Willa's Journal

Willa's Journal: A Box of Stars - Excerpt


When I first started my online journal in 1995, I wrote a special piece on the first of every month. I did that for three or four years, then stopped. But I remembered some of them fondly, and thought it would be a nice idea to collect them all in one place. I had planned on rewriting them--I thought I would edit them and update them a little, but as I read over them, I realized that many of them only make sense in the context of the time they were written, both because of what was going on in my life at the time, and what was going on in the world. Pop culture references, especially, may seem outdated, but for the most part I left them the way they were originally written.


I noticed a few things lately that made me re-think some things that I take for granted.

A woman whose style I greatly admire told me that "we must have been twins in another lifetime" because our styles are so similar. That really made my day.

One day last week I went out to lunch and there was a young woman in a stalled car about half a block from a major intersection. Three guys in hardhats who had stopped for lunch ran out into traffic and, after waiting for the traffic light to change, pushed her car through the intersection, into a parking lot, and backed it into a parking space. Then they returned to their lunch, waving off her thanks.

The other day on my way to work I passed a young Indian boy of about eight years dancing alone on the sidewalk to some inner music as he waited for the school bus. On other days I have seen this boy having an imaginary sword fight or practicing karate kicks as he waits for the bus. His imaginary life must be very rich. I hope he's able to retain that spark as he grows up.

On my way to lunch one day there was a young man skating down the sidewalk on inline skates carrying a hockey stick. He moved so gracefully he could have been flying.

There is a cafeteria at my office. I don't eat there; I don't like their food. I was walking past the cafeteria when some medical-type people who were there for a blood drive were going in to have lunch. One of them exclaimed, "This place is awesome!" I guess we don't always appreciate the things we have.

Willa's Journal - August 1995

Because I Can!

Web publishing is difficult to explain to someone who's never seen it. It's almost impossible to describe when you're starting from a zero knowledge base. But surprisingly, I've discovered that it's even more difficult to explain to someone why I'm doing it at all. Obviously, for-profit companies who put up Web pages are doing it to make money. That's understandable. Organizations put up Web sites to publicize their causes. That's also understandable. So why am I doing it? Because I can.

The Web grabbed my imagination from the first time I saw it. In the beginning, I didn't realize that publishing on the Web was something that anyone could do with a little work. I assumed that you had to know some arcane programming language or own an expensive piece of software or hardware to produce these works of art.

When I found out that anyone who was willing to put in a little work learning a fairly simple language could put up a web site, I couldn't contain my excitement. The idea that anyone in the world could publicize anything they wanted and anyone else could look at it just staggered me. Think of the possibilities! Learning HTML was probably the easiest part of my learning process. Finding a service provider, figuring out the connection, finding the software, etc., all consumed a lot of time and energy, and there were times when I thought I would just give up. But I didn't, I hung in there, and I finally got it all figured out.

Then I had to decide what I was going to put up. I didn't want something static. I wanted to do something that would require me to change it constantly, so that every time someone accessed my pages there would be something different there. I decided to do "Willa's Journal." I work on my pages almost every day, maybe just changing some little element to get it just right.

I wanted to share my excitement with my family and friends. It hasn't worked out that way, though; nobody else is very interested. They usually just ask me why I'm doing it. I don't really know why. When someone persists, sometimes I say that maybe if someone sees my pages and is impressed, they might hire me to create pages for them. Or I'm perfecting my knowledge of the media so that sometime in the future I might get a job doing this. But in the end, I'm doing it because I enjoy it. If no one else ever looks at these pages, it's okay. I'm doing it for myself. Because I can

Willa's Journal - September 1995

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