I remember so vividly being taken out of my language arts classroom in 6th grade, along with two other girls, to go meet with an education "specialist." The terror of not knowing exactly what this meant ate at the pit of my stomach for the long walk through the hall, down the stairs, and around the corner into the area of the school that I had never seen before.
I was being placed in a small group of "gifted" students. To write. Just for the sake of writing.
Since then, I've never hesitated to call myself a writer. I even tried to make a career in journalism, although TV was out because I talk with my hands flailing and my eyebrows rocket off my forehead when I'm making a point. Since TV where the money is, I landed in marketing instead. I just wrote here and there, whenever I could.
But I always wrote.
Then someone told me about blogging. That was back in October 2005. I put up two posts with the intention of using the blog to stay in touch with friends and family, but other things soon got my attention and I never got back to it.
I had no idea that the seeds of a community had been planted and a forest of citizen journalists was taking over the online world.
By the time I jumped back into blogging in January 2008, that forest was truly enchanted. I became a bloghopper. I voraciously read first person accounts of life all over the planet, written with heart, humor, humility or hubris (or a little bit of all).
When I discovered how to use my Google Reader, I began to feel the same rattling physio-psychological anxiety as a drug addict who is suffering withdrawal when I couldn't spend time to read posts as they came in.
A journalist somewhere figured out that the old rules of unbiased reporting could be thwarted by expressing personal opinion on a blog, and I started reading those, too. The insight to be gained at the keystrokes of a journalist, minus an editor's thumbprint on the top of his or her head, was something to behold.
And, having been a part of "old media" when I wrote for a suburban Chicago newspaper (almost 20 years ago), I've watched the struggle as some outlets have made a transition to on-demand content while others are failing miserably. The turf war going on is fascinating to watch, especially when the two sides rumble.
Like they did here.
The fallout is only beginning.
So, yeah. I'm in. Blogging is the new media, the way people are getting information on their own terms. Free agency at its best.
Blogs are not seedlings that can be stomped on in hopes they'll wither away so the 100-year old oak trees can continue to tower.
Even the oldest and tallest of oak trees eventually die, giving way to new growth as a matter of natural course.