Last friday, at ConFusion, Catherynne M. Valente made a speech, comparing conventions to small towns, specifically the island off the coast of Maine she lives on. I can't find a direct link, but here's a link to her blog - as of this posting, it's the second post down. Linky-link.
I missed the speech, but it spoke to me.
I've been involved in online communities since 1993. I still hang out on a text-based BBS that has done things like buy groceries for one of us who was undergoing financial difficulties, buy baby supplies for one of us who was pregnant and receiving no help from the father. We've done countless other things - flowers to a member of the community who was in the hospital with HIV-related health problems. I could probably come up with six or seven other examples. We, as a community, regardless of our occasional cattiness, have come together to help our own when it was needed.
And LJ is one of those communities for me. I've met some of my best friends here on LJ. I met my husband here on LJ.
Today, I stumbled across the repost of a post, and _that_ spoke to me. Here's the bit that made me go "YES! That!"
I love you for your stories.
Not the fiction you write - though I'm pretty fond of those tales too ;) - but the daily meanders you live. I love hearing about your cat/s and how the new puppy's getting along with the older, established dog. I love hearing about classes - how excited you are to go to college, how worried you are about returning after your hiatus, how frustrating it is to find the right sources for you dissertations and papers, how glad you'll be to graduate. I love hearing about work, whether it's maddening, boring or awesome. I love hearing about how you dealt with frozen pipes, how the house remodeling is coming along, and where you are in the condo buying process. I love hearing about the kids current social studies project, soccer practice, hockey lessons, cheerleading competitions and how lovely the playground in the park was this morning. Yeah, I love hearing about your trips to Germany and Mexico, but I also love hearing about your weekend visit with your parents, the afternoon trip to the grocery store and how delightful dinner was at that Asian fusion restaurant downtown. I love you -each one of you -for how you're living your own stories and how you share those stories.
And I absolutely love that I get to be a teeny part of it too - I'm here, laughing, cheering, commiserating and praying right along with you. If we all lived in the same neighborhood, these are the pieces of shared narrative we'd be weaving together when we met on the street or paused the mower on the half-shorn lawn. Instead, we have the communal white picket fence of LJ to lean our forearms on. This community is just as tangible as a group of folks sharing housing and on street parking - possibly more so, since we *choose* our community members here.
These words were written by crowgirl13, whom I do not know. The full post can be found right here, and I've copied and linked with her blessing.
So thank you, LJ, for being my Small Town. For being just as much of a community as I find fandom to be.
Happy Valentine's Day. I love you all.