Ten Years of ToVa

On this day ten years ago, I launched this blog: Toward Vandalia. That’s me (in my younger and more impressionable days) in the photo above, smiling at Rupert, who helped me with post photos in those early days of the site.

In early 2023, I wrote a post outlining how the blog has changed through the years: from a personal development blog, to a collection of microfiction stories tied to my photography hobby, to a filing spot for creative non-fiction. More recently, it’s been a place for me to park text through which I’m shouting into the void. Shortly thereafter, I decided to refer to the site simply as ToVa (a change that is reflected in a redesign I’ve been gradually working on behind the scenes). The name Toward Vandalia was chosen for my original aim of blogging about personal development, as Vandalia was the name of a proposed ‘ideal’ colony that would have been established on the land now occupied by my home state of West Virginia. For a transplanted Mountaineer, it was a very personal way of saying this site was meant to help us move “toward something that might be ideal”.

Naturally, I am still trying to move toward something that might be ideal, but the shape of that quest — as illustrated by the evolving focus of this site — is ever-shifting. I had always referred to the site by the abbreviation ToVa, and so it seems an apt fit: a nod to a past that I haven’t forsaken while also allowing for a future that’s hard to define. While the ‘glory days’ of blogging on the internet seem to be a thing of the past, I still see a role for ToVa in my writing life – even if only as a spot to file odds and ends. I don’t have the readership to justify something like a SubStack, though the model is the closest to what I’d like to be doing with this site. Of course, that same problem of readership means that anything posted here is largely me talking to myself. It’s something I’ve been pondering of late when cognitively talking to myself.

I will turn 40 later in the year, and I will almost certainly have more reflecting to do at that time. For now, I didn’t want to let the anniversary go by unremarked upon. Here’s to another decade of… well, I guess we’ll find out together.

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