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The Wisdom of the Community

March 6, 2010

You’d think I know better now never to write something for public eyes after a rejection, but here I am again fresh off another one with a quick spattering of my brain and what’s been going through it.  Here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Weekly Wrap.

  • So I entered this writing competition over at Editor Unleashed with the topic “why I write” which was appropriately called Why I Write.  It took me a few days back in November 2009 to write, but according to the final results, posted yesterday, I didn’t win, and didn’t even place in the Top 50.  Even worse, on closer inspection, my essay — called “Why I Write (Also, Why I Poop)” — was also one of the lowest rated essays in the entire competition, finishing with a paltry 2.74 out of a possible 5 stars.  Jeez Louise!  Also the moderator of the contest says: “Note that [the top 50] winners align with the popular ranking—I’m becoming more and more convinced of the wisdom of the community.”  The wisdom of the community, huh?  Do I need to tell you what I think about the wisdom of the community?
  • Wait, before I answer that: have you been reading the blog?
  • In any case, I think it’s interesting that we spent all of the 1960s and beyond desegregating America only to get to a point in the new millennium where success and wisdom are the domain of “online communities”, or whatever the catchy social networking term is.  Seriously, grouping is synonymous with the internet.  It’s the de facto way to do business these days.  I don’t know about you, but I get queasy when I think about the other side of what this means.  Based on obvious historical and current examples, community wisdom is not the kind of wisdom I want.
  • I say it all the time: If you do what everyone else does, you get what everyone else gets.  I make it a habit of not doing that, so at writing competitions I purposefully draw a line and then proceed to lyrically flirt with it.  I haven’t been very successful but am I supposed to be true to me, or true to the community?  It’s a little of both, I think, because wisdom comes from both places.  It has to, doesn’t it?
  • By the way, the winner of the competition — excellent piece, excellent writing.  I knew when I was reading it that he would be the winner… but that’s not right exactly.  I knew when I was reading it that it was just the kind of piece people in that community would vote for.  Big difference in my mind.  It doesn’t mean I failed.  It does mean that it’s time to go back to the the recycling bin.  Or maybe I can just give the community what it wants and we can all be happy.
  • Right?  Right?
  • In the immortal words of LL Cool J:  “Nah,  I don’t think so.”

And that’s the Weekly Wrap.

Next Vista: Wednesday, March 10, 2010.  But this is one of the few weeks last year when I didn’t write a Vista entry.  I guess that means 2 Weekly Wraps for the price of one next week.  Lucky you!


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