Lost In Translation

Christine and I went to a bookstore last night.
A real, physical bookstore. It had walls and shelves and even an escalator. Quite novel.

Anyway, I was looking for a couple of books that I really loved reading when I was younger.
The bookstore didn’t have them.
They were gone.
It was as if they’d never existed.

This made me quite uncomfortable.
It wasn’t as if the books were fantastic or groundbreaking or more important than all of the new books the bookstore stocked its shelves with, it’s just that the particular books that influenced me and contributed to my character are no longer available in physical bookstores.

Sure, the books are still available online, but for how much longer? Eventually, the online stores will clear out their inventory, and the publishers will decide it isn’t worth their time to reprint the books or even take the time to release them in digital form.
All of these things take time and a publisher that is only interested in profit cannot justify spending any time on a book that is not going to sell many copies anymore.

Let’s face facts: I too, at some point, decided that the books were not worth the effort it would take to hold onto them.
I had, after all, owned them at one point.

As soon as we got home, I acquired the books online.
They will remain a part of my collection indefinitely.

I may read them again, I may not.
Someday my children may read them, they may not.
That really isn’t the point.

This got me thinking about other information that is now dead.
The worst part is knowing that I killed much of it.

In college, some friends and I started a message board called LogosChat where we attempted a 21st century renaissance.
On June 6, 2007, I decided to kill LogosChat.
All of the discussions we had are now lost forever.

When I was in high school, I kept a very primitive “blog.”
It was a Geocities page with a little text box that I would update every week with little anecdotes from my life.
After I graduated high school, I flipped the kill switch on my Geocities blog.
Today, there exists only a single snapshot from that site on the Wayback Machine.
It really isn’t even worth linking to, as it contains nothing but broken links.

Integer Software, the email newsletter I published in 8th grade, the first “website” I designed when I was 12… the list goes on.
All of these things I one time felt were worth the effort to make available to others, and later decided were so worthless that I put effort into eradicating them.

Right now, the domain name PatHawks.com, where this site is hosted, is registered until the year 2020.
If I were unable to pay the renewal fee, come fall 2020, this blog would also cease to exist.
There are a number of other ways this blog could cease to exist, and I imagine eventually one of them will come to pass.

The point is, I believe that ceasing to exist is the worst fate that could come to a text.
The point is, some texts have had such an impact on me, I believe it my personal responsibility to make sure this fate does not come to them.