Monday, November 16, 2009

What the COG Means to Me, The Writer

I like a challenge. I like research challenges and I like writing challenges. The Carnival of Genealogy provides me with the opportunity to take on both challenges. And I get to do it twice a month :-)

As a writer, I like to craft a story, write a persuasive argument, present a researched topic proving or disproving a theory, spin a tale, wax poetic, pen an essay, and even write song lyrics on occasion. I can do all those things in the COG. It gives me a chance to stretch my wings and get creative.

I strive to write better and I'm driven by passion. I want to rise to the challenge! I want to record my family history and I want to do it in style, a nice style. The COG helps me do that. I always enjoy writing on the topics I pick for each edition, but I've probably been most challenged to write on the topics that my guest hosts have chosen. The military/war themes are the hardest for me to write about. I don't have a strong history of military service in my family which makes it difficult for me to find individuals to write about. But I do it.

The thing I most appreciate about the COG is the friends I have made along the way. I feel a bond, a camaraderie with my fellow participants. I learn from their comments and by their examples, not just about writing, but about life. It makes the whole online experience so much richer when you have friends you truly feel connected to. My life is richer, for all those I have met via the COG. It's been very rewarding.

The COG has benefited me in other ways too. It brought more traffic to my blog, helped me "find my voice", introduced me to many, many wonderful genealogy writers, taught me a great deal about genealogy research sources that I have never had reason to use, ...and it gave me deadlines! LOL! Where would we be without deadlines to make us get things done?

I have to share with you a list of some my favorite editions of the COG. I have many "favorites" but here are just a few...
  • #21 Funny, Foolish, Family - Any time I need a good belly laugh I re-read this edition of the COG. It is funny from start to finish. I enjoyed writing my mom's story about her "First Time Driving" a car but the other articles in this edition are even better. It's a hoot!
  • #31 Halloween and the Supernatural - This collection of articles would make a fantastic book! Reading this edition will make you laugh, make you cry, creep you out, and make you pause and reflect. You should make reading this edition an annual Halloween tradition! I wrote, "I Prefer a Happy Not a Haunted Halloween".
  • #45 Cars as Stars of our Family History - Another classic! And to think that I hemmed and hawed for months before deciding to go with this topic. I should have done it sooner (and probably again)! Great cars, wonderful memories, a real delight to read. I wrote about my first car, "It was an Ugly Car!"
  • #47 A Place Called Home - This was a very popular edition and with it we traveled around the world to famous places, remote villages, and everywhere in between. We each got to write about the home town of our ancestors and we did it very well. This edition, maybe more than any other, showed off our research skills. I amazed myself with how much information I was able to come up with about the tiny village in Poland where my Lipa family came from, "A Place Called Home, Bobrowa, Poland".
  • #61 Traditions - This is the stuff that makes our family histories rich. These articles took me inside the homes and lives of the participant's families and made me feel a part of their heritage. Wonderful, wonderful, read. I wrote, "Wigilia, A Polish Tradition".
Besides these, I've also really enjoyed the editions about women's history (#20, #24, #44, #48, #68, #72) and the swimsuit editions (#49, #74) but I can't choose a favorite among them.

I have written for all 83 previous editions of the Carnival of Genealogy. I look forward to many more to come. I hope you will join me!