For a few more days, I am living in a tall little house with an outdoor deck on the top floor, past a sliding glass door I have not opened in months. On that deck are a table and two chairs, black metal, positioned such that you can imagine two good friends sitting adjacent at the circular surface, setting their drinks down on its swirling flowers that clang when a glass tips over and its pink innards splatter on them both. They laugh, pull their chairs out, and set their drinks on the plastic slats that pretend to be wood before picking up where they left off.
I am neither of these people, speaking their secrets into the late summer evening. I never was. My hand rests on the glass, the amoeba of my fading warmth obscuring the milky landscape beyond. The chair are caked with white. The deck has been repainted the same, bulked up several inches. My other, warmer hand grips a plastic travel mug, the corn tea inside long since gone lukewarm. Every shuffle of my slippered feet on the hardwood sends a faint scratching sound that returns to me from above. This tall little house is old, and makes strange noises, and makes normal noises strange, too.
Tipping my chin upward, I stare wide-eyed at flakes (bundles? balls? This is not my element, and I do not know the proper words) racing my way, big as walnuts and limes but so much softer — this I know, when they vanish in a puff mere inches from my flat nose. The sky beyond is the color of the haze at the edge of dreams. The glass's assailants are only the proper color once fallen. Before their final impact, they are like tiny river rocks, fluttering impossibly lightly, thrust this way and that by the same breath that sweeps the rooftops beyond and shrouds everything in icy mist. They skirt about exactly unlike a school of fish, until the air stills once more and only their mass pulls them to me. If I squint, I can make out noise, static, just in front of the sky: more of the same, whipping away so their corpses may decorate other deck chairs. Like a massive flock of migrating birds I saw once, many years ago, a twisting cloud of dark flecks that seemed to go on forever — only now it's like looking at them from the center of the earth, so miniscule are they and I to each other.
I've been on an odd kick lately, trying to dig deeper into how I best take in, process, and use information. What information I want/need in my brain. I've been trawling sources on digital gardens, on evergreen notes, on Zettelkasten... I've come to the conclusion that CS people love creating new tools to organize information hierarichically, non-hierarchically, as personal wikis, as digital boxes of notecards — look my point is, there's a bajillion ways I've found to sort stuff and zero that I've found truly appealing, intuitive, or helpful.
Maybe I just need to give them more time. After all, the best way to remember anything is spaced repetition, right? Some books in my library have annotations I could find blindfolded for how many times I've gone back to them. However, I am pushed to wonder if that's more a matter of repetition or space? Do I learn best when I can associate information with space? Is X tool superior to Y because it comes with a map of links and subheadings? I'm not sure. Hell, maybe I'm just taking in too much information to test these systems and not giving enough time to feeling that info, letting it fall into place naturally.
For organization's sake (lmao), here's what I've tried so far:
In writing this, I realize that the root of my struggle is the Gordian knot at the very heart of these various systems: organization. As a typical student, you attend classes with neat titles and course numbers and syllabi. As an independent learner (a "Knowledge Worker") I must direct my own course of study and devise my own syllabus: do I consider spatial technology its own topic, or is it simply a subset of technology? Or architecture? Without a goal in mind — a project or blog post or discussion into which I can channel this knowledge — organizing and structuring this information proves challenging.
So then the question is, by what North Star will I orient my education? My attention-deficit mind has always been lured by tangents, as evidenced by the completely irrelevant marginalia in the few books I own. I close asking, incessantly, do I focus on digging more deeply into what I've already read, or on drawing back and trying to synthesize information? Do I go read something else and hope it stops me dead in my tracks, giving me that mental stillness I need to properly ponder? Do I arbitrarily draw a project from a hat and work toward it, hoping meaning comes naturally? For all the workflows and inbox methods I've found, none of them seem to be able to impose order on my racing thoughts, the questions I cannot seem to capture, much less answer, as they race by.
I am incredibly indecisive.
Finding Neocities was incredible for me. It recalled my childhood of scrolling through Sonic fansites on Angelfire, combing Geocities sites for posters from Sonic Underground or a way to download Sonic CD. Thinking myself too young to make my own site, I had to hold on until Neopets to get my first taste of HTML. But once I made my first functional petpage (a character roster for an RP I was in, oh god), I never looked back.
Design is not my forte, but my puzzle-loving brain can't get enough of it. I love finding new ways to present or strucure information, from infographics to site maps. And individual webpages are no different. As a result, Ocean Waves v3.0 has already been released to the ether. The JS fiddlebox used to be the whole kit and kaboodle! And now, I'm repurposing the v2 homepage as my Animal Crossing shrine.
By the way, I'll be putting this in the credits section, but this is a customized version of theme n-131 by foollovers. Goodness knows I'll probably redesign this site again sometime soon. But until then, I have learned a lot from this one. Doubtless, I'll continue to learn as I fiddle with it throughout its lifetime.