I’ve noticed that there has been a fair amount of discussion on the site recently about "The Way Lit Works" and the relative merits and demerits thereof, particularly in regards to posting, commenting, replying to comments, etc. I’m sure this is nothing new. Much of this current debate seems to have popped up more or less spontaneously in the middle of comment threads, whether or not the original post has anything to do with the subject or not. I thought it might be prudent to put in my one cent’s worth (year-end closeout price!) in an independent post, if indeed it could be judged prudent to touch the subject at all. Consider this a feeble attempt to confine the food fight to one room.
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Admittedly, I participated in one of these earlier exchanges when I posed the age-old question, "What does a chick have to do to get a comment around here?" I then posited a few half-a**ed theories of my own, inspired by my own ignorance and impatience to see response to my very first post.
I obviously spoke too soon. If the chair will permit, I’d like to revise and extend my remarks.
There’s no way I can be sure exactly what may have triggered it. It may have been taking the advice of an older (longer-term) and wiser member to move my post from Blogs to Short Stories. It may have been posting an in-your-face, slap-ya-around smart-a**ed (This IS the correct spelling of "a**", isn’t it?) first attempt at poetry. It may even have been as simple as putting up a few strategically-placed comments of my own, but I was very soon overwhelmed with thoughtful, useful, and even enthusiastic reaction to my writing.
What I found most overwhelming was not the volume or the positive nature of the response, although I was pleasantly surprised and flattered by that. I was overwhelmed by my own internal reaction to the response! I immediately wanted to gratefully acknowledge each comment. I hope that’s not considered bad form: I realized replying to comments bumps up my "comment count" (Are we keeping score?) and keeps my name visible in the "Comments" section of the front page. However, it seemed rude to have asked for recognition and then fail to let my commenters know that I WAS paying attention to what they had to say. I also liked the idea that something I’d written might spark dialogue with intelligent, creative people.
Furthermore, I found I wanted to "pay it back" AND "pay it forward." I wanted to read the work of my commenters and, if I felt moved and qualified to do so, comment upon their writing. I also wanted to pass along my good fortune by making a point of reading "Lonely Posts" and providing such feedback as I could at this early stage in my writing life.
Finally, of course, my mind started racing with ideas for more posts. When the comments on my first three pieces naturally subsided, I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. I figured that a whole bunch of other writers had since posted new works that were certainly as good or better than my own. I took that as the cue that it was time for me to start writing again. I’ve started my next story. You have been warned.
Please consider this my somewhat belated – and characteristically long-winded – way of saying "Thank you!" for the warm welcome I’ve received here at Lit.org. I look forward to reading and writing so much more! Too bad my year-end vacation has just ended and I had to go back to the ol’ day job yesterday. That may (mercifully) slow my posting pace, but I sincerely hope that I can keep the momentum going and continue to more actively participate in this fascinating, maddening, inspiring community.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx