People sometime ask me why I blog, if there is any money in it, does anyone read this stuff, do I really expect to change anything and just what am I doing here anyways? To which I can only reply "I came for the waters."
Or to twist another phrase, blogging is its own reward.
Yes, I know that in political terms I am preaching to the choir. So what? The choir needs to be preached to from time to time. Put another way, you wouldn't expect the coach to give his rah-rah speech to the opposing team, would you? Okay, so maybe I'm not the coach, maybe I'm more like the fourth line left winger or seventh defenceman who only gets icetime when the score gets lopsided and they don't want to risk the marquee players getting injured, but you get the idea.
Blogging was originally a way of keeping the writing monkey off my back while I did other things for a living. Then it became a way to blow off steam and say things in a public forum that I couldn't say in my day job. As I spent more and more time blogging and reading blogs and cross commenting, I got to know people by what they wrote. We exchanged comments, sometimes even emails. I got invited to contribute to a group blog and got to know the crew there and an even wider circle of online personalities.
Many of these acquaintences became friends, a trend that gathered even more steam when I started podcasting last year. The idea of the podcast, inspired by the excellent and entertaining work of two of my regular reads, Driftglass and Blue Gal, was to chat with like-minded people about Canadian politics, maybe get off a few witty bon mots and put the whole thing online to give us all something to blog about. The tricky part was that I really connected with those like minded people and the intended 30-minute podcasts turned out to be hour-long chunks of three hour conversations that would have gone longer had it not been the wee hours of the morning for one or the other of the people involved. (Flying Spagetti Monster only knows what it will be like when we start doing it with a live virtual audience on Sunday. No, really, we will start up again THIS SUNDAY, live!)
My blogging has been somewhat reduced in length and frequency lately due to work commitments and the need to hunt up a new job, but I like to keep my hand in because its fun and, like I said, sometimes the choir needs preaching to, but also because I miss the blogging gang if I stay away too long and I don't want you all to forget about me, either. The community of the blogiverse is a pretty wonderful thing, despite the trolls and the flamewars and occasional petty disagreements.
So what does this have to do with Valentine's Day?
There is big news in our little on-line community.
Last Friday, I downloaded my usual weekly fix of the Professional Left podcast with the aforementioned Driftglass and Blue Gal and listened to it while puttering in the kitchen on Saturday afternoon. A few minutes in, I got a goofy grin and then I got verklempt and needed a tissue. See, they had a little announcement to make. Many's the time I have rolled my eyes while listening to the two of them flirt and giggle while talking politics and thought to myself "These two don't need to get a radio show, they need to get a room."
Heh, from my interior monologue to Cupid's ear.
Listening to them announce on last week's podcast that they are getting married got me a little misty-eyed.
I've never met either of them, not even talked on the phone. We've exchanged a couple of polite emails. But I check Blue Gal's site a couple of times a week and read Driftglass on my lunch hour pretty much daily. From reading what they write over a long period of time I get the feeling that I know them better than you know your favorite professor, writer, talk show host, actor, musician or other public figure -- or indeed, most of my neighbors and co-workers. What some people won't do for a killer workshop topic at Netroots Nation. Congratulations to you both. I'm not sure which one is luckier, but I think this is one of those "greater than the sum of its parts" kinda deals.
I don't think I've ever been so happy for two nearly total strangers.
That's the thing about this whole online community shared experience. Like the man said: Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased — thus do we refute entropy. (that's a science fiction reference, everybody drink!)
Happy Valentine's Day to you all.