It's hard and simple to imagine why this is my first website as an author, a portfolio of work, collecting my history with published words. It began as a practicality. A book of mine is being published, Code Like a Girl; it is my 7th or so, depending on how we count. I began creating this site from my own code. After all, I've been studying code, learning the art and skill of being a developer. I can do that. And yet, as I began to code the first draft of this site, I wasn't happy. I wanted to be the writer, not the coder, at least for that moment. I wanted a digital home that was already set up, where I could easily wheel in my furniture and books. I was ready to tell my story as a writer, and particularly, as a writer of non-fiction. This split: must I code my own site now that I can is a metaphor common to creatives, I think. Many of us parallel several careers: split identity, what one does for passion, because one must, and what one does in the householder years, keeping family and home afloat, nurturing, also because one must.
I have a writers group. It's name is Wordspace. We've been talking abstractly and specifically about the archive of our work. We talk about coming into middle age as a writer, and in particular, as female writers. Many of us have taken care of family, worked hard to support ourselves, have raised our own children or been involved with the raising of other's kids, stewarded homes, have embodied and felt so many of life's details and desires, wondering where our writing life fits. And so it goes that years pass, years filled with worries about whether we'll make it: creatively, financially, emotionally; whether we can keep our published work going, and then the realization, that yes, all these years later, we have. Not with the glamour that comes for a few, and not with great wealth, but for all of us and in our individual ways: enough.
It is not a given of history that women create public knowledge, that women write, that women publish. In most centuries and in many places in our present, women's words are devalued and they are certainly not circulated in public. Yet, here we are.
And so this site, this explanation of self, emerging from the practical and the philosophical both, as the story of a journey through a writing life, a journey certainly not clear at the beginning, or middle, or even yesterday, and as an exploration of what my type of non-fiction is, spanning as it does the academic in my earlier years, the commercial, the study of the ancient, and the immersion in the most contemporary of all things, code.