The Author Themself

Or: Who does this guy think they are, anyway?

Oh, hello! My name is Marijnα Florenceβ Robertγ van Hoorn.δε, and i’m the web­mix­ter of this humble site. I hold Dutch citizenship, but have lived in the north east of green and pleasant England for many years now.

Gender, or, why i enlisted in Tiresias’ army

Tiresias attacking the snakes.
I was bonked on the head with a caduceus at a young age.

I’m genderfluid.ϛ The term is used by lots of people in lots of ways — to your average Jim, it probably just means anyone who’s not a stereotypical “manly man” or “girly girl” — but the original meaning, and the one i intend, is that of one whose gender changes and shifts over time. I can wake up feeling like Arnold Schwar­ze­neg­ger one day and Scarlet Jo­hans­son the next, though usually i find myself somewhere in that wonderful muddy middle area.

I once heard someone draw a distinction between two types of androgyny. The stereotypical image of those of us who don’t consider ourselves male or female is that of the “negative” androgyne — a scrawny, trim-haired youngster who tries their darnedest not to look too strongly like either a man or a woman ζ — but i would much rather present myself as the “positive” androgyne: a buxom, bearded she-bear who looks like one of each had a transporter accident.

On the apparently obligatory subject of pronouns, i would really prefer it if you would call me “you” when talking to me. What people get up to in the third person is none of my business.

An xkcd comic, riffing on ‘The Matrix’. In the first panel, Morpheus hands Neo the red pill and blue pill, saying ‘…or you take the red pill, and i show you how deep the rabbit hole goes’. In the remaining panels, Neo crushes up the pills and snorts them.
In short: this xkcd comic is me, but the red pill is œstrogen and the blue pill is testosterone.

Whence the Van Hoorns?

Two sailboats are parked in front of a row of quaint old Dutch buildings.
The old port of Hoorn.

The paternal branch of my family, as you might expect, hail from the proud seafaring city of Hoorn. In the ’60s, the government designated Hoorn an overflow town for those fleeing cramped and crowded Amster­damη — think like the new towns of Britain, but building on a preëxisting urban core — and my family took up the offer, bringing with them their belongings, talents, and accents. (Via surnames one can also trace the family history back to County Utrecht, but records are flaky, and in any case i feel no particular attraction to some random lord’s estate.)

I’m told i’ve got a bit of Polish and Traveller in me, via my oma and opa, as well as a distant kinship with the mononymous Dutch singer Gordon.θ

Winding gear at a disused mine juts up into the sky..
The disused Woodhorn colliery of Ashington, now a museum. © Draco2008

The maternal branch of my family, meanwhile, have lived in the industrial heart of south-eastern North­um­ber­land for as long as anyone can remember; my grandfather was a coal miner before Thatcher shut it all down. Alas, my mum consciously affected an RP accent when raising me, so my dialect has been scrubbed of all but the occasional hint of Geordie words and Pitmaticisms.ι

That side of my family also count a fair few Jehovah’s Witnesses amongst their ranks. My mum, thank goodness, got out when she came of age; she and papa raised me fiercely secular. On that note—

Faith (and other beliefs)

The crumbling ruins of a Roman bathhouse.
The remains of the Roman fort at Vindolanda, Northd.

I am a Pagan, holding faith in the Gods of old. My worship is primarily focussed on the the Hellenic pantheon, historically praised all the way from Britain to Bactria. As mentioned, i was raised an atheist, but as i grew older, i had a sneaking suspicion that there had to be something up there (or down there, as the case may be). I found the answers provided by the major monotheistic faiths to be utterly unsatisfying, but when i looked into polytheism, something in my head just clicked like a jigsaw falling into place — it all made sense.

There’s no reason for me to bore you to death with my political beliefs. Suffice it to say that i think humans are, generally, nice, and that stubborn misanthropy and hatred should be stamped out wherever they rear their ugly head.

→ See also: What i believe, the Forest of Shrines

“Why do you spell it like that?”ια

The keys for the letters Ä, Ö, and Ü on an old keyboard.
This keyboard is German, but who’s keeping track? © Hannes Grobe

I have a number of idiosyncracies in how i use the English language on this site: i lowercase the pronoun i when not at the start of a sentence,ιβ use ligatures in words like æsthetic and fœtus, use diæreses to separate vowels in words like coöperation and reëntry,ιγ and set the names of Gods in small-caps (e.g. Dio­nysos).ιδ

→ See also: the Van Hoorn style guide, a nicer ƿaȝ of ƿriting English

About the site

A computer from 2007 running Windows XP.
My first experiences on the internet were on a computer not too unlike this, running Win­dows XP. © Les Chatfield

I started messing about on Neocities, a free web host, in 2017, but the site didn’t really take off until the covid-19 pandemic, when everyone was forced to stay home — this website was my way of staying sane. In 2021 i finally coughed up the money to migrate over to Krystal, a proper hosting service, letting me do things like set up The Garden on Wordpress and allow comments.

I was inspired to start a website in the first place after seeing the site of conlanger David J. Peterson,ιε whose style i shamelessly took after for the site's first incarnation,ιϛ, as well as that of fellow conlanger and Ho­ri­nees Jan van Steen­berg­en. A big inspiration for the design of this site was, which introduced me to sidenotes (the love of my life), those little icons next to external links, and good typography.ιζ

Inspirations for specific pages

The background image on the armorial page was based on the one on Orteil’s website.ιη

The linkroll was inspired by Kicks Condor’s

Heximal was inspired by jan Misali's seximal system for base-6 numbering, as well as previous attempts for useable hexadecimal by Tim Babb and Intuitor.ιθ

The Forest of Shrines is inspired by Morag Spinner’s Temple of Three, with the individual shrines taking inspiration from Salem of The Nexus’s shrine pages.

The design of Kunstgalerie van Hoorn was inspired by those placards you get next to artworks at museums.κ

The monochrome colours and dithered images of the collection of interesting Wiki­pedia articles were taken from Lucas Pope’s game Return of the Obra Dinn.

The page listing every song i’ve ever cried to was inspired by Seán Krow's “contours” page, where he recounts a “remembered discography”, as well as that of Rivendell’s Naru.

Finally, The Garden was inspired by innumerable Blogspot blogs of yore and the wonderful people keeping blogging alive in 2021.

The fun part

Bonus answers: Proust’s questionnaire

In the late nineteenth century, the French author Marcel Proust answered a series of questions from an old-fashioned English confession album; since then, the questions have often been used as a subject for interviews. Here are my answers to them.

Contact the webmixter

If you want to get in touch, please send an email to Unless you’re an arsehole or a spambot, i’ll try to respond, promise!

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