About

Origin

Some one-and-a-half year ago, I registered this domain name, not really knowing what to do with it. “It has to have something to do with writing, I guess,” was the best I could come up with after figuring out a proper name for it all.

Name

Bladsite” is a portmanteau (had to look that one up) of two words: “Blad” (Dutch for “sheet (of paper)”) and, obviously, “site”. “Bladsite” as a word sounds more or less like “Bladzijd(e)”, meaning “Page” (e.g. from a novel).

Chronology

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment in which Bladsite came to fruition. There was no epiphany, no call to arms or whatever. Quite the opposite, actually – it took a bit of willpower to use the cleverly-construed domain name for anything other than sheer online storage space. Down the rabbit hole we go.

The “Blad” part

Up until halfway primary/elementary school, I never cared much for reading and writing. Everything pointed towards me becoming a numbers & figures kinda kid. During 5th and 6th class, my teachers somehow managed to flip a switch, thus turning me into that annoying kid in class insisting on doing three instead of the obligatory two lectures a year – there’s always one of them in every class.

Early high school, the switch was put back into its original position for a while. I mostly kept myself busy building weird contraptions, getting hit in the face by random people and returning the favour. Then puberty hit and, lo and behold: it was as if I could steer a pen across pieces of paper without using my hands. The stuff I wrote about wasn’t too mind-boggling: every-day life, love, killer robots with giant ant heads destroying the planet.

At first, writing was just a way of venting my frustrations; as the years passed, a certain amount of quality control managed to slip in. Writing became a goal in and by itself at some point. I kept at it for most of my early college years; then, the Internet started to interfere more and more, until writing became more of a job than a worthwhile experience. Let’s see if I can put things into perspective in the next section.

The “site” part

One reason I enjoyed doing lectures / papers so much during primary school, was the simple fact that it allowed me to use a computer. It might seem silly now, but we’re talking 1991 here – not an awful lot of kids had a PC at their disposal back then. Nintendos, sure. Lots of my pals wanted to do lectures on MegaMan or turn in papers titled, say, “Metroid: 8 bits worth of hardcore emancipation”; but they had to do so in handwriting, using semi-edible glue and pieces of string to perk things up and keep it all together.

Of course it wasn’t until the early-mid-90’s before the Internet became somewhat useful to the average person; this time, I was lucky enough that one of my friends was already hooked up to the web. As a result, we spent lots of days trolling what must have been the only live chat-box in the world. Obviously, every now and then we had to look up new cuss words and found Altavista to be quite useful for that, more-so than a printed dictionary.

So anyway, hair began to grow pretty much everywhere somewhat later, 9600 Baud modems had been replaced by 56k’s, juvenile trolls were now ruining our places of interests instead. Life became more grim, writing a bit more passionate – maybe even worth sharing and discussing with like-minded people from across the globe. During early college, an old friend suggested we launch a website to publish our “art” on (for lack of a better word). I remember smoking cigars and drinking wine (how wonderfully decadent), but no resulting website. Naturally, the old friend later went on to become a somewhat esteemed artist and whatnot. Maybe I’ll get him to publish something… sometime… perhaps even on Bladsite. Yeah.

College and a reasonably successful stint on the Net (blogging & reviewing things) took up the bulk of my life thereafter. I learned how to write and publish “serious” articles, digitally and properly- a very useful experience. The downside was quite obvious, though: my writing became very sterile in nature; long-winded as usual, yet lacking in creativity because it had to be functional, aimed at a large audience seeking specific information.

As the Web expanded, it started to occur to me that articles had to become more compact and to-the-point; and this at an ever-increasing pace. More and more people were expressing themselves (which is a good thing) in fewer words (not necessarily bad) due to sheer relevancy constraints (that can’t be good). Talk for too long and you’ll end up running behind; no-one’s going to read your well-balanced thoughts once current events have caught up with them. So I found myself reading other people’s comments, thinking “That’s pretty much my opinion too” and subsequently not bothering to elaborate any further on the subject. Function over form, right?

The only thing that seemingly changed over time, was the growing amount of people saying “Yes, I agree with that person” or “I disagree entirely” out loud (in the form of a comment) at a continuously higher speed. Forums became echo rooms, comment sections turned into pissing matches. There was very little room for actual discussion or refreshing, new insights. I got fed up with most of it altogether, resorting to offline writing instead.

Every now and then, I’d try and get something down on paper, resulting in mixed.. err… results. Last year, I made significant progress in writing an actual novel – only to be overcome with doubts halfway in.

The story I was working on contained the usual material: significant historical events mixed in with insignificant family matters and all that jazz. After a difficult start, the ball began to roll smoothly over the course of a few reasonably-well-written chapters. Moreover, for the first time in years I was enjoying myself (write-wise, that is) and in my mind, I was well on my way to realizing a twelve-part epic of sorts. But slowly and surely, towards page 120, things came undone and loose ends were all over the place. Linguistic tomfoolery could no longer conceal my sheer lack of basic knowledge on all kinds of levels: I ended up mixing up genealogies, misdating events; I attributed the wrong traits to the wrong characters, spilled hot tea all over my keyboard etcetera ad infinitum. The story ground to a halt once I stopped caring for most of my characters.

Only then, it became clear to me that writing a novel requires groundwork, research – it requires involvement with your characters, consistency and persistence. Rereading the monstrous result of my inadequacies not long ago, I must admit feeling frustration over not being able to untangle the sloppy parts from the decent ones. And then it occurred to me: the Internet is full of smart and talented people. Perhaps I could turn things around and offer my problems up for discussion? Maybe – a couple of months after having registered the domain name – Bladsite’s purpose had finally been found, after all.

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