Fergus’ song: I sang it alone in the house, holding down the long dark chords. Her door was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe and pity I went to her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed. For those words, Stephen: love’s bitter mystery.
For all that effort above, I had to do this below. The misfortune of HTML is that, as least in free HTML editors or in hand-coding, the time spent on the back-end is many multiples of the time spent on the front-end. If I had confused my single and double quotes, then I could waste a day on a small bit of code such as this.
<blockquote>span style=”background-color: #c0c0c0;”><span style=”cursor: help; text-decoration: underline;” title=”Mulligan idly sings a few lines of ‘Who Goes with Fergus?’ This sets Stephen careening. It was a song from Yeats’ play The Countess Cathleen. The countess sells her soul that her people might not starve. The song is sung to comfort her: Who will go drive with Fergus now, And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade, And dance upon level shore? Young man, lift up your brow, And lift your tender eyelids, maid, And brood on hopes and fears no more. And no more turn aside and brood Upon love’s bitter mystery; For Fergus rules the brazen cars, And rules the shadow of the wood, And the white breast of the dim sea And all disheveled wandering stars.”>Fergus’ song</span>: I sang it alone in the house, holding down the long dark chords. Her door was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe and pity I went to her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed. For those words, Stephen: love’s bitter mystery.</span></p></blockquote>
Confusing, isn’t it? I started this chapter with a little project using only HTML. My feelings about HTML have not changed in years. It is a good medium, when a better medium has not presented itself. I appreciate the remarkable initial problems that it solved in the development of the Internet. I know that I can jump on any webpage and there it is quite quickly.
And I hate the stuff. I hate seeing tags. I hate the workarounds, where tools that were originally meant for other applications were re-routed for other uses. Why are we using an entity called a “Title” as a comment, and why am I limited to a certain character count.
And yet, I use it everyday, transparently, in my blog. I can’t deny that, but I’m thankful and also see the limitations. I believe that one can read a blog post for about a page (500-600 words). Past that, HTML–or the blog post itself starts to intrude.
I like using the “piano roll” or “butcher paper” analogy. We’ve all seen posts, or screes, that have run on forever. Yes, they do. And, no matter how Jack Kerouac wrote, it was still chopped down to paperback format. This is why my own posts tend to be in the 500-600 word range.
HTML, or its variations, does not handle literature well. I had despaired of ever seeing better until the twin forces of Adobe Reader X and eReaders. This posts illustrates that. If you click on the image below, you will see how an eReader deals with a marked-up .pdf.