A Nod to Janus

We are still in the month of Janus as I write this, so I feel justified in taking a little turn around the Roman god who stands at the entrance to the year and who gives his name to January.

Janus was the two-faced god. Not in the sense of being untrustworthy (though that may have been an aspect of his character), but in the sense of looking in two directions. Backwards to the old year and all the things that are past and gone. Forwards to the new year, to the future, to all the things that might yet be.

Standing at the gate of the year, Janus also gave us a name for a gatekeeper. To be sure, a modern janitor has a deal more work to do than just guard the gate. Cleaning up after a New Year’s party, sorting out the used and useless from the still serviceable and the precious, maintaining things so the future will roll smoothly on oiled wheels and re-inflated tyres, so to speak.

Janitoring the website

A year ago, in January 2019, I closed down my website for a period. I thought it would be for a month or two, but two months became six months became a year. I’ve been working behind the scenes – janitoring you might say. The year has not been wasted. But everything I’ve wanted to do to TheSupercargo.com has taken longer and been more involved than I bargained for.

Some of janitoring involved weeding out old posts. Some of it involved importing posts from sub-domains into the main website. Transferring comment threads from one site to another proved particularly tricky.

Into the mix I can add that the site uses the WordPress engine and WordPress have introduced a new block editing system they call “Gutenberg”. I have struggled to understand and use. I have struggled, and I have failed. (So far failed – I press on.)

Everything I wanted to do is not done. In places you may come across puzzling references and dead links. I’m sorry for that. I’ll be trying to fix those problems as the year goes on.

Publishing plans

In 2018 I was adding posts to the website at a rate of three a week. That was a bit over the top. I’m planning to add a single new post weekly this year. On Wednesdays if possible. If it happens that I find myself writing more, I’ll publish the week’s second post on Fridays. (And the week’s third will come on Mondays, if we get to that.) But, as I say, I’m hoping to be a bit parsimonious with my posts.

Also a lot of the posts when they come are likely to fall under At the Quill or Reviews. I’m not abandoning travel writing, or my photography, but they’re going to take a back seat for a while. If you’re interested in them, maybe follow me on Instagram. I hope to be more photo-active there in 2020.

Apart from my struggles with the website, 2019 was a bit of a bummer in other respects too. World politics, British politics, the swelling climate threat, as well as various personal issues to do with health and wealth – or the lack thereof.

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better

Things began to improve for me personally during the latter third of the year. So much so that I enter 2020 (with a nod of recognition to Janus at the door) in a much more upbeat mood than I could have expected just six months earlier.

Having a poem published in The Poet magazine – something that happened last week as I write – was the cherry on the top. The gilt on the gingerbread. The jam in the sandwich. (I’m running out of clichés!)

Cover of The Poet magazine - Winter 2019

Maybe I’ll be able to share some other successes with you during the year. (I must ask Janus if that counts as hubris. Although hubris is probably Greek. Still he might know. Roman gods talk to Greek gods in the Pantheon, I guess.)

Till next week, gentle reader, till next week.

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