Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sound Off

I don't remember the name of the blogger, not to mention how I found her, who turned me on to #reverb10.

I followed her for awhile but, eventually, she fell off the blogosphere and I guess I must have unsubscribed as I can't find her in my subscriptions list anymore. That isn't the point. The point is that, as NaBloPoMo 2010 was wrapping up, I felt on fire for writing and, looking for a new challenge, I signed up for #reverb10 readily without really thinking it through.

I'm not big on prompted writing. Usually I don't lack for things to say - even if it's just random brain dumps where I vomit up all the random thoughts that have been cluttering my mind matter into one neat little package. Of course, that's what most people use Twitter for - a medium for which I've not developed a taste - but, even when it's just miscellaneous crap, I still have a difficult time summing it up in 140 characters or less.

The biggest reason why I don't tend to go for prompted writing though is that I start to feel...claustrophobic, boxed in, defensive. I don't want to feel that way when I write. Even when I know, intellectually, it's good for me to stretch myself.

Regardless, I signed up last year and I successfully completed - occasionally while filled to brimming with resentment - the challenge. All entries are tagged with "#reverb10" if you're interested.

However, even when I was feeling bitter and stretched and suffocated by it, there were a couple of things I ended up fully appreciating about #reverb10. First, it brought to my attention Geekin' Hard, Uncle Typewriter, and Schmutzie. I have faithfully followed these 3 since last year and have not once been disappointed that I took the time to add them to my subscriptions. All but Geekin' Hard have no clue I exist but that wasn't the point. The point is that I found them and have adored them since.

The other thing is that, while I felt resentful for being pulled kicking and screaming from my denial, #reverb10 was the catalyst for causing me to focus in on paying off my longstanding debt - almost $20,000 worth. That is no mere trifle. I've done well. I'll be finished up by the end of next year.

So, as this year's reverb challenge - whatever it might be called - was approaching, I felt ambivalence. There were qualities about it I loved. There were qualities I could most decidedly live without. I had not yet decided if I would accept it when, not if, the invitation to participate arrived.

It never arrived.

On November 29, two days before the challenge was supposed to begin, the original organizer, Gwen Bell, e-mailed the list from last year to let us know she'd moved on from the project and was no longer interested in reverbing. And even though I understand why she let it go, I know there are many people out there who had been looking forward to her 3rd annual challenge and were sorely disappointed (read angry) to be left blowing in the breeze of what was left of 2011.

A number of people - including Geekin' Hard who is actually trying to wrangle all these cats into one place - stepped up to the plate then and decided they'd take matters into their own hands. The result? There are, as near as I can tell, a number of people and groups who have decided to reverb on their own, creating their own prompts and writing about them and then sharing them with the interwebz via Twitter and Tumbler and...I don't know what all other platforms (hell! I don't even remember creating a stumbleupon account).

The consequence is that not everyone is writing about the same prompt - at least, not at the same time.

I'm still ambivalent. I'm still...not wanting to be caged. And yet, I've signed up through Geekin' Hard's website to participate because...I don't even know why.

So here we are tonight. Day 1 of Reverb11 or Resound11 or whatever you'd like to call it...

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word.  Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?  If you did Reverb10 then bonus points for also re-posting your 2011 word from last year along with how you feel about that in retrospect.

In 2010, my word was Adventure.
In some respects, I was adventurous. It was, after all, the year that brought me The Wonder Tower and the American Gods and Roadside Attractions Tour. It was the year that would bring me Batman. It was the year that would bring me to Spux's Nerd Crawl.

It would also be the year that would break my heart again and then again. It would be the year that would find me scrabbling just to hold on - clinging by my fingernails - while the people about me fell to serious illness. It would be the year Lex would find himself largely unemployed. It would also be the year, thanks to a later reverb prompt, to lead me to debt reduction.

2011 didn't feel particularly adventurous looking back on it. 2011 was the year of courage in the face of adversity. It was the year during which I would experience the deepest depression I'd suffered since the winter of 1987...a depression I'm still trying to claw my way out of - just in case you didn't know.

And yet...all of the things I've mentioned - while difficult - were adventures. At least, adventures of a certain kind. I guess I wasn't specific enough. answer to the question...

2011 was the year of adventure. Just not always the kind of adventure I was seeking. That's...I'm just about ready to admit it (but probably not quite yet)...OK, the adventures I had were really adventures - even (especially) when they cut to the bone.

In 2012, my word is...courage.

Courage to write outside my comfort zone.
Courage to hold my head high as I walk down the halls of my office building.
Courage to accept new challenges.
Courage to accept whatever comes my way including, most especially, love, if it finds me.

Why am I all of a sudden tempted to flip 2011 the bird?

PS If any of you are looking for a new writing challenge and want to participate along with me, follow the links I've shared above and don't forget to tweet the links just in case I miss them through my reader. You can find me on Twitter @janeymcjanerson.

EDITED TO ADD: I remembered the blogger! It was Elisa Hebert and she blogged at A Question of Perspective. I still don't remember where or how I found her. But her blog is gone. Deleted...without saying a word *sigh*.


Lucy said...

Oh, I see you had adventures but not all of them were exactly in the way we think of adventures, you know fun or exciting or scary fun, no you had heartbreaking adventures and those we all like to live without! So, ring in the new year with a smile while flipping the old year off!!!!

Good Luck with Courage!

Anonymous said...

GBE-2 posts a topic a week, so a little more flexible. Great group, if you like to join, just click the link on Beth's site.

Anonymous said...

What a cool idea. I'll definitely be thinking about a word for 2011 and one for 2012.

Oh, and thanks to Gene Pool Diva for the shout out! The group really is awesome. We just passed 200 members, and the environment is friendly, supportive, and relaxed. Basically, I post a very general topic every Sunday. Members then blog on it in any way they see fit and drop the URL to their post on the topic thread.

There is never any pressure to blog or to read/comment on other members' blogs, so it really doesn't matter if members feel like skipping a week (or a dozen weeks). It's all good. The URL to the group's Facebook page is:

All are welcome!

alienbody said...

I'm not up for that kind of a challenge, but I am absolutely ready to read yours! :-)

p.s. just commenting on your blog and Melanie's has allowed me to collect 9 *words* for a story. Have you ever noticed how the

alienbody said...

Darn it...cut myself the code word you need to enter to comment sounds like the name of a mythical god?

cdnkaro said...

Good for you, Jane! This sounds really interesting and I will definitely sign up next year:) Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I chose my 2011 and 2012 words and shared them right here.