrayal, loss, and greed. It’s really like a lot of television you’ve watched. Incidentally, I’d pick Michael Emerson to play my role, though he’s really too old now to portray an autistic man in his thirties.
I turned 61 this week. I can count my friends on zero hands. I will, apparently, always feel like the alien among you. I do, however, have a personal philosophy that helps. It was conceived over the course of my life, and I finally verbalized it a few years ago.
I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all People are created equal but that they are endowed by their Creator with Environment, Circumstance, and Ideals different from my own. These differences should be acknowledged and celebrated, as Diversity of Ideas inspires Progress.
I recognize that the most powerful thing one can say to another is “Let me help.” I will strive to help Others because it is only through the lifting of Others that we may lift Ourselves.
I will Listen to other viewpoints because it is only through the examination of other views that Truths may be found. I will challenge others to seek out Fact rather than accepting Opinion.
I say these things because I recognize that We are all Human First and it is only through this recognition that We may All find Peace.
And so I find myself at the crossroads. What do I write about, and where?
So if you have any thoughts, I’d like to hear them. Comment below?
And thanks for being here and listening to the lunatic ramblings of this alien mind.
Please keep writing!!!
As a later in life career changer trying to find my first job in web development I’m finding your history and perspective absolutely fascinating. This blog is becoming a wonderful insight into the early days of the web.
Thank you for telling your story.
I’ll second that – please keep writing about the history of the web. Any personal viewpoints are part of complex mosaic and are welcome. I would like to read also viewpoints of those others that do not want to be named…
This is an interesting problem.
I can see, reading between the lines, that you probably annoyed people. I expect, if I’d known you at the time, that I would have found you at least mildly irritating. Maybe I’d be looking at your blog now and thinking, “what an asshole”.
As a general principle, the wise thing to do is to not rub people the wrong way. However, that is not always possible. Dr Martin Luther King is remembered as a man of peace, but in his time he pissed off an awful lot of powerful people. We forget now that he was seen as an uppity [person] who caused too much trouble and should have been more polite.
I’m not saying you are as important to the world as Dr King; I AM saying that how someone is seen by comfortable people is not as important as how they are seen by uncomfortable people. “Uncomfortable people” in this context is everyone who is oppressed, marginalised or forgotten. While you did not do as much for the world as Dr King, you did improve the most important communication medium ever invented, the internet, in a measurable way for those people especially. That has value.
Being as clear as possible here: I believe that you, your past actions and your present stories, are VALUABLE and NECESSARY, and that because of this it is better for you to continue, even though doing so will necessarily annoy some people. I think their right to be more comfortable is not as important as the work you did to make other people less uncomfortable.