This is a response to Steven D's most excellent "Who Is The Best Writer on Kos?" diary.
I'm blessed with a talent for the English language, and I still at times find people writing here or there who express the most bold, honest and generally right-on sentiments, in the most cluttered up of words.
I like to give them props, and make a point of doing so.
There are a lot of ways to get through to people, with these little fingerpeckings we all do. At my best, I've done good work. At my worst, I've angered people for no good reason (there are good reasons for angering people, and there are bad ones; I've engaged in both at times).
But it was always sort of easy for me to drift into this, because typing and language are skills, knacks for me. I'm lucky that way.
I concur most wholeheartedly that more people should be encouraged to write, and that many are fearful about being exposed, being hurt, being shamed. Many perhaps never learned to type easily, don't have a computer, don't have the money, aren't skilled at language, but are skilled at other things that have different languages, stuff they can tell us about, unique experiences they can share.
Learning to use a computer in the first place was like that for me...lots of fearfulness; what if I break it? This machine, this mysterious object. It took me years to get past worrying about what would happen if I broke it. I'm always worrying I'm going to break machines and anything like machines. It's all scary for me; I have such phobias about these dead constructs, that still always seem so terrifying alive.
I stopped worrying about breaking my computer many years ago. And once I got past those initial phobias, I had at it, and still do, 20 years down the line.
I think it's all kind of a double-edged sword, because it's easy to get too caught up into this, and less involved in the AFK (away from keyboard) world. But at the same time, introverts and weirdos and outliers of varying sorts; and people who can't talk and people who can't hear and people who can't walk and people who are typing with their tongues, everybody, all of these people who have all these problems, can have the world opened up for them to at least some extent, via this medium.
And...that's good. That's really good. Because it's so Democratic, in a most true sense. I love the idea of this blog opening its collective heart to the fearful, the shy, the outliers, the frightened, the abused, the damaged, the lost.
Because I've read so many essays by you folks, that were so great. The little personal things, the heartbreaks, the grief and the joys. The anger and the outrage. I never know, any more than most of us do, just what any of you had to go through to write here for the first time. But every time I see someone write and say "This is my first essay," my heart just breaks for you, and I hope people will be kind.
Making it personal counts. Making it personal matters very, very much; and whenever people trust us enough share with us thusly, it makes us all that much more human, that much more people.
We are a mixed bag here. Some of us are assholes. A few of us are close to being saints. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.
We have good days, we have bad days. Just like you. Overall, though, we're pretty good at talking, if you want to talk, and listening, if you want to write.