When I was 11 years old, I received a letter in the mail from my cousin. That was a really big occasion for me for two reasons. Firstly, I’d never received a letter before. And secondly, because my cousin lived on the opposite side of the country, and I only saw her once every 2 years. So, at age 11, I’d only met her 5 times. And at least 2 of them, I didn’t even remember.
But I do remember the thrill of getting a letter in the post with my name on it. I took the envelope into my bedroom, and just stared at it for ages. I didn’t want to open it, because then the thrill of just having it would be somehow lessened. (I was an odd kid, okay?) Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I carefully tore open the top and pulled out the letter inside.
This is a chain letter. You need to write 10 copies of this letter and send each one to a friend. This will bring you good luck.
Blah blah blah.
Don’t break the chain, or…
Add your name to the bottom of this list, and send a postcard to the name on the top. Within three weeks, you’ll receive XX postcards from all around the world.
This was slightly less exciting than a real letter, but I didn’t want to break the chain. So I dutifully hand-wrote 10 copies of the letter, came up with 10 people to post them to, bought a postcard for the top name on the list, and sent everything away.
Surprise ending: I didn’t get any good luck. Nor did I get any postcards from around the world. Or anywhere else. And I made a vow that I would never again perpetuate a chain letter.
I’ve remained good to that vow for the last 33 years, whether they’ve arrived in written format or (these days) email. But what I hadn’t counted on was that the dreaded chain letter had infected the Blogosphere. (Yes, I capitalise Blogosphere. It feel like a real place, so it gets its own capital letter.) But the advantage of a blog-based chain letter is that you don’t need the threats like “the last person who broke the chain found their best friend dead” or “the last person who broke the chain went bankrupt”. No, the instigators of the blog-chain-letter have learned the lesson that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Want someone to continue a blog-based chain letter? Promise them additional traffic on their blog! Ooooooh…. it’s like the holy grail of blogdom. So the implied threat is: if you don’t forward this chain letter, no one will know who you are. Worst. Nightmare. Ever.
Despite my dual-decade vendetta against chain letters, I found myself feeling quite chuffed when Laura Stanfill awarded me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. “Wow,” I thought. “They like me! They really like me!” Since I’ve only been blogging for about 7 weeks, this felt like a huge honour. It took me a couple of days for it to actually click that this style of Award is the new-and-improved-chain-letter.
Now, I’d just like to say here, that I am actually incredibly grateful to Laura for her forwarding the award to me. I believe that she did so because she really does like reading my blog. (At least, I hope so!) But I now find myself in a conundrum. Do I forward the blog-chain, thus breaking my “never again” vow? Or do I dismiss the chain, and thus potentially offend a talented and inspiring writer who forwarded it to me with the best of intentions?
I’ve decided to do a bit of both.
So, without further ado, let me announce that Laura Stanfill has kindly awarded me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. The rules of this blog-chain are as follows:
- Thank and link the person who nominated you. Thank you, Laura. I really do appreciate it.
- Share (7) random facts about yourself. I’m not going to do this. You’ve probably learned everything about me that you ever really know just by reading this post. And if you want more, please read my blog!
- Pass along the award to 15 buddies. I’m not going to do this, either. What I will do is list some of my favourite blogs below, and encourage you to visit them.
- Contact these buddies and congratulate them. I think I’ll let them be surprised by the additional traffic to their blog.
My Favourite Blogs
Laura Stanfill: Laura is a writer in Portland, and her blog includes interviews with other writers, inspirational articles about writing, and great community-building posts.
Dreaming Awake: Emerald Barnes blogs about writing, and includes interviews with other authors.
The Exasperated Novelist: Jody Moller’s blog about her journey through writing.
Max Barry: Max is the author of the novels Syrup (the movie is currently in pre-production), Jennifer Government, and Company. His blog is full of hilarious opinions on writing, technology, and anything else that takes his fancy.
The Word: This is the blog of Alan Baxter, author of RealmShift. He writes about a number of topics, including writing, Australian writing events and authors, and film.
Kristen Lamb’s Blog: Kristen is a best-selling author of a number of books, including ones about how to maximise your social marketing presence. She has invaluable information about making it as a professional writer, but she talks about aspects other than just the writing.
Write it Sideways: Writing advice from a fresh perspective.
The Surfing Pizza: A great blog about 80s memorabilia and general geekiness.
Confessions of a Serial Swooper: A great blog about being a mother, a wife, and a professional woman. Alternately hilariously funny and touchingly poignant.
Twinisms: A fabulous blog written by a mother who is fortunate(?) enough to have been blessed with 2 sets of twins, 10 years apart. He views on life, children, and family are hilarious, and easy to relate to.