Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Reverb 10, Day 7: Community

Over the month of December, I am taking part in Reverb 10, and the daily prompt for yesterday from Cali Harris is this:
Community.
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
When I quit drinking in August, I walked away from the majority of my social life. It was a tremendous relief while at the same time being completely unmooring. Where I had become accustomed to being drunk and surrounded by rowdies several times a week, now I suddenly found myself thrust into a much quieter life. I almost never went out unless you count trips to Shoppers Drug Mart as going out. Aside from my part-time work outside the apartment, the Palinode became one of the only people with whom I had regular conversation.

Because I so abruptly cut myself off from what social life I had, I thought that it would be loneliness that would crumble my resolve to remain sober, but the loneliness has yet to show up. Initially, this surprised me, because who wouldn't be lonely after dumping an entire life, but when I really took a look at the community with which I have surrounded myself outside my alcoholism, I realized that I have always been less alone than I thought.

From the first day that I made my alcoholism public, dozens of other people put up their hand through comments, e-mails, twitter, and facebook to tell me that they stood with me as allies. Encouragement poured in through StumbleUpon and Google searches. Honesty about myself revealed a network of support that I never could have fathomed while hiding under a blanket of Alexander Keiths.

And then this Reverb 10 prompt came along and made me look even deeper at where I have discovered community this year, and, WOW, I realize that I have been busy creating it all around me. My Grace in Small Things social network has blossomed into such a warm, positive place over the last couple of years, and that good feeling managed to stick it out even during its recent population explosion after being mentioned in Woman's Day magazine, which I think speaks to the strength of its simple mission.

As the Canadian Weblog Awards, my personal vision for a more meaningful celebration of blogging, are drawing toward the end of their first year, I am thrilled with how the Canadian blogging community has received my efforts and rallied to support them by evangelizing the cause, following their progress, and volunteering their time and expertise to make them all that they are. I am humbled by what I have found in the Canadian blogging community, and I can't wait to see what the second year holds for us.

I also found community at two conferences far afield from my hometown of Regina at BlogHer '10 in New York and BlissDom Canada '10 in Toronto. I was able to connect not only as fellow bloggers but as true friends with people who were once little more than screen names and tiny avatars. I would freak out my mother and fly across the continent to see people I met on the internet now, and know that I was right to do so, because so many people on the internet are kick ass.

We are real, our goals are real, and blogging's grown up. My belief in our power here and the insane amount of creativity running rampant through these tubes has been affirmed, and now you'll never get rid of me. Ever. I love you. Stop looking over your shoulder. IM IN UR TUBES.

In 2010, I discovered exactly how absolutely established and wonderful my communities are. Just when I most thought I would wither – WITHER! – from loneliness, I found that you were all around me, and it has brought me through some of my darkest times. Thank you.

As far as 2011 is concerned, I plan on continuing to grow the Canadian Weblog Awards, foster Grace in Small Things, stay sober with a little help from hundreds of friends, and maybe, just maybe, I'll get out of this apartment a little more. In the spring. When it's not cold enough out there to freeze a wet cat.

This Is What 6:24 p.m. Looks Like In Saskatchewan At This Time of Year

Me at Aiming Low: One Person's Fries From Yesterday Are Another's Delicious Breakfast Today