I have been thinking a lot about community in the past few months. My local community is still suffering from the after effects of a tragedy. Many of my friends are reliving the trauma daily as they work with the NTSB to investigate the accident. Many of my friends are struggling to come to terms with whether they want to continue to work in the same industry. And all of us are working through our grief processing in our own ways and time. I decided to reach out and make a concerted effort at the beginning of February to make a connection with as many of my friends in this community as possible. I could see that 3 months after that life-changing day, we were all starting to feel a bit isolated. I have had several lunch dates, delivered cookies, and helped to organize an evening event for friends to get together and interact. Connections and interaction are what make a community, and I hope my efforts are gentle reminders of the bigger community of support that can be easy to recede from.
I have also been thinking about community in terms of the online quilt blogging community and real life quilting friends. I am very excited to have the opportunity to travel to Austin for QuiltCon in just over a week to help expand and reinforce this community from which I have richly benefited in the past year.
As a child and young adult starting my independent life, I moved a lot. I have lived in 10 states and moved approximately 30 times in my life. For me, family was really the only constant in my life, and I have to admit that the idea of community was not one that I really understood or thought much about until recently. I have had the great pleasure and opportunity to live in my small mountain town for 7 years now. I am learning life skills that others develop naturally: how to have long term friendships and resolve conflict without shying away, withdrawing, or moving away(!!).
In that context, community is starting to mean more and more to me. I am recognizing how much I have benefited from a secure and stable friend and community base, and my recognition is evolving into consciously making choices to help cultivate and develop the feeling of fellowship within the communities that I value.
So, online quilting community, how is the temperature of the water? What do you need to feel fellowship and community? I think that the link up that happen throughout the week are pretty vital to the sense of our community. I really believe commenting on blog posts feeds the community. I am excited to see how QuiltCon and personal interaction influences the sphere. What else is could be done or what might be missing?