Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yes, It's True: I'm Grateful For Blogs

By my count, there are currently fifty-two zillion five hundred and twelve blogs in existence. The ubiquity of blogs brings them in for a certain amount of (often deserved) criticism: i.e. that the writing of blogs can be an exercise in self-indulgence, and that the reading of blogs can become a pointless time-sink.

But though I acknowledge both of those blog dangers, I for one have come to love blogs, especially those with active comment sections. I'm not a frequent commenter myself (though I do pipe up every once in a while); but I love to see how the comments and connections made by the original poster and the commenters can cause an idea and discussion to branch. One blog entry leads to another, and another, and all of a sudden a bunch of people, many of whom have never met in person, others of whom might just walk past one another if they passed on the street, are engaged in a lively discussion.

Which is all by way of segue into mentioning that yesterday in my blog travels, I bumped into an interesting discussion about ways that writers can build community with other writers. (I started at an entry at Jeff Vande Zande's blog; his entry refers to comments by Matt Bell, Blake Butler, and Dan Wicket -- I'm not actually sure who all these people are ((I'm not as well-read as I'd like to be)) but I did enjoy wandering through the pathway of ideas.) Anyway, it's food for thought (and action) for all of us.

But the conversation was interesting to me not only for the suggestions about ways writers can be "open nodes." It also caused me to reflect on my own experience as part of a writing community. I don't know much about what writers are like outside of the children's writing community, but I know this about writers and illustrators of kids' books: you'll never find a more supportive or nurturing bunch.

I've encountered this at every layer -- from within my own writing group, to the writers I've met in my geographic community, to the writers I've not yet met other than virtually. Everyone is kind; everyone is encouraging; everyone wants all of us to do our best, to honor our talents, and to create for the joy of sharing with children and their grown-ups. It's a wonderfully creative and non-competitive community.

I feel honored and privileged to be a part of it.

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