Happy Summer Solstice!

A full moon on the summer solstice. Auspicious, but a big energy today. Best to tread carefully. Nonetheless, happy summer solstice!

Of the four Great Seasonal Holy Days, it is only the summer solstice that brings for me a sense of sadness. It is the longest day of the year--which means that tomorrow will be shorter, and the day after shorter still. It is the peak. Already I find myself contemplating the coming darkness.

Perhaps this is not inappropriate?

Anyway. Today we start Free Refills season six. Can you believe it? Game of Thrones needed six years to make it to season six. Their season five was boring, and it took until the end of their season six to get really interesting. In the meantime all kinds of interesting things happened and are happening at Free Refills.

One thing that didn't happen during season five was me really following through on my equinox promise to finally bring the look and function of Free Refills more in line with my vision for the site. I did do a lot of thinking about what the site should look like, and that thinking has paid off in terms of ideas, but now it's clear to me that it's going to take a lot of coding to bring those ideas to fruition.

I can see that process being two particular types of hard. One, where you're searching for something and you're stumbling ahead and the task seems impossible right until you find the thing you're searching for. Two, where every decision has myriad ramifications and requires huge amounts of learning. I worry about disappearing into a black hole of time, where my time falls in and nothing at all comes out. The whole thing scares me. But the work has to happen. It just has to. Because I have said again and again that Free Refills is not a blog--because it's not a blog--but, you know, show don't tell, amiright? I'm trying to make online publishing, and staying in front of people, something that has real salience to my career. I'm trying to push the state of the art forward. I'm trying to do something genuinely new. Free Refills is meant to be the home base for my entire career, and I'm not a blogger. That's not the work I'm meant to do. The immediacy of the medium is its greatest strength and its devastating weakness. Forgive me if this sounds grandiose, but I have higher ambitions.

So it's clear that I'm going to have to figure out how to make serious changes under the hood, and that means learning, really learning, how the code that runs the site really works, and that's intimidating. I recently realized that the only safe way to do it is to make my own offline server running all the software I need, so that I can make changes in a environment where it's not going to hurt anything that's already up on the site, which, yeah, is just one more task to this project that I fear is going to take a lot of time. But it needs to happen.

That all this scares me, that I feel like I'm going in partly blind, says to me that it's exactly the most important thing. I have to meet the challenge that's in front of me, even though--especially though--it's uncomfortable.

Beyond that, not much changes here. The rules stay the same. 5,000 words/week, every week, and some kind of new content gets published every weekday.

As always, thank you for reading.

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