I’m on a quest to discover what MadeByMark.com is about — what it means to me, and why I do it. So I pull on a shiny yellow construction hat, pick up a pick axe, and take my flashlight in hand. I make my way into the MadeByMark.com archives, digging a tunnel back, back, back through almost fourteen years of entries.
I find many reviews: books, gadgets, movies, food. I find entries on faith and marriage and politics and metaphysics. Travel notes — went here, saw this, ate this — abound. Past a certain point, I find many broken links and missing photos; these things happen when a site’s been on the Internet for almost a decade and a half.
But in the end, which entries have enduring value?
The personal stories: the little snapshots of my life with Clyde.
The first post I ever published provides a thesis for the entire site: over time, the little details fade … but writing them down preserves them.
Later posts prove that thesis. For example: I have one vivid memory of 9/11 that proves to be entirely false. I remember gathering with fellow SkyTel employees around a small, grainy television in Shane Wolters’ office and watching the second tower fall. But that never happened. Instead, we listened to Peter Jennings describe the event on the radio.
The off-hand comments. The surreal-but-true moments. The first-person glimpses of far-away places. The new experiences. The losses that haunt us … and the arrivals that heal the heart. The little insights into the fragility of our lives. The happiest day of my life — so far — and how I felt about it.
By far, my most-visited pages have to do with tips and tricks (like how to exorcise LCD monitor ghosts) and that time I took Topamax. But the pages that mean the most to me, personally? The little moments that, had they not been pressured here, would have been lost, like autumn leaves on the surface of a fast-moving stream.
I enjoy writing book and movie reviews, but you have other sources for those. I think politics are engaging, but you have many sources for political insight. I love giving travel trips, but I think my best travel writing happens when I share an experience instead of a laundry list of where we went and what we did.
Back to basics, then: first-person, present-tense accounts of the one thing I can give you that no one else can — my life, lived as honestly as I know how to live it.