December 22, 2012 § 6 Comments
Since I’ve always been an introvert and a slow thinker, starting The Oldest Jokes in the World back in April and keeping it updated all year has been an exercise in getting out of my comfort zone. It feels unnatural for me to share my thoughts and writing without months of consideration and polish—and even worse to shoot of a quick comment on the work of a complete strangers. I have trouble making friends with people who haven’t been introduced to me by a mutual friend, so building relationships with people I’ve never met seems impossible, but I’ve forced myself to try to take part in the awesome community of writers and thinkers out here in the internet.
There are several aspects of the blogging world, though, that I’ve often felt I would never get used to or participate in, and blog awards were chief among them. Whenever I saw a blog post about receiving an award and passing it along, I muttered grumpily to myself about how they weren’t awards for great thoughts at all, but chain-letters for the bored and lonely. Bah humbug!
That is, of course, until I received one. Earlier this week, I felt my heart grow two sizes when Eve Proofreads gave me a Reader Appreciation Award; these aren’t really awards so much as presents, not meant to sit on your mantle, but to be passed along, building and strengthening the bonds of community.
So, like Ebenezer Scrooge singing through the streets on Christmas Morning, I’d like to celebrate my miraculous conversion and name a few blogs that have made this year-long adventure more comfortable and pleasant for me, passing on this reader appreciation award.
1) First and foremost, Eve Proofreads, who gave me this awesome award. On the blog for her website, Eve reviews books and offers grammar advice with such perception and concision that I’m sure she’s an incredible editor. I’ll be in need of one before I self-publish the manuscript I’m currently working on, so I’m thankful to have found her in my blogging.
2) Sarah of Sarah in Small Doses is a friend of mine from grad school, and watching her start a humor blog on WP was one of my inspirations for finally getting over my anxiety and doing it too. She writes hilariously about her personal life and daily observations, and with a background as an incredible essayist, her jokes often have that touch of human tenderness I like best with my humor.
3) Charlie from That Girl Who Reads Books is another friend from grad school. Setting out to read all the books she’s hoarded but never read, she writes great reviews that often wander to diverse subject to make surprising connections. She has a great post about Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, which is the book that makes me think these awards are more like a gift economy.
4) Thomas, another friend from grad school, uses Walking to Bars to keep people updated on his writing and review movies. As I said above, it takes a while for me to make new friends, so blogging has been great for helping me stay in touch with a writing community even though I am out of school. Thomas’ passion is horror; mine isn’t, but I’m trying to write a horror novel at the moment, so I love keeping in touch with his blog for the sort of recommendations and challenging insight we used to share before class.
5) Even better, blogging has helped me stay in touch with people who moved away after graduating, such as C Lee over at 50 Rows Up. Although I know nowhere near as much about sports as her, I always loved workshopping her powerful sports-related fiction in class, so it has been great to keep up with her on her blog even though she isn’t in the cities anymore.
6) Right after I first started blogging and was thinking about quitting, Ross Gale reached out to me and immediately made me feel like I was part of a community, encouraging me to keep up with and participate in his incredible and inspiring Bereshit Bara Creativity Series. He seems to have taken a break from blogging after a move, but hopefully he’ll be back to it soon because I’ve never felt someone’s welcoming friendliness translate so well into through the internet.
7) I didn’t know Manoftheword before I found his blog, and I haven’t exchanged more than a few likes and comments since, but I feel like I’ve come to know him in some small way from reading it. His original vignettes are always so uniquely conceived that they inspire fresh insight into my work, so checking his blog has become part of my routine.
8) Besides missing serious craft discussion and encouraging camaraderie between writers, the thing I miss the most about school are the informed and passionate book recommendations, so I’ve been happy to find Books Speak Volumes. The reviews are astute and beautifully written, and I appreciate that Leah has good tastes and seems more excited to find good books to recommend to her readers than finding bad books to disparage.
9) As much as I’ve come to appreciate the blogosphere, there’s still no substitute for a physical community, so I’m nominating The Cracked Walnut Reading Series’ Blog, too. Satish runs the reading series, bringing literary performances to all sorts of untraditional venues such as grocery stores and funeral homes. If you’re a writer in the Twin Cities, there is no one better to know that Satish.
10) Last but not least: Versus Literary Journal. As much as I love reading everyone’s scattered thoughts, I do like blogs such as this that function as journals. Instead of seven posts a week by the same harried person, I like the idea of a blog who’s content is made by 7 people who’ve spent a week contemplating and revising what they’ve written. Plus, they published my story “Frank“.
So there it is, my holiday extravaganza of mushy thanking joyfulness. I’ll be busy celebrating at home taking down candy cane displays at work for the next few weeks but will be back in 2013 for an exciting new year of The Oldest Jokes in the World. On Friday the 4th, we’ll have another jokealong and then launch back into our discussion of the dichotomy between wit and jokes the next week.
PS: I guess there are some rules for this award, so I’ve included them down here at the bottom, like a legal disclaimer.
1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
2. Answer 10 questions.
3. Choose 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
4. Provide links to these blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been chosen.
5. Include the award logo within your blog post.
Your favourite colour? Green.
Your favourite animal? At a dive bar that tread the line between sketchy and scary, I met a man named “The Animal” once, who looked like Rod Stewart after a decade long bar fight. . When we asked the creepy guy who introduced us to him why they called him The Animal, he said, “Because he’s always bleeding from his face.”
He’s my favorite animal, though, because later in the night, he leaned over his booth into ours and stared at the back of one of my friends’ heads until we asked him what he was doing. “You’re energy,” he said, “I’m feeing off of it.”
Your favourite non-alcoholic drink? Alkaseltzer in water.
Facebook® or Twitter®? If the last answer didn’t make it clear, I’m a bit of a curmudgeonly worry wort and am getting sort of old. Can I choose a book instead?
Your favourite pattern? Nas’s rhyme scheme on “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”
Getting or giving presents? Can’t have one without the other or it isn’t a present—which is one of the reasons these traveling “awards” feel more like gifts than accolades.
Your favourite number? The nice long fat kind.
Your favourite day of the week? Wednesday. I have it off work, but most other people don’t, so the library is empty.
Your favourite flower? Whole wheat.
What is your passion? Blogging?