The Way of the Con

When I was a kid, I dreamed of being an author. I did little about it while in school, but that’s when the dream started. While in the Army, I noodled around with a few short pieces, not doing much with them, but taking way too much pride in the few words I wrote. Youthful hubris, I guess.

It wasn’t until I was going through a divorce that I turned to fiction to deal with my feelings. Journaling didn’t appeal to me. Writing crime stories did. Having bad things happen to bad people made me feel better. Let’s not explore the psychological implications of that.

I created my first author website in 2004. Unfortunately, I couldn’t acquire the rights to colinconway.com. A photographer was using it for his business, so I needed to come up with something different.

That’s when I decided on The Way of the Con. It’s easy to figure out how I arrived at the name. Sadly, it violated everything a good author URL should do. It didn’t immediately identify who I was, and it certainly didn’t show that it was an author’s page. Strike one.

To make matters worse, when I first set up the website, I decided it needed some flamboyant introduction. I used a program called SWISHmax to create a Flash animation to welcome visitors to my site. I wanted something cool that would set a crime fiction vibe.

The introductory animation served no purpose except to stroke my ego. It seems hubris followed me into my mid-thirties. In defense of this action, the internet seemed more like the wild west back then. I probably could have avoided doing such a thing if I had studied what successful authors were doing with their sites.

Regrettably, the animation bogged down the site’s load time. Strike two.

The internet was slower in 2004. At least my provider was. Yet, I didn’t care about the slow load time. I liked the animation. I failed to realize an author website wasn’t for myself; it was for my (potential) readers. I really didn’t have many back then.

Sometime around 2018, I acquired the rights to colinconway.com. It seems the photographer let the URL goal, and I jumped on it. Cost me $600 which seemed like a bargain. I dumped The Way of the Con like a crazy ex and moved on.

However, I wished I could have saved a few things from that site. The animation, for example. Plus, I had almost a decade's worth of blog posts. One stuck in my mind.

I had found a newspaper photo of my dad with a big mustache and dressed in a leisure suit. The picture so enthralled me I wrote a post about it called “My Dad was a Porn Star!” He wasn’t, of course. He just looked like a guy who walked into a room with a jazzy soundtrack playing, ready for action.

Alas, I didn’t save any of that stuff. My focus was on a new website that would support the books I was actually writing.

---

Fast forward to 2024.

I emailed my newsletter subscribers and asked if they still read blog posts. Many responded in the positive. Those that didn’t were too busy reading my blog posts—that’s what I’m telling myself, at least.

In that email, I told a very shortened version of the above, mostly focusing on the regret.

With some encouragement from some readers, I searched for a way to find an old website.

Enter the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. It sounds like something Mr. Peabody made for the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

It took a few tries, but I eventually found The Way of the Con, circa 2004. What a trip!

The animation even fired up. Here it is for your enjoyment (and my embarrassment).

I found my blog, too. Parts of it.

My first blog started in 2004. I was excited to read the deep thoughts I shared with the word. Ugh. What drivel. I called the blog my “Rantings” and that’s exactly what I did. I talked about silly nonsense. Not much of it was about my writing or the journey to publication.

Strike three.

No one wanted to read my thoughts about video games. I definitely didn’t want to read them twenty years later.

Sometime in early 2006, I stopped using the blog on my hosted site and switched to Blogspot. I did this because Blogspot’s colors were easier to control. You see, my original blog had a white background, but the rest of the site was black. I knew nothing about HTML coding (still don’t). The jarring colors bothered me.

So Blogspot became the new home for my rantings. Unfortunately, that platform only allowed for the recording of a handful of posts—the first screen, if you will. It didn’t all the Wayback Machine to crawl through the old entries.

That meant I could not find the post about my dad and his leisure suit. It’s okay, I still have the photo. Maybe I’ll share it someday (if you would like to see it).

There’s an old saying that we can’t go home again. It’s an adage meant to show how nostalgia clouds our memories of the past.

The Wayback Machine certainly proved that with my first website.

Back to blog

4 comments

Still read the blog posts and would love to see the picture of your dad.

Sandi

Was an interesting read… such a hassle to find your old history… but I guess worth it to you. I do read the blogs, by the way

Bonita

Thanks for catching me up! Somehow lost the earlier ones.
You are not alone. We readers are here!

Glynn-Ellen

Thanks for posting this and for the email update. Loved reading about 2004… ah the old’n days!

Roeann Fulkerson Chrisope

Leave a comment