Tuesday, December 10, 2002Front   Archives   Writers   List   Submit


"I'm sorry, Mr. Soma," the doctor looked up at me. "It's gotta go down."

A tear rolled down my cheek, but I wouldn't let any more than that out. I wasn't going to let this man who treated HTML like simple text see me cry, no matter how right he was.

I had known something was going on with my website for awhile now. I had ignored the typical warning signs - declining traffic, trouble getting it updated, having the 204th hit for 'first time sexual experience stories' on google - and let the infection fester unchecked. I will admit that I was an inadequate webmaster, and until I go through intensive www-therapy there is little chance I will be able to maintain a normal relationship with a website in the future.

Waking up in the morning of November 18th, I discovered that overnight firedrill's hits from the previous day had plummeted to a paltry 40. This was a massive drop compared to the normal 120 or that it acquired in a normal 24-hour period. Stuffing some PHP treats into a bag, I rushed firedrill off to the website hospital.

Within 2 days of observation, firedrill's hits rose to a shaky 123. The doctors and I decided that it was doing well enough to return home, and I would notify them if hits dropped below 50 again. Although I was worried, some part of me refused these warning signs, continuing to press firedrill to its limits in spite of the fact that it wasn't getting the hits it needed to sustain interest.

In line with my constant abuse of firedrill I also did not stop feeding it literary scraps. Quality writing, I had decided, was much too costly in terms of time and effort than just scribbling something down and punching it into firedrill's digital throat. I see now that firedrill paid the price for this, and there isn't anything I can do to nurse it out of its diminished state.

The next few weeks were tough indeed, but so was my heart, and firedrill languished along with my weak input. Not to say my input wasn't well-intentioned - there was many a seed that could have developed into a beautiful piece of work had it had time spent on it, but in my rush I left it half-completed - larval, really - and firedrill had no choice but to receive it.

So now, here I was, attempting to put down my pet project before it disintegrated even more, and no good could be thought of it. The doctor had inspected the quality of the content and the updating and had deemed it unfit for daily press. Without daily press I feel that firedrill would be even less than it is now - I would still feed it scraps in all likelihood, but those scraps would simply have large periods of starvation between them, and I feel as if firedrill has gone through enough for me. At least some would remember firedrill fondly if it went down as a glowing ember rather than as ashes.

Firedrill refused to stop giving me hopeful piteous glances. Its eyes called out to me to save it from unupdated destruction, to let it rise from its squalor like a digital Pip Pirrip. I turned my head aside, though, not wanting to think about what I was doing. 55% of the articles swimming within it were penned by my brain, and although some were the poison firedrill now suffers, some seemed to be its nectar. I cringed. It was time.

I patted firedrill on its once-fiery mane of 0's and 1's, held out a small, futile offering, and pressed the submit button one last time.

I guess this is it.

I've got plans for the future, all of which will be announced on the mailing list, so sign up if you'd like me to let you know what they are and when they appear. Some samples are... Real Ultimate Power: Republicans, Under the Blue and Orange: A Soma-Scanlon Adaptation of the Great Gatsby, and a bi-weekly webzine (Can't repeat the past? Why of course I can!) that is as-yet unnamed. And more!

When I typed 'hopeful' a few paragraphs back I accidentally typed 'hopeless.' That really seemed to sum it up for me. I really didn't want firedrill to die, but I've been telling myself to kill it for a long time, and I finally just couldn't let it writhe any more.

It's been fun.

Soma is done. Kinda.