Thank You for Everything, Scratchpad

It shouldn’t be this big a deal, should it? dcb and Devon already retired their blogs quietly, because as a whole, we’re all kind of over it, I guess. The Scratchpad was a little bit more than those, though, and that’s to its credit and to its detriment.

Like I said before, this one’s gonna be for me just as much as it is for you. As of today, the Scratchpad is retired. Here’s why, and here’s my appreciation for it at the same time.

It’s a well-told story at this point, that I needed the space to get out all the things I wanted to write about or were thinking of, and posting it all to Letters from Somnolescent was unfair to everyone else who writes way less than I do. So I started a blog, one that actually postdates dcb’s blog, but ah well. We all follow each other. It happens. We’re all pretty similar people.

That was November 2019. I was a pretty different person then. The world was a little bit different back then. It quickly shifted from a brain dump to a Cammy update dump, something I’ll return to in a moment. Caby mentioned the other day that revisiting “Teenage Emotions”, a bit of painful self-awareness I rushed to throw online on this new Scratchpad thing, would be good for me, and–I honestly still can’t read it. Maybe it was a bad move to post it in the first place, but I’ve never taken it down because its absence would just call attention to it.

It’s a hard thing, putting the dumb stuff that scares you and has scared you for a good chunk of your life down into words. If it hurts, it’s probably a good thing to key in on, though. That’s what I’ve come to learn. If it sucks to say, it means it should probably be said. If it sucks to read, you should probably read it. It’s such a common, natural thing, especially with the people I grew up with, to just ignore and forget whatever shitty happens. We never apologize, we never come to any sort of understanding. You’re just expected to move on.

It does catch up with you. All those things you regret and the ghosts of the many, many nights spent fighting people in real life and online, it catches up with you and it ages you a lot. “Teenage Emotions” was sort of an attempt to not become the failed adults in my life by saying whatever was hurting at the time, and I guess this post has unintentionally become the same. (There is good news later on, I promise.)

Around the time of the lockdowns, I devoted myself to a long sprint of “getting things done” that exhausts me now to think about. I start big projects to take breaks from big projects, and then I had a big project in documenting all my big projects here. I just can’t live like I’m still trying to get my friends to like me anymore. Of course, I enjoy the process and the results, but once upon a time, every single step of the way was due to my need to validate the dumb shit I get up to on a website no one but my friends go to, a need that isn’t really there anymore.

The new Somnolescent manifesto, I honestly had to rewrite to even include the topic of creation because it truly is the last thing I want to do these days. All of my music has become projects, whether it’s Somnolescent Radio or the Rediscovering pile. All of my games have become attached to gigantic projects, even stuff like Furdew Valley that I started with Caby. And then, at the end of the day, I’d spend an hour or two writing it into this page.

I realized halfway through last year that all this shit, this idleness through busywork, is why I’ve been missing, of all things, 2019. 2019 was a horrific fucking year for me. I was nearly homeless on multiple occasions through 2019, but at least things were moving, and I was fighting for something. By 2021, I had resigned myself to endless hobby projects, culminating in three gigantic game mods for Guitar Hero that bone bleached my relationship. But hey, I was keeping busy.

I want simplicity. I miss simplicity. I want to be excited for these things again. I want them to be special little things I shut off to, things I think about at my job or when I’m driving or getting ready, moving towards something much better in life, and they aren’t anymore. You likely realize things are a problem long before you feel they’re a problem, and that’s exactly what happened here. My hobby became my job. My unpaid, very pointless job.

I’m kind of surprised I’ve changed as much as I have, given that I’ve been fundamentally sitting in the same exact spot in the same bedroom for almost five years now. It’s kinda bleak! Least it would be, if it were anyone else. I have this habit of being okay with going through things myself that I would be pissed off and distraught about if it were anyone else I like. What it means, whether that’s something else I should fix, I don’t know. It’s just how I am.

All of that is way too much detail to say that this blog needs to be retired. It’s a symbol of my excess as a person. It’s its own project to update, essentially acting as my own personal progress report writer for no good reason. WordPress is annoying as fuck to back up, least with the way I do it and have done it since before the blogs were started. Above all else, I just need to get my life back on track to a time before it was societally okay to sit inside, and the Scratchpad came right around the time that shit went out the window.

I don’t regret having it. On the contrary, I really have enjoyed writing for it–least, when I do enjoy writing for it. The posts, my lookbacks at my attempts at doing music in high school, sharing with you enjoyable chunks of Cammy history like old books, goofy websites, and experiments with my technology, and yeah, even some of the project stuff that ended up on it, all fun for me to go and look back on. Just about anything in the Sperging category is prime fuzziness for me, at the time, now, and probably forever.

That’s why the posts aren’t going anywhere. I’ll keep the links working and redirecting to the posts properly, wherever they end up. I’m a big believer in keeping web things extant, whether that means through archives and/or through .htaccess redirects, but it makes me happy to think that every single thing I wrote for VDU since high school, all of those links still work, wherever they were originally posted. The Scratchpad will be the same.

I’ve thrown out a lot of my to-do list these days. What projects I kept (like “Under the Rain Shadow”), I deemed needed to be finished, and what projects I start now are very spur of the moment. With the Rediscoverings now over, I’m free to listen to whatever I want again, and will more than happily do the next time I’m in the mood to listen to music. My focus is now on more enjoyable, gratifying pursuits, namely applying for work in my area, reconnecting with my love of old games, and drawing animal people like I’ve always wanted to.

In the end, the Scratchpad became exactly what I envisioned it as being: a messy, appropriately-named brain dump for a transitory period in my life. The last run of posts this week has been to give it the send-off it deserves, as a useful tool I’m gonna wanna look back on someday. I’m glad I’ve had it, but by the same token, I definitely feel why I need to retire it. Any blog stuff I want to write these days, as uncommon as that is, will go back to being on Letters like it originally was.

As for what I’m gonna do with it other than “shut it down”, I’m gonna redo the tagging and clean it up a bit before finding a way to render it all to static HTML and move the resulting pages to archives. I might also look into highly minimal WordPress themes that I can patch up a bit and get this stuff readable on older browsers–highly desirable stuff around here! Finally, I will export all of my posts and blog comments using WordPress’ export function, so if I ever start a new blog, the Scratchpad will come with me to it.

I think just a little, deep down inside all of us, Somnolescent holds onto the past because saying goodbye just plain sucks. Honestly, closing this thing down has been weirdly emotional for me, even though it’s not going anywhere, but it’s a good kind of emotional. Keeping what’s good about the past, what happened on this very blog, safe and sound and moving on to a much healthier 20s than I’ve been leading.

Thank you Scratchpad, and thank you, my friends and my love.

“See You” by the Foo Fighters (special mix by me!)

These notes are marked “Return to Sender”
I’ll save this letter for myself
I wish you only knew
Good it is to see you

See you

These steps I take don’t get me anywhere
I’m getting further from myself
One thing is always true
Good it is to see you

See you

I’m done resenting you
You represented me so well
And this, I promise you
How could I end up in the hands of someone else?

These notes are marked “Return to Sender”
I’ll save this letter for myself
I wish you only knew
Good it is to see you

See you

5 Responses to “Thank You for Everything, Scratchpad”

  1. devon Says:

    Projects can be fun, but when they overtake your life it becomes a chore past certain points. Scratchpad is ending on good note, full of good posts you can come back and be proud and projects being concluded. It’s time for simpilicity, after all.


  2. caby Says:

    It’s so dangerously easy to bog yourself down in work, stuff that’s fun and inviting on the surface but a mess of complexity below that. We have big ideas, we have a lot of stuff we enjoy, but we only have so much energy, and so many hours in the day. Even though it’s a little sad to see the blog go, it’s definitely for the best, man.
    You have nothing to prove and you don’t owe anyone this much energy. And that’s a freeing thing to realise, it really is. Giving yourself the space, time and energy needed to enjoy the little things in life, to dedicate more to your own wellbeing. Cammy’s been doing it for free for too long, dammit,,,
    Good times ahead, better times ahead >:3c

  3. borb Says:

    I’ve actually noticed this about you over the years. You’ve always had the desire to keep busy, not a bad thing, but its felt like, and especially recently, that it’s been really draining you. I’m happy to see you trying to make yourself feel more comfortable. uvu

  4. dcb Says:

    I’ve long admired your work ethic, really; it’s wild how much you’ve been able to achieve. But this is a good change, I think. You’re gonna get to be looser in what you wanna do and work on. Doing things because they’re fun, whether you can get a full writeup out of it or not. Godspeed on your travels, man.

  5. mariteaux Says:

    In case you’re curious (and I wanted to write a post on this a while back anyway), I decided to check the word counts across the blog before I started archiving stuff with a handy WordPress plugin. In total, I wrote 227,691 words across 247 posts and two pages over 27 months.

    The GH2DX Road to 2.0 post is the longest, at 4,630, and the Archived Phlog Entries page is only 40 words less, if you wanna count that as my Scratchpad writing.

    Three of the top ten longest posts were posted in 2022 (including the two CD-ROM posts), three in 2021, and four in 2020.

    The reading time across the entire blog is apparently calculated at 15 hours and 11 minutes, though at what rate, I’m not sure.

    So yeah, maybe I do need a vacation.