2021-09-02 A framing story for the blog?

When I look out of the window, I see other windows. But no people. The people are in their modern caverns, somewhere. Troglodytes of our own volition.

I am fascinated by blogs following a framing story, and keeping it up for years. Perhaps I shall start setting the mood for blog posts with a little fragment at the beginning of blog post. What is more appropriate for a blog that prides itself on being a wall of text? There are no images to set the mood, after all.

Instead, I’m modelling my writing on essay writing. The visual style I’m aiming for is what I’d expect for a short story or an essay. – Wall of Text

The small fragments I’m going to add will be inspired by the Nightfall City section called Dusk’s End. Think of it like a GeoCities wannabe blogging collective for Gemini and the web.

We can see it all from the top of the hills in Dusk’s End. It’s hard to tell apart the sky from the skyline, but locals enjoy the distance. The eerie city lights projected on the sky invite reverie and introspection. People from all over come watch the moment night falls from this scenic landmark. – Nightfall City

I mean, it’s not a new idea. I’ve been fascinated by this before.

I wondered about having some sort of “bar” on The Transjovian Council, modelled along the Midnight Pub. A cantina? Or some long range slow bulletin board system metaphor. But I like the Midnight. Why open an alternative if I enjoy the original is it is? – A sidenote as I talk about Gemini and Titan

My blog is just my blog. A wall of text, musing, mocking, meandering, melodramatic… There is no framing story, no spaceship connected with the rest of humanity by a thin thread (see cosmic.voyage), no strangers commiserating in a pub (see midnight.pub), no bread enthusiasts (see breadpunk.club). Using Nightfall City as a mood setter might work.

I mean, I’m not trying to write a book. Or an art project, like some Tumblers.

The Mystery Flesh Pit is the name given to a bizarre natural geobiological feature discovered in the permian basin region of west texas in the early 1970s. The pit is characterized as an enormous subterranean organism of indeterminate size and origin embedded deep within the earth, displaying a vast array of highly unusual and often disturbing phenomena within its vast internal anatomy. – Mystery Flesh Pit National Park F.A.Q.

I guess what I’m looking for is just a slight whiff or it. To embed the blog, which is a piece of art in a way, into a different kind of art – a baroque overextension! – is a small statement about the reality of blogging. The “real” person blogging is already replaced by the self-imagined alter ego on social media and the blog, but bloggers like me claim that the pretension is the real thing, giving it our name, lending it our voice. It’s weird! A framing story would reveal this weirdness: it reveals the imaginary aspect, it makes the unreliable narrator explicit. Maybe.

Perhaps the reason my thoughts are going there is that sometimes I look at my blog and wonder: who is this person thinking they speak for me? It’s a bit like me “writing notes to my future self” – except now I’m looking at these notes from my past self and wondering “who dis?” And I’m wondering whether there is some sort of flourish I could add to semi-divest myself from my blog. Keep the old pages with their old CSS, for example. Or a text-only framing story…

In a way, it does add a little theme, even if small. I don’t think it adds much for the readers of my blog. It would be too small an element. Like those books with quotes at the opening of every chapter. Nobody reads the books because of the quotes. But perhaps you’ll remember that there were quotes, and when you were reading the book, the quotes managed to set some sort of mood. Frank Herbert’s Dune books did that; Steven Erikson’s Malazan books did that.

Also, I don’t think the audience is the reason I write since I don’t really write “for” anybody except for myself and some strange urge to overshare. So how do I tie together those thoughts on copyright, patents, role playing games, programming, maps, random tables, and system administration? And it’s not even the whole me, as comparing my Mastodon posts and my blog posts alone already show big differences. Would a theme tie it all together? Would slow theme changes over time allow me to divest myself of my past self? Does the introduction of a fictional point of view, a mood, help erect a fourth wall between author and reader?

Perhaps. We’ll see.


It invokes feelings, and we humans are emotional creatures, rather we’d like to admit it or not. – Humans and Personality in Technical Blogs, by JTR, on The Art of Not Asking Why

Yes! In RPGs, I like to read how other referees run their game, not see their finished products. And where as in tech it is true that when I look for the answer to something that’s bothering me, I just want the answer, on a deeper level I also want to know that I’m not alone, that other people struggle like I do, and I like to see that they too did not have an epiphany but had to do the legwork to get to wherever they are.

Which is why I like to log my sysadmin struggles, I guess. 😆

In RPG books this is a criticism I often heard. If they are dry and precise like a tech manual, nobody wants to read them. I’d say this is true for all texts.

– Alex 2021-09-03 19:38 UTC

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