Before the end of the first paragraph I was laughing so hard I started coughing and choking.
Yeah, I took a creative writing class when I was in my 30s.
Yeah, I used it a cheap therapy to express things I couldn’t comfortably express otherwise.
After reading the entire article, I realize a parallel to developing software. It is an expression of creativity.
It may not look like it from the outside but once you understand the language(s), code can take on an almost ephemeral quality. It exists only to solve the problem of the moment. Operational contexts change. Business rules change. New languages arise as do new language features. New ideas and understandings change perception of the problem domain and ways to address a given problem. All of these factors combine and congeal into “new” code. They work together to destroy the code I’ve written. Sometimes the process takes less than a minute. Sometimes it takes a few months. In the end, change is the only constant.
Static code is dead code.
My abilities in my profession were honed in the dark. Working late at night, on my special ‘pet’ projects, I learned new skills, new ideas, and new languages. It took years of woodshedding. It still does. I’m finally at a point where I ‘think’ I’m starting to get ‘it.’ I know there is a vast wealth of knowledge I have yet to tap into but still… I feel like I’m finally starting to see the beauty hidden between the lines of raw code.
Reading Boudinot’s article reminded me of all of those late nights. Of only heading to bed when the first chirps herald dawn’s coming light. Of the caffeine fueled daze that comes with working against your own body clock. Of disconnecting from the larger world around me. Of loosing friends and lovers because I was so devoted to my pursuit that I refused to make time for them… out there in the real. I had to work long and hard to learn my craft.
I had to sacrifice at the alter of Code. My blood was spilt on the operating room floor when both of my wrists were sliced, tendons snipped and flesh resewn because of the dreaded carpal tunnel. Glasses became “required tooling.” Posture and muscle tone are not ideal. But still…
I chose to code.
Programing is much more art than science. We can use science to define data points, gather metrics, and guide our thought patterns but in the end…
It really is creative writing.