In the grand tradition of “last lectures,” Cathy Day posted a note to her students on the Literary Citizenship blog at the end of her class this semester. It’s not really a final lecture since the class will be taught again for another group of fortunate students; the post is more of a wrap-up of everyone’s accomplishments.
And for me who got to sit in on the class this semester, it was a way to think about who I am in this literary world.
I took the challenge and revised my blog to focus on my literary life, and I invited you to join us on the journey as I learned what it meant to be a good literary citizen. Bottom line:
Be interested in what others are doing.
I was doing that, but not in a visible way. Now I “like” and comment on blogs. Now I follow Facebook pages of literary magazines and authors. Now I link to other people’s blogs. Now I’m finding people on Twitter who are as passionate about editing and proofreading and good grammar as I am. Now I write notes to authors I appreciate and thank them for inspiring me.
I learned to write about my passions. I decided to focus on areas of editing and grammar, with nods to all kinds of other topics (it is my blog after all). It was great to stake out a territory and then look around for folks already there and join them.
I learned some technical things like how to tag and categorize posts (yes, I CAN talk about things other than grammar) and how to better use Twitter. I learned about book reviewing.
And I’m finding my tribe.
As any great teacher will, Cathy challenges her students not to stop now that the class is over. This is about building a literary life, after all. At the end of her post on the Lit Cit blog, she challenged us with a few questions. I encourage you to think about them for yourself, but here are my pledges of citizenship in the literary world:
I pledge to continue to blog on a regular basis and to share with my readers great books, bloggers, articles, and ideas (yes, and even great grammar!). At times, I’ll write about what I’m doing, but that’s not the focus. It’s not all about me (that’s just true on so many levels. Wow . . . wouldn’t our world be a better place if we all adopted that mantra?).
I pledge to write a personal note to someone at least once a week to thank that person for his or her contribution to the literary world.
I pledge to keep finding, following, and connecting with folks in my tribe. And then I’ll talk about them so more people can know them.
I pledge to be continually interested in what other people are doing.
I pledge to talk about literary citizenship whenever and wherever I can. It’s that important.
Have you pledged citizenship?