Monday, November 2, 2015

A Luddite Celebrates Internet Day!

Remember the Egyptian Revolution of 2011? For two weeks and three days, the whole world watched as millions of protestors across Tunisia and Egypt demanded reform, ultimately toppling two powerful regimes. While other regional issues certainly followed, it doesn't minimize the enormous change that the internet helped bring about. The people had connected, and used the internet to show the world a new wave of revolution, ending a 31-year state of emergency.

On a much, much, much smaller scale, though just as fervent, the internet has certainly changed my world. I’m a Luddite by nature. I write manuscripts in longhand, use postnotes to organize everything, and write grocery lists on the back of envelopes. I prefer real books to ebooks. And yea, I still use snail mail. Only recently have I let go of my beloved stickshift, a relationship that lasted 200,000 miles. In its place is an automatic complete with all the computerized bells and whistles of modern convenience. This is me, rolling my eyes as I turn on the radio to listen to tried-and-true NPR. Not even the Tardis is this decked out. And this new car isn’t even high end!

Still, once upon a time I had spent hours in the university’s basement archives. Now, all of history is just a click away because of the internet. Remember my discussion on the Library of Congress?

Of course, the most powerful connections have been about people. It's always about the people. And these connections I’ve made by way of the internet have been at the very least life affirming, and at its best, life-saving.

In the two and some decades since I entered the business of writing for children, I’ve met some phenomenal people. Some had been my heroes and have now become close friends. (I’m talking about youuu, Eric Guru!) Some had begun as friends and have now become my heroes. (Thinking of you, Monica!)

And through all the good and the bad, and sometimes the very bad, that comes with the writing business, these connections have made the journey more than just bearable. They’ve made the journey worthwhile. (Always ever grateful, dear Karen!)

I’ve included below some of my favorite connections and favorite people I’ve gathered along the way. This is by no means a complete list. But, in celebrating Internet Day, it's always nice to remember the people on the other end of the wire.

The amazing Emma Dryden, otherwise known as Dumbledore, is a legend in the business, sharing her wisdom on life and writing in her blog, Our Stories, Ourselves.

Award-winning writer and teacher, Marion Dane Bauer is a national treasure. She shares her insights on life and writing on her blog, which includes a special section for educator’s at Educator’s Endnotes.

A mainstay in the business is editor Harold Underdown and his website, Purple Crayon.

Yvonne Ventresca, author of the amazing young adult novel Pandemic, always offers some interesting research and tidbits about a variety of topics.

Joanna Marple, long known for her wonderful explorations of children’s literature at Miss Marple’s Musings, recently went on an inspirational life-affirming cross-country journey, and shared her adventures on her blog.

Brainpickings is a wondrous exploration into all things art and human!

Bruce Black’s blog Wordswimmer meditates on the art of life and writing, using the metaphor of swimming. Calming, serene, wise and inspirational.

Recently I chanced upon Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu at KidLit411, and discovered a treasure trove of all of my favorite writing sources.

A group of ten writers after my own heart share their love of historical fiction, their insights and experiences about the genre on their group blog, Mad about MG History.

Another favorite group blog is From the Mixed Up Files, in which thirty authors write about all things middle-grade. A great resource for teachers, librarians, parents and everyone with a passion for children’s literature.

I could go on, but I don't want to hog the conversation. Who or what are some of your favorite  connections that you've made because of the internet? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Of course, the worse thing about the internet is the ever-so-easy access to online bookstores.  New books just a click away!

O no!! 

~ Bobbi Miller
(p.s. All photos courtesy of morguefile!)


Marion Dane Bauer said...

Thanks for the shout out, Bobbi. You're always close to me, quietly in my heart as well as on the Internet.

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank YOU, dear Marion, for all your inspirations and wisdoms through these many years. Sending you hugs. Always...

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for sharing these resources, Bobbi. You've included several of my favorites as well as some that are new to me!

Rebecca C said...

I'm a Luddite about a lot of things too, but not about the Internet. There are so many connections I've made but two of my biggest are my on-line critique partners who can be found on two different continents and my agent, who I probably never would have connected with if it hadn't been for Twitter. Let's hear it for the Internet and the opportunities it affords to connect with like-minded people!

Monica Kulling said...

Thank you Bobbi for including me in this wonderful line-up of friends and heroes. I'm in awe of your energy and ability, as a writer and teacher. Love, monica

Bobbi Miller said...

Marti: The list is incomplete, of course. I had a difficult time choosing which were my favorites because I have so many favorites. Then, of course, there is Teaching Authors!!

Rebecca: I absolutely agree with everything you said. One of the greater challenges a writer faces (which others have discussed) is finding balance between nurturing the connections and doing the work. I don't think there's an easy answer. But I do know that the connections make the work worthwhile.

Monica: You are my inspiration. Nuf said.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Terrific list of resources, Bobbi--thank you!

Elaine Kiely Kearns said...

Thank you so much for the KidLit411 shout out Bobbi! I agree it's the PEOPLE that make our business!!

Bobbi Miller said...

JoAnn: Thank you for stopping by. We are part of the mutual admiration society that is TA!

Elaine: Thank you for stopping by, and for all the inspiration and resources you gather at Kidlit411!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Bobbi ~ I love your thesis: " It's always about the people." Just reading that brings me back to what's important in this world. Thank you.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Our Luddite hearts speak to one another, Bobbi. :)
But that said, this Internet Thing gives me a FREE education every hour of the day on something. said...

Thanks for sharing the links to these great sites. I love that so much is available. The internet truly makes our lives richer and our friendships grander.

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank U, April! <See what I did there? Thank you for your poetic inspirations!

Esther: I so agree. When used wisely, the internet provides such an education! I tend to think it's not a bad thing to be such a Luddite, because being such maintains perspective. Absolutely!

Marcia: Thank YOU for stopping by! I'm so grateful that we've connected!