In 2015 I wrote a novel. Its protagonist – called Big Red (but not because of his size) – and his gang went to war with with KKK necromancers fueled by a forest of dangling dead black people. Needless to say I was working through some shit, but the important part of that story is I wrote the whole thing in markdown, using a new (at the time) emacs distribution called spacemacs.
Spacemacs felt like a revelation at the time. A modal editor with a consistent UX and all the bells and whistles out of the box didn’t seem plausible, and not only that it was easily extendible through its host platform: GNU/Emacs. However, as much work as Grandmaster Sylvain and his disciples put into it, I could never get past the slow startup times, the unappealing defaults of some layers, and the ultimate pain it was to figure out how to configure the damn thing and reconcile spacemacs configuration with emacs configuration. Yet I used it to write this trashy novel where the protagonist spent more time working through his boyfriend’s gender dysphoria than trying to get the tree of life remvoed from his eyesocket so he could see God (a lot of shit). The problem with spacemacs is I always felt like I was fighting against it to extend emacs to meet my needs, and every moment spent learning spacemacs conventions was time not spent learning how to make the best of emacs and I really wanted to know how this editor worked. After all I poured 130,000 words of my soul into this thing, it was only fair.