On Form

“Here no state chambers in long lines unfold,
Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold,
Yet modest ornament with use combined
Attracts the eye to excercise the mind.”

Samuel Rogers

On Content

“Suffer me that I may speak,
and after that I have spoken,
mock on.”

—Book of Job, ch. xxi. (KJV)

The Local Yarn (TLY) is an online collection of essays, poetry, and found inspiration by Joel Dueck, published online since 1998.

Most web publications, if they aren’t arranged archaically into “issues”, follow the “stream” metaphor, in which older writing is continually swept out of sight by newer writing; TLY is intended to be more of a garden — a place where older writings are not only worth exploring, but re-featured and refreshed with additional thoughts, even after many years. Accordingly:

  • Each post, besides being part of one or two series, itself becomes a permanent collector of related thoughts & marginalia through the use of “comments” as long-term notes rather than for general-purpose discussion.
  • Readers are invited to submit additional notes to any post; those that are selected for publication are added to the post and sent to subscribers. Notes are given equal status with the original post in terms of typographical hierarchy.
  • Subscribers receive updates on new posts, as well as notes added to old posts.
  • Opinion pieces many years old are periodically revisited; in cases where my opinion has later changed (or even reversed), I write additional notes and addenda about the reasons for the change.
  • It is still helpful to be able to see what’s new, of course; there is a traditional stream — the Blog — running through the center of the garden.

We draw design and structural inspiration from such internet greats as The Morning News, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Ftrain.com, as well as Beatrix Potter and Edward Tufte. You can read the colophon for information about how the site is written, maintained and published. Notes about technical and editorial revisions are kept in the Errata.


This site began as Joel’s Improved Personal Website (JIPW) in 1998. Originally it served as the home for free software written by Joel; when he realized he enjoyed writing the documentation even more than the actual code, programming took a back seat to writing. From 2008-2012, the site served mainly as host to the Howell Creek Radio podcast. After the podcast was moved to its own site, JIPW was reincarnated as The Local Yarn.

Further Notes