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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.

20 comments:

Leigh Caron said...

Beautifully said. And I 'feel' your journey. I used to belong to a writer group in Ohio, but I moved away. I still communicate with them, but it's fizzled somewhat. Here in Mexico I joined a writer's group, and all but one moved. But no matter where I go and who moves away... I always have IWSG. Love that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm really glad the IWSG keeps you connected to the rest of us. For many writers, it is that once a month prompt to stay connected.
And no, I never imagined the IWSG would become all that it has!

Bish Denham said...

Oh, you brought up a name from the past that I miss! Anne. I critiqued her stories and she critiqued mine. I'm no glad Natalie has been a help to you during these difficult times. Thank for sticking with me, as well. ((hugs))

Joanne said...

to answer your final question, yes it does. I met you through Susan and Julie for the book/poem project. Then I started following your blog, and yes enjoyed your writing, photographs, etc. You are a "friend" and maybe we'll meet someday. But we always have words - and they count for a lot. Cheers to you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - somehow we meet each other don't we ... I don't write books - but I so enjoy the blogging world and 'meeting' friends along the way ... stay safe - Hilary

Jan Morrison said...

Yes, no surprise we are on the same page here! Connecting through a shared passion and staying connected because of the warmth and kindness shown by this community.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

What a lovely post, Liza! I hope, too, that somewhere along the line, my posts will help people maybe not feel so alone, maybe give a laugh or two, maybe entertain, etc. You never know. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Beautifully put. I think adding the optional question for IWSG was a masterstroke. It's like a monthly watercooler moment for all of us, when we can compare notes. And overall IWSG has done so much to bring writers together and keep the relationships going. Bravo Alex.

JES Hays said...

An excellent post! I love the way you've expressed what most of us feel about our writing. Thank you for sharing!

E.J. Murray
aka JES Hays

Fundy Blue said...

What a heartwarming post, Liza! So beautifully expressed. Natalie is a special person, and I am glad that she is your friend during an unimaginable time. Your blog does affirm the blessings of connections. Sending you a big hug!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's awesome how your blog initially helped with your writing career. And thanks for the sweet words about me. I'm so glad to help and it helps me to help you and others. FYI, I know what it's like to not talk to anyone for 24 hours (except for my mom who has dementia) many days or only one person for a little bit of time. Blogging does help get through those days. I really appreciate all my blogger friends.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I still enjoy blogging after all these years, sometimes participating more frequently than other times, but I have made friends. One of them you.

Lisa said...

Yes, Middle Passages will live on, and this was a beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss and am glad you've had someone help you through. Thank you for visiting and posting a comment on my blog. I feel the need to partake today in the "hop" more than usual. I really hope this all begins to slow down and give us "real" lives soon...

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Your blog definitely has affirmed the blessings of connection. It is a true blessing, and I love the connections you've made.

Sarah Foster said...

I think if it weren't for the IWSG, I may have given up on blogging a while ago.

mshatch said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt post. I for one am very glad you're still blogging and wow, how fabulous of Natalie! If not for the blogsphere, I wouldn't have met my awesome critique partners. We meet virtually on Monday nights and that has really helped, especially this last year! Stay well and keep writing :)

Lee Lowery said...

Alex has indeed created a magical world for us. I know that I would have given up blogging long ago if not for IWSG. And I am so glad I didn't. Having you, Natalie, and C. Lee to reach out to me right now is the very essence of our community, am I'm so happy to be part of it.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You're right. Blogging can lead to amazing relationships. I never expected to form such genuine connections with people I'd never met face-to-face, and probably never will, but without a doubt, I have, and it's a blessing. You guys have made this journey much more enjoyable than it would've been without you. As for my blog being my legacy? Interesting thought. Maybe I'll have to concentrate on writing something of "more import"... I'd hate to think future generations would judge me based on, say, a post about flatulence... HA

Take care, sweet lady. You're doing an amaaaaaazing job. One day at a time.

Carol Kilgore said...

This is beautifully written. I'm glad to hear Natalie has taken you under her wing. I've met wo many wonderful people through blogging. I'm glad I decided to try it all those years ago.

Patsy said...

It's great to know we can make this regular connection with other writers.