Sunday, June 22, 2008


Good news/bad news. Mostly good.

I did NOT get a Netroots Nation scholarship, despite receiving 45 votes and being somewhere in the top 10-15 votegetters (from a field of 30 scholarships awarded).

However, the support I received from ya'll simply blew me away. The things you said about me, the folks who turned out to stump for me -- it was jolting and made me take another assessment of myself. All in the most positive way.

And: I'm still going to Netroots Nation.

How? Because Jesse Wendel and the Robinsons (Sara and Evan) have come forward to pay my way. This includes the conference fee, which was offered a reduced rate by Democracy for America (THANKS, DFA!), rental of a power wheelchair for four days, transportation to and from the conference site, and all my meals. It's a done deal. I'm going.

Which means more than I can ever know, much less express. But I'll try, nonetheless.

When I began my own blog, I became interested on a whole other level in what other bloggers were doing. I became a critical consumer of writing, thinking, and strategy as it is presented on the web. I was looking for people who knew how to express themselves without negativity or denial, who researched and made deep connections, who believed in the goodness of humanity and allowed that to come through even when they were reporting on our worst behavior, and who were capable of addressing multiple (all) issues simultaneously. I wanted to read the thoughts of someone who meant to change the world but not from an ego-driven perspective.

Eventually, I found Orcinus and Sara Robinson. Every time I read one of her essays, I felt bells go off inside my head and I wanted to call all my friends, say "You GOTTA hear this". She invariably took on the fear and distortion present in fundamentalism and this country's Right with calm, intelligent, bold clarity. She wrote and thought better than I did. (I don't suffer from false modesty, just to be frank, here.)

Finally, I wrote her a fan letter. She, in her deliberate way, checked me out and passed on the information to her colleague at Group News Blog, Jesse Wendel, who also began checking me out.

All I can say is, thank g*d I didn't throw up a post about how scared I am of alien abduction or Sasquatch. (Just kidding.) (Kinda.)

At any rate, after a while Jesse came after me. See, Jesse is someone who has put in the time to sort through his male conditioning, deciding what makes sense to retain and what is counter to his best interests. He's figured out that being direct and assuming responsibility are admirable human traits, when scraped clean of self-righteousness, gender myths, and power grabs. It's a relief to be around in any form, male or female.

And I, on my part, have put in the time to sort through my working class conditioning, weeding out my fear of exploitation and distrust of my instincts. So, when he came after me, I said "Sure, let's talk." When a powerful equal approaches you and offers to work in tandem, you have everything to gain by saying yes.

I've had nothing but growth and increasing liking since. Don't underestimate liking; at my age, I think it's the most important outrigger of love, along with respect.

So, these folks are building a bridge from me to who knows what. (In an almost literal since: The route from my apartment to the convention site is almost a straight shot down Congress Avenue across the Ann Richards Bridge, as good a symbol as my poet heart could wish for.)

Please send them your thanks, your energy, your attention. Their writing and works are making an untold difference out there, as well as in my life.

And, heartened by this possibility, this turn of events, I've finally taken the step to add a Pay Pal button to my website. I can now accept donations. I'm not a tax-deductible entity, just needy. If you do make a donation, please tell me who you are and let me thank you directly.

Thanks for reading this far. You'll be hearing a lot more from me about this conference in the coming month. Summer is now officially launched, and so am I.

Love, Maggie


Liza Cowan said...

Wow, Maggie. How wonderful is that? I can't believe they didn't chose you, but that's their mistake, not yours. Obviously.

This is just the kind of opportunity that you will use to the fullest, and the rest of the participants will come away intellectually, politically and maybe even emotionally richer for having you there.

Thank you Jesse and Sarah. I toast you all.

Mags, good idea with the PayPal, too. Now pony up, people!

kat said...

Maggie that's fantastic!

Just when I become convinced that the universe has gone to shit, someone does something kind and generous and thoughtful for someone else.

I can't wait to read about your experiences.