I am BARRY HESS > Blog

What Have You Been Doing?

I’m not sure if anyone is even reading this site any longer, but whoever is, well, it’s time for an update. Over the past year I have set about to spend my freetime on generally more useful things. I set some general goals for where I wanted to be in life. Mainly, I wanted to address my chosen career and challenge myself to understand what I really wished to be doing. My career had been surfing on assumptions and stale promise.

You could almost say I made a resolution to address my career. Looking back at the post, it’s amazing to see how closely reality has followed that screed. Have I completed SICP? No, though I have cracked the book. Have I joined an open source project? No, but I think I’ve done something analogous and even more exciting.

Over the past five months or so I have been working on a couple different web applications. The first application is in stasis. The group of folks I was working with have varying levels of commitment and we jointly decided to revisit the idea after the New Year dawns. It’s a great group of folks and I’d love for everyone to regain the initial drive that brought us together. On a personal level the project already served it’s purpose, getting me into an empowering new programming language and framework, Ruby on Rails. And of course the process served as a catalyst for me to continue where the others have left off.

At the end of October I began working on a vastly different web site with my good friend, Nate. Our goal is to take the kernel of an idea that began with our smalltime blog and build it into a community site focused on reading, writing and workshopping.

Scrawlers.com is being built morning-after-morning in my office, in Nate’s office, and on cellular signals traveling across Minnesota. We’d like for it to be available online in December, though the end of December may be more realistic than the beginning. We’re really excited to see Scrawlers in action.

What will you be able to do on Scrawlers.com after it launches? You’ll be able to write 100-word stories. You’ll be able to read 100-word stories. You’ll be able to give writers notes on their 100-word stories. You’ll be able to do all these things in a low-stress environment. You’ve always wanted to write - what easier way to ease into the process than writing tiny stories. Heck, use a flash fiction technique to remove the hurdle of time.

So here I am. My habits have changed drastically. I pick up a video game perhaps one evening every other month. Netflix is wondering if I’ve died. Socially I’m a bit of a hermit - not something I want to continue forever. Yet some of my habits are eerily similar. I’m no longer addicted to politics, news and sports blogs, but I now have a raving addiction to web startup, design, and creativity blogs.

It’s interesting to look back on that original post. I did not know where the road would turn, yet somehow I am on a path that combines both computer science and written creativity into a single entity. And I could not be happier.