This all started at some point last year. I don't remember the precise date, because I don't think like that. My memory is far too nebulous to do that (plus, it's currently overtaken by the tiny person I'm taking care of).

What happened, though, is pretty simple: I took a look at my website, saw how much effort I was putting into making it work, pushing myself through wall after wall of difficulty with each website builder I tried, and I decided that it would probably be easier and more fun to just do it myself.

So I did.

And ohhhhh boy, was that a choice. A good one, in the end, but a choice nonetheless. After being left wanting by the myriad of website builders out there (Wordpress, Squarespace, even, regretfully, Wix), my desire for experimentation and my constrained wallet (freelancing and having a kid leaves you with less cash to throw at tech giants), I built this site using just good, old-fashioned HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

This leaves me with a website that takes a lot more work than one built using any of the countless options that exist, but a website that also has something that I have found myself craving more and more as time goes on: control and ownership. With a website I code myself, I lose out on the ease of having the code written magically by a drag-and-drop editor, but at the same time, I own every aspect of it. I control the style, the layout, and the technology that goes into it. I can build a custom backend to handle photography requests (that's a work in progress...come back to me on that one). And, most importantly, I own everything here. Nothing that's on this site will fade into the ether unless I want it to. I'm not reliant on a company that doesn't have my best interest in mind, because the only company that owns this website is me. My files live on my computer, and I upload them to a server that I rent but can move away from at any time with no data loss. I'm not controlled by the whims of billionaires who are "all in" on whatever technology will make them the most money through stock valuations this week before they break their tech and throw me (and everyone else) under the bus to chase after the next up-and-coming trend.

There's way too much of our content, art, and even our thoughts that exist on platforms that we don't control. And I absolutely didn't want my website, which is a place that, more than anything, is for my personal expression, to be controlled by someone else. Anyone else, really.

As I shifted from builder to builder, the lock-in kept getting in the way. I've lost all my old posts, I have to rewrite everything from scratch here, because of how inaccessible (and thus unowned) everything was. And as someone who wants to continue creating, building, and making a positive, beautiful mark on a world that all too often gets ugly and negative, I wanted to be able to own the stuff I made for good.

Which is why you're reading this on a site that I continue building, day by day, line by line. And I'm going to continue doing so, because I think it's worth doing. There will always be something broken here, because I'm a man with a full-time job and a child, but that's far better than having all of my art held hostage unless I fork over an increasing amount of cash to a company that couldn't care less about whether or not I'm able to do what I want with my own work.