Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Blog

On October 20, 2005, I posted my first entry on my new blog The Written Nerd (a name I had tentatively floated to the ALP a few days earlier and been encouraged by his laughter). The post was called My Overenthusiasm.

I'd been feeling a little isolated in my book nerdishness at the bookstore where I then worked, where folks didn't seem to share my enthusiasm for the work. I'd been inspired by Robert Gray's Fresh Eyes; I sent myself an email with his URL and the text "Think about doing this yourself." I wasted a lot of work hours reading Jessa Crispin's Bookslut (yep, she's an inspiration too in some ways), and I was getting excited about the possibilities of talking about books on the web.

A week or two after my first post, I sent my new blog address to almost my entire email list. That list included NAIBA Executive Secretary Eileen Dengler, who sent it to the entire NAIBA listserve, which is certainly how people in the industry started to hear about it.

In the whole year since then, I've been encouraged and inspired and challenged by your comments. I've been flattered and invigorated by hearing from people who read the blog at conferences and trade shows and in my own bookstore, and I've made more than one virtual friend who turned into a real one. Opportunities have arisen that would never have occurred without this exposure. And I've developed my own ideas about independent bookstores and what I want to do in this world.

James Frey, J. T. LeRoy, and Opal Mehta scandalized us. Orhan Pamuk was arrested, then won the Nobel. David Mitchell, Mark Binelli, Richard Powers, Sam Savage, Brian K. Vaughan, and dozens of others made us remember why we read. I've moved to a new bookstore (where there's lots of enthusiasm) and joined the NAIBA Board of Directors. Emerging Leaders has, well, emerged. I've discovered Bookdwarf, Bookseller Chick, Conversational Reading, Ed Rants, and dozens of other tantalizing litblogs. I've joined the Litblog Co-Op and had my own standards of reading and writing and supporting underdogs raised. We've debated the degree of independence that being an independent really means, and how we can effectively work together. I've learned, and thought, and written a heck of a lot more than I did in the year before.

So, this is one of those birthdays where everyone else gets presents, even if it's just a big old cyber THANK YOU. I really just want to say thanks to everyone who's read, commented, excerpted, linked, talked, and emailed in the last year. Despite my desire to talk, I probably would have quit long ago if I hadn't felt that you were listening, and talking back. You're my community, and you rock.

Not everything has changed -- I'm still pressed for time, running off to my paying job and tearing myself away from this most addictive and productive of free-time hobbies. Hope you're all enjoying the Halloween season this time around. Thanks so much again for your support. Happy reading!