I thought I’d be signing off blogging this past February for a while for a couple of personal reasons, but I was wrong. I realized recently that my announcement that I was suspending blogging operations happened around Ash Wednesday and that my new site would be ready around Passover. That made me wonder if my old pattern of giving up blogging for Lent was so ingrained in me that, even when I wasn’t observing the fast, something inside me was still functioning in it.
I’ve usually done my site makeovers during late Lent when the pressure of not blogging was beginning to get to me.
I started blogging in February 2004 with a three-framed Dreamweaver template (above). On the right was a Blogger template that I had stripped of all but the date, the title, the post, and the HaloScan comment field. On the left was a monthly digest of my best blog writing as well as other writing – usually longer articles and essays — that never appeared on the blog side of the site.
My first Lenten makeover (above) brought everything into Dreamweaver. Neither Blogger nor anything else I could find would allow me to highlight a few of the older posts.
The next change – the move from orange and black to purple, red, and white (above), was largely cosmetic. It’s still my favorite look of the five.
The fourth version of slow reads (above) is the one you’ve seen for the past three years up until now. It was the site’s second major change. I rearranged the page navigation to approximate a book’s layout, complete with “front matter” and a search field I called “index” – it seems embarrassing to write about it now – and I started using an accordion plugin for Dreamweaver for navigation.
The fifth version of slow reads I’m introducing this week is probably the biggest change of all, even bigger than the move to version two, which was the move from half-Blogger to all-Dreamweaver.
I couldn’t get the promising plugin designed to turn Dreamweaver pages into WordPress pages and posts to work, so I’ve spent untold hours over the past fortnight, particularly over this past week’s spring break, copying and pasting each of the 158 pages I’ve deemed worthy to make the trip to slow reads’s new WordPress digs.
But once through each page wasn’t enough. After copying and pasting them, I worked on each page four more times, once to assign each page one of several forms of secondary navigation (the navigation choices just below the masthead), once to assign each page one of several sidebars, once to re-link the images I decoupled from many of the pages when I changed permalink settings on them all, and once to create redirects from the old version of each page to its new version.
So I’ve seen a lot of my old writing (and the sixteen pages on this site written by my friends) over the past fortnight. I also wandered a few times into the comment fields that I was happy to find I could usually copy and paste from Echo into WordPress’s pages. It made me grateful again for blogging and for the friendships and support we’ve formed around one another’s writing.
November 3, 2012 update: In order to have all shots of my blog versions in one post, I’m including them now. Here’s version 5 toward its end:
And here’s version 6:
May 12, 2013 update: here’s version 7:
August 13, 2013 update: version 7 didn’t last long. Here’s version 8: