Well, that sucked.

We’re back folks. After a forced hiatus of over two months, The Next Ten Words is back in operation.

I’m still not 100% sure I know what happened, but here is the story I can tell you:

Sometime in October I was working on the site, editing a Column of Disquiet post written by Kevin Krein (that has since been posted to his award winning blog, Anhedonic Headphones), when the power went out in my Sanctum Sanctorum (or more truthfully, the corner of my wife’s studio where she has graciously allowed my to put a chair so I don’t have to write at our kitchen table). When the power was restored a couple hours later, I found that I could not log into the back end of the website. In fact I couldn’t call the website up at all on my laptop or on my phone or on my wife’s iPad. It took a few days before I realized that the site was not down and that the rest of the world could still see The Next Ten Words, but I could not. So, there I was, the only person capable of posting to the website, unable to do so, while the rest of the world could look at the site and see nothing new happening. I was the captain of a ship adrift.

There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere, isn’t there?

Anyway, this was a baffling situation that we had a hard time figuring out. Eventually our hosting company was hit with the same problem. Their diagnostic tools and abilities are far more advanced than mine, and when they were able to fix the problem on their side of things, someone waved a magic wand and voila, the problem was fixed.

For like a week.

This was the front page of the Next Ten Words on Monday morning

On Sunday, while I was working the Day Job, Kevin texted me a screen shot of the front page with a question: “Buddy, what is going on?”

We had been hacked. The front page of the site was now some sort of money transfer page. I had been locked out of the backend of the site, and when I went to the customer service portal, I was unable to see anything because I was not logged in.

To say this was demoralizing would be a bit of an understatement. I honestly thought that The Next Ten Words was done.

And then this morning I received a message that allowed me to get back in and now everything is fine. It turns out our hosting facility had been severely hacked. The guys over there have been working for 48 hours straight to fix this thing. Now all is well, the site is back and after more than ten weeks, we’re able to post our thoughts and musings.

So what have I learned during this hiatus?

First, that I am a writer. I have things I want to look into, thoughts I want to express, and words I want to put to paper (or at least whatever this screen is made of). I am an artist. Painters paint. Carvers carve. Writers write. When you take away our ability to do the thing we love and are put on this planet to do it messes with us.

Moreover, this is my platform, and I have missed it. Truth be told, I’ve taken NTW for granted for the bulk of 2018, and haven’t posted much of my own work this year. Not having the site made me think about things I want to do, so the happy byproduct of this little schism will be more of my own writing posted here in 2019.

The third thing I can tell you is that I think hackers are scum. Whoever has been doing this, I hope you get flea infested rat carcasses in your Christmas stocking next week. We didn’t do anything to you. Stop fucking with us. Assholes.

Anyway, we’re back. Thanks to all the Next Ten Words contributors who have patiently waited this thing out. In particular, I want to thank the aforementioned Kevin Krein who, despite the way he presents himself in his column, is a beautiful human being with an enormous heart. He has been incredibly supportive in this whole thing, and his encouraging prods are probably the reason I didn’t just throw my hands up and let the whole thing go. Thanks Kevin.

And thanks to the six of you who read this blog religiously! I promise to keep you much, much more in the days and months to come.

Happy Holidays everybody.



Rich Larson is the publisher and editor of The Next Ten Words. Email him at richlarson@nexttenwords.com

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