As I begin my first html coding, I am struck by the myriad of design decisions required to create your own website, whether it be for early New Orleans history (my PhD focus) or the autobiographical website desired for my Clio II course. One of the most basic decisions is: What do I color New Orleans history? Do I give a website on New Orleans the popular Mardi Gras colors, which, given they were those of the Russian royal family and were adopted in the late 1800s, have absolutely nothing to do with early New Orleans? Do I use the bright reds, yellows, blues, and whites of the competing Spanish, French, Americans, and British – or are those colors too primary, too laden with modern nationalistic clichés? Perhaps something more subtle: nuanced, darker shades of reds, blacks, and browns, indicating a city old and noble?
And then there’s that autobiographical website project. I began my life on the website at its beginning, and don’t intend to go far into what I still consider a valiant but flawed effort, probably ending in high school. It is meant not to be about me, but rather about how a boy from a coastal village, even in his youth, can find history to be inescapable, brutally real, cinematic, and intensely personal. Some of the images I want to use include my Weekly Reader memorializing JFK, Friendship 7 coin bank, my brother and I dressed as rebel soldiers, Dad in Vietnam, and the like. What colors do I give those days of my life, to make them appear not merely whimsical, but part of history? Pottery Barn for Kids colors boy’s rooms in blues and greens and deep reds – but how do you color years growing up in military bases and around ships, handling old love letters and Bibles, reading in the Wonder Years of the 1960s, watching demonstrations and wars? And what, then, will be the font, or fonts, of a life mixed of beaches, baseball, and history? What do I color my early life? What would you color your own?