As noted in passing, I’ve been mooching along with building a Sharon Lee homestead on the web, which meant learning WordPress. It’s been going slow, not only because I’ve been having at it in-between other tasks, most of them with deadlines slightly more pressing than “whenever,” but because I missed the Whole Middle of the Evolution of the Web, so some matters which are perfectly coherent to those who have been paying attention all along, to me — aren’t.
It’s sorta like taking remedial algebra and calculus at the same time.
And the above? Is a metaphor.
I’m a writer; metaphors are part of my professional bag of tricks.
But I’m also a metaphorical thinker — new things are like other, older, familiar things, in my world; filed by similar behavior.
Thus, building a web page is like doing layout.
This, oh, my children, is how one does layout:
1. Acquire content — either text or graphic — on a piece of paper
2. Wax the paper bearing content
3. Apply waxed content-bearing paper to blue-line paper, being sure it’s straight, according to the grid
4. Trim as necessary
5. Turn completed page over to pressman to be shot
Notice, in the above example, how the words are on the paper, and the paper is adhered to another paper.
When I first came to HTML (HyperText Markup Language, to continue the theme from the previous blog posting), I followed more-or-less the same steps. I created a page, I placed content on the page, formatted and trimmed as necessary, then published to the web.
The process was close enough for rock ‘n roll, not to mention my metaphor-bound brain, and I continued to think of web design as a more streamlined layout process, encompassing the same basic steps, but without having to heat up the wax.
What I wanted out of my new home on the web was a bunch of static pages, including a welcome front page for random visitors off the web, some pages listing publications and sample chapters, some pages, yet to come, about the cats, and some media stuff, for those who like to listen and/or watch.
I also, of course, wanted a blog.
The static pages went up fine, for values of “fine” that included a fairly steep learning curve — the math metaphor above still holds water — and then it came time to add in the blog — the dynamic page.
So, layout! I made a page called Blog, and pasted content onto it. I published it to the website. All was well.
…until I tried to make another entry.
Hey, this thing isn’t acting like a blog at all!
I scrutinized my toolbar and found “Post” — that was what I wanted!
I made a post, published it — and couldn’t find it on the website. Well, of course not, I thought, you haven’t associated it with a page; the poor content is just hanging out there in the ether, a ghost post.
Long story short — a lost afternoon as I ran around in circles, trying to make WordPress square with my metaphor.
Happily for me, someone who knows what she’s doing made a comment that provided an epiphany and wiped away the mists of metaphor, allowing me to (finally!) get the blog part of the site up and doing, more or less, as it ought.
I’m still trying to figure out a way to explain it to myself, though.