There is a story that I wrote back in 2005 (almost 9 years ago, now, if you can believe that) which, at the time, I thought was quite good. Hell, George Scithers, editor of Weird Tales at the time told me that it was “Damn good.” (Words I’ll never forget.) I think, in retrospect, that he was saying that the story itself was good. The writing may have been the best of my abilities at the time, but it does not hold up well today.
(You can actually find an early draft of this story online still if you know where to look, though I’m not going to tell you where.)
There is a website that I wrote back in 2009, which isn’t quite so long ago, but it feels like it was ages ago, since I was still in college at the time. It was alright for what it was at the time, because all I could really do was some HTML and CSS, and when I learned a few tricks with PHP, it got to be a little better (though not much). Still, it was clunky: if I wanted to add a page link to the menu, for instance, I had to add it to the index file for every single page. Until I learned about the date() function in PHP, I even had to make sure I touched the site on the first of every year just to update the copyright notice at the bottom of every page.
I don’t make any bones about where to find that website. You can get to it at www.HilaryBisenieks.com.
But the site you’ll find there today isn’t the site that I first wrote back in 2009. Yes, it has the same copy, and yes, that copy is a bit out-dated in some places or incomplete in others, and yes, if you hadn’t visited the old site in a long time, you might not notice the difference visually, since the layout is about the same. But those things are like the story; the underlying code, the HTML, CSS, and PHP that let me make a change just once and have it apply to the whole site, that’s the writing. It’s mechanically better.
The other day, I took another look at that old story, maybe inspired by my work re-writing my website. I cringed a little (I did a fair bit of cringing trying to sort through all the tables I used to lay out my old site and find the actual content). The re-write isn’t done yet, and I’ll have to put it in front of my betas a few times before I let it out into the wild, but it’s getting there.
George died a few years ago. I wrote about the influence he had on me as a young writer at the time of his death. I hope that the new version of this story lives up to the potential he saw in those early drafts.