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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Gratitude, Kindness and Connections - IWSG February 2021


It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for the February's IWSG: Louise - Fundy Blue , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!

This month's optional question: Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Middle Passages bears witness to my blossoming—me becoming who I was always supposed to be. But beyond how it has shaped me as a writer, I’ve experienced such support, starting with the relationships with my first two critique partners. Although neither blogs regularly anymore, Anne Gallagher and Bridgette Chicoine were key in getting me to trust my writing self. This blog also led to my first magazine-writing gigs. My boss at the time put a few of my posts in front of an editor he knew, and the next thing I knew, I was writing full-page spreads.

Then came IWSG. Oh Alex! Did you imagine what would follow when you started this blog hop all those years ago? Monthly posts, a newsletter, anthologies, Twitter pitches and a wealth of writer resources! It’s amazing what it has grown into—a demonstration of collaboration and giving and idea exchange for which I am thankful.

To be honest, if it weren’t for this monthly essay, perhaps, I too, would have faded from the blogosphere. When other writing is poop, a reminder pops up of an IWSG post due, requiring me to sit down and get to it. Some pieces come out better than others to be sure, but more often than not completing this essay each month primes the pump.

Aside from that, nowadays, when I can go through 24-hour blocks during which I speak to no one but myself (it’s scary how often I respond), IWSG feels like a lifeline. The comments you all have left on my posts speak to my heart. I am grateful for the kindness here— “kindness” now a word I can’t even type without mentioning Natalie Aguirre, (Literary Rambles)  who I “met” here on IWSG.  Over the last several months, Natalie made it her mission to make sure I am managing through the recent grief that has so altered my life. Such giving. If anything, her posts and practices epitomize all that blogging should be.

What is blogging, after all? A reaching out. Offering up ourselves and encountering engagement, response, caring, validation and compassion. Interacting with people we may never physically meet but whom become a part of our lives.

Sometimes, I wonder what my legacy will be, long after I’ve left this world. I suppose if a future someone reads my old posts and feels empathy with an essay or a poem, is calmed or inspired by a photograph—or recognizes an infinitesimal bit of the growing, yearning, joy and grief I’ve poured into these online pages, then I’ll live on through Middle Passages.

If anything, I hope my blog affirms the blessings of connection.