Tonight I uploaded the first big chunk of my redesign of my personal website, MusicWords. There’s still a huge amount to do, but I got the important information about the cello lessons up there (including a new page with some cool YouTube links to cello videos), and also the interactive fiction pages, and a page of links to my original mp3s.

It’s still a primitive-looking hand-coded site, but at least I’ve dragged it kicking and screaming into the late ’90s. The old table-based layout was sort of late ’80s. I’m now making use of css and javascript — not to do anything slick or sophisticated, I hasten to add, although I did learn to write a redirect in case anyone has bookmarked the non-current pages (unlikely).

Not that I get a lot of traffic to the site. That’s why I’ve put off upgrading it for years on end. But lately I’ve been thinking about the peril and promise of self-publishing. Over the years I’ve accumulated a fair amount of creative work, though nobody is clamoring to put any of it up on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, you may be sure.

I have about 16 really good short stories, for instance. Seven or eight of them were published in top-flight science fiction/fantasy magazines over the years; the others have never been published, though they’re just as good. (That’s the way the market crumbles.) So at first I was thinking, I’ll do an anthology and make it available through a print-on-demand publisher like lulu.com. I may still do that — I might make a few bucks. But paper is so 20th century, and besides, then I’d have to promote the anthology. Why not put the stories up on the website, along with my music?

Why not, in fact, turn MusicWords into a sort of informal art gallery? I know a few people who do great photos, and they’re sort of in the same situation I am — they can upload the shots to flickr for people to look at, but, as Phil Ochs put it, “I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends.” So I may add photos by other people to MusicWords. Or even music by other people. Why not?

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