April 14, 2010

'Til Net Tuesday

Open Books
Originally uploaded by Karitas
(or, yet another one of those rare glimpses into my personal life that Roger enjoys reading, I hope you do, too).

I have to admit, I miss being a community organizer, or "Sarah Palin's Worst Nightmare".

Which is why I enjoy being a part of Net Tuesday Chicago - it allows me to vicariously engage those not-used-very-much skills, while at the same time hanging with some brilliant, committed, talented people.

(Like the photo you see? Kara, one of my co-organizers, took it. If that doesn't say "talent", I don't know what does).

It was, well, a great lineup - it was held at Open Books, a bookstore that took donations, sold them, and funded literacy programs. The site itself - I could easily live there. Shelves chock full of an eclectic mixture of books; wide, expansive shelves...will definitely make an effort to revisit again in the near future.

Our focus (obviously) was literacy, with not only Open Books presenting, but also with representatives from the Chicago Underground Library (which works with cataloging and archiving small media), and Reading With Pictures (an organization that I would never, ever blog about)...and quite frankly, the results were spectacular. In all honesty, most of my efforts consisted in creating an agenda and inviting one guest - most of the "heavy lifting" was done by several of my co-organizers.

I'm writing this after attending - briefly - another related networking event which (for me) was extremely disappointing. Being harassed with Facebook messages to attend (followed by a slightly snarky post from me, resulting in a half-hearted apology). Getting to the event in a dark, noisy atmosphere, being ignored by waitresses, and pretty much cramped into an uncomfortable space...it just reminded me of why I was - and am - committed to building communities.

There's nothing more exhilarating as the experience of being part of something bigger than myself - something that actually benefits a wide range of people. It's also exciting to be part of a team, worrying less about my own agenda but making sure everyone's agenda fits some common goals. I also enjoy feeling like a peer, and having intelligent, respectful conversations with people who share my values.

In short, community work helps me feel totally human.

And sometimes, I miss it to death.

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