Bloggers Gather for Self-Reflection

Drawing Hands

"Drawing Hands," a lithograph by M.C. Escher, first printed January, 1948

This story feels like an Escher drawing of hands drawing themselves: a blog post about a blog party in which writers talked about writing stories.

On August 11, HoCoBlogs hosted a meet-up for writers at the Stanford Grill in Columbia, MD. Of the folks clustered on the patio, some were ex-newspaper types, some were soon-to-be-ex-newspaper types (The Baltimore Sun just announced another round of layoffs and staff cuts) and others were runners, eaters or mathematicians who write about their passions.

Having that many writers in a room meant that the free food–love that key lime pie–went fast and the drinks came faster.

The party gave people who didn’t know they were neighbors a chance to talk about the escaped 3-foot-long monitor lizard in the village and a local businessman who shall remain nameless the opportunity to confess that triathletes are really not his tribe.

Jessie Newburn, co-founder and publisher of HoCoBlogs, stood with her long orange skirt dangerously close to a candle to pump up the crowd and announce the winners of a $100 Macy’s gift certificate: Thomas and Charles Regnante (ages 12 and 14, respectively) for their new teen food blog for Howard County, How2Chow.

Posted on the wall of the patio was a sheaf of papers with a typed question–“Why I Blog”–and answers scrawled in multi-colored Sharpies: “To learn, for fun, to help our community” (Trevor Greene of HoCo Politico) and “Catharsis” (Wendy Loraine of Life’s Little Comedies) and “So I don’t have to wear long pants to work” (David Hobby, my husband and founder of Strobist).

I wrote, “It forces me to write.” And it’s true. There are so many things that take me away from writing: laundry, paying jobs, kids, car pools, yard work, Mad Men, yoga. But in a recently taped edition of The Writing Life, HoCoPoLitSo’s writer-to-writer talk show, guest poet Martín Espada had some advice for writers. “It’s so simple it sounds idiotic. Write. Writers do everything else. We are in a state of perpetual distraction.”

So, it’s simple. Just write. And sometimes party.

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2 thoughts on “Bloggers Gather for Self-Reflection

  1. Thanks for the write-up, Susan, and for including the party in the site’s Featured Event section. Our staff learned a lot from talking with bloggers and readers that should help guide our engagement projects going forward. Missed the lizard story, though. Did it find its way home? If you’re interested, we have high(er)-resolution versions or your and your husband’s “Why I blog” photos to use however you like. Just email me at searley(at)baltsun(dot)com.

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