Why Roots to Branches?

New Site Title, New Blog, Same Me

I think I have changed blogs and site titles more than anyone I know. Actually, I don't know a whole lot of people who blog at all anymore anyway. My site names have ranged from "Keep on Runnin'" (a real classic) to "Anonymous Theologian" (unique! different! no one could possibly guess it was me!!!) to the ill-suited "A (Hesitant) Pentecostal Theology."

To be fair, those all probably suited me at the time. I was looking for an identity, exploring a thing that I felt needed to be explored in myself. Perhaps this is the same. The Roots to Branches idea is something I came up with on a whim. I'll probably rename the blog something different in the future. But for now, I think it captures the essence of something about me that isn't so... theologically related. I haven't written or thought much about theology in a long time. There are lots of reasons for that; the main reason is that I have just lost most of my interest in the subject. Perhaps it's because I'm just interested in other things or just interested in living a life rather than standing on the spiritual outside looking in.

"Roots to branches" comes from this sense that I like to get down into the roots of things that I'm interested in. If, for example, something at work requires me to use a Python script, I don't ever really just want to run the script. I'd rather learn the programming behind the script, the thoughts behind why script-writer made the decisions she made, etc. When I got into coffee, I didn't want to just drink good coffee... I wanted to roast it, see where it came from, what it looks like beforehand, why it tastes different when it comes from different regions. I do this with anything that genuinely interests me.

So the blog is a digital space where I'm trying to work from the roots of things to their branches and back again to see if I can gain some more complete understanding of the things I like.

All that said, however, I think the idea of changing and pruning and growing in different directions is one of the benefits of blogging online. A web space that is 100% editable by me (and really, it's completely customizable, which is a first for me) gives me the chance to shape the space how I want. Robin Sloan talks about that some here:

Whereas to me, this connects back to homepages. Obviously, no one does this, I recognize this is a very niche endeavor, but the art and craft of maintaining a homepage, with some of your writing and a page that's about you and whatever else over time, of course always includes addition and deletion, just like a garden — you're snipping the dead blooms. I do this a lot. I'll see something really old on my site, and I go, “you know what, I don't like this anymore,” and I will delete it.

But that's care. Both adding things and deleting things. Basically the sense of looking at something and saying, “is this good? Is this right? Can I make it better? What does this need right now?” Those are all expressions of care.

-- Robin Sloan: describing the emotions of life online

Thinking about blogging or internet life this way is encouraging to me. Because, the hope is, I think, that we are all growing and changing and trying on different hats all the time. Getting to "care" for our digital spaces is a way of honoring the humanity in us.

That makes me think... it would be interesting to add a home page here on this site, and maybe another "Now" page.

I know I'm saying it again, but the internet can be weird if we let it be weird! So let it be weird!

Tagged: blogging,