A History of Prose, Slightly Formatted

Given some events this week, I’ve been given some extra time to learn a few things new. One of those new(ish) items on my plate has been to explore a bit more the use of TiddlyWiki for my personal use. After stumbling upon a working PAMP server for my Nokia N8, I next got to work relearning TiddlyWiki and how I could best utilize it as a notebook. What’s been most interesting so far is that I’m finding that there are pieces of my life that I’ve not done the best job of keeping organized. At this moment, that happens to be my collections of poetry. Besides stumbling onto the fact that I’ve really got a lot written, that much of it is in a document format that isn’t usable on most devices without a MS Word viewer is pretty discouraging.

The first issue is that of how much I’ve written. Here’s the title listing of my poetry collection to date (organized by year, descending):

  • Constantly Evolving – 2012-13
  • Words and Pictures – 2011-12
  • Elephants – 2010-11
  • Prayerfully Talking – 2009-10
  • Walking Off the Pages – 2008-09
  • A New Beginning – 2007-08
  • Vineland – 2006-07
  • In the MIst of Him – 2005-06
  • A Return to Closer Than Worship – 2004-05
  • Peace and Compromise – 2003-04
  • Thoughts Reestablished – 2002-03
  • Without the Masks – 2001-02
  • Closer Than Worship – 2000-01
  • Anointings – 1999-2000
  • Seeds of the Vine – 1998-99
  • Candlefire – 1997-98
  • Rumors – prior to 1997

Its honestly been a very long time since looking at this list, and I’m just realizing that there is just a ton of poetry here. Some year’s I’ve got more than 120 pieces, others have between 45 and 60. And the last two (current and WnP) have the addition of my drawings. There’s just a lot of stuff being produced by hands in just this space that is pretty amazing to me.

The challenge though is to actually keep this accessible for a long time to come. Right now, with the exception of the last three collections, everything else is in a MS Word DOC format. And some of the later ones of those are in that fun DOCX format. Now, this might not be much an issue to some, but I’ve moved away from MS Office as the primary container and working space for documents. Having these treasured files locked here is a major issue to me.

Now, it would probably make the best sense to go two routes here: a series of static files for the collections themselves, and then a database that is maintained for them all. That would make the most sense, and is slightly outside of my skill set. To do the first, I’ve already got the template, and it would just be a matter of either doing it manually, or asking for help with a script that’s able to create those collections as they should be. The database actually seems to me to be a better option long-term, but I’ve got to go that route of exploring the best type of database, and something that stays light and flexible enough for when being hosted on a mobile (as my content is now), or if I choose to push something to an online service, that it doesn’t financially tax me there either.

Still, that’s something for another day. I was more than anything shocked at just how much I’ve written. For one reason or another, I’d not even had this kind of listing of my poetry. This is something that my new digital notebook will be able to hold for me, and is passable to other devices and services as I need. There’s a lot of history here, and nothing that I want to let time or data formats lock away.