Back in the late 1990’s, when the web was alive and open and could be anything you wanted it to be, there were a handful of writers who started keeping journals online, and small communities formed around them, and their numbers grew. The best of these became daily stops during my morning coffee, and I found enough inspiration in their ability to code their own sites and write so well that I started this site—halfassed, really, hiding out as a secondary link on my primary site for a year until I got enough nerve to buy a boutique domain. Some of these folks hung it all out there, writing about every feeling and experience they had, and they gathered audiences around them to share their experiences. They also attracted haters who threw bricks and perfected the art of shitposting. Most of those pioneers are gone now, their domains shuttered, but a few old-school bloggers are still out there.
One of the originals, Dooce, died by her own hand yesterday after a long struggle with depression. She was a singular voice, who wrote with cutting humor and heartfelt tenderness about her kids, her dog, her husband, and life. In the early days I remember her comments section as a supportive place where friendships were made and she often responded to her readers. But she also took a lot of shit for her site. Whole websites were created just to attack every post. Her site had fallen off my regular reading list a decade ago or so when her site became mostly about sponsored content; the ad landscape was changing and she had a family to feed. She was still posting occasionally, and apparently her viewpoint over the last couple of years was transphobic and ugly, which was a shock to learn about.
Whatever the case, I consider her one of the primary influences for starting this site and my striving to be a better writer. I’m terribly sad for her and her family.