Monday, January 4, 2010

Torches!

“It is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual and moral benefits to the athlete and inspiration to those lucky enough to witness the athletic dedication.”
-- Herb Elliott


“We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.”
-- Ben Sweetland


The Olympic Torch relay came through my city last weekend. It was a chilly -25 degrees Celsius, but nothing can stop the torch. Everyone just threw on a pair of long johns and out we went.

Great experience. We were lucky with our spot along the route. They switched torch bearers right in front of us, so we got to see the flame up close and personal! Very, very cool!

Total strangers laughed, hugged and cheered together, proving the Olympic Spirit is also alive and well. There's nothing quite like the Olympics to give the spirit a boost.

I love the way people cheer for people -- regardless of race, creed, gender or any other qualifying factor. The Olympics is often more about effort and perservence than winning. So many stories can bring a tear to your eye.

I love the ideals of the Olympics: people doing their best together. Slightly paraphrased, but you know what I mean. It certainly isn't always perfect in reality, but the ideals are incredible. In some sappy way this reminds me of the online writing community.

Over and over and over again the writers I meet online amaze me. Whether it's help with a technical issue, advice on how to tackle a plot problem, a unique perspective on how people write, an honest critique, or a much needed boost to the spirit, the online writing community is there. People helping and supporting people - regardless of any qualifying factors :)

Through blogs, Twitter and writing sites, I've come to know and appreciate so many wonderful people. Inspiration and support at every turn. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your help, advice and support.

Sappy speech over :)

Do you find inspiration in the spirit of the Olympics? Or the magnificient folks you've met online? (Please tell me it's not just me!!)

57 comments:

  1. I'm there with you on both counts, Jemi. I've loved the real time support of mystery writers, but when I jumped into blogging mid-2009, I found an amazing world of supportive e-friends. I love it.

    I've been watching the Olympics on television for many years -- I can remember how awed I was by the Russian skaters way, way back. And an American on the podium always brings tears to my eyes. Winter Olympics are my favorite, so am looking forward to February.

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  2. Patricia - yay! I'm not alone :)

    As a Canadian I think I'm brought up to love the winter Olympics - so many awesome sports!! Can't wait!

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  3. The Olympics do seem to bring people together in a good way.

    I agree completely about the online friendship. I've been blown away by the support and encouragement I have received since I began blogging 2 months ago. Before I started I wouldn't have believed people (complete strangers) would be this nice. Rather than being all about "me," each blogger seems to embrace others. This seems to be especially true of established authors helping others who want to write. It's awesome! You're not alone.

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  4. Mason - I wonder if other communities have this characteristic as well, or if it's unique to writers. I hope not. :)

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  5. Jemi, you are the embodiment of the Olympic Spirit!

    The Olympic motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius" which is Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger." I've never "met" anyone online who was quicker to encourage, who reaches for higher goals, or who forges a stronger sense of community among writers, than you.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

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  6. Jenny - You're such a sweetie - thank you!!

    I love the Olympics - can't wait until they begin :)

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  7. I agree with you on both. The Olympics are always on in our house. And I am constantly amazed at the people who come to my blog, leave comments, answer my questions, offer advice, and invite me over to their blogs.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  8. Helen - Me too! I'm competely flummoxed by the amount of people who stop by to comment and converse - amazing!

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  9. That is SO cool!!! I love the Olympics and am SO happy for you to have gotten to witness the live running of the torch!!

    And you're 100% correct about the amazing online community here... blogs and twitter... I've met all of my CPs online through the two different writing areas. The warmth and willingness to share craft secrets of almost everyone I've "met" has just absolutely blown me away! It's wonderful and I feel so sad for writers who are struggling to make it as much as most of us are and aren't aware of this awesome group of supporters!!

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  10. I'm with you. The connection between some online bloggers has literally blown me away. So many great people out there. I never would have believed it had I not dived in head first.

    As for the Olympic games (winter being my favorite) like you said, it isn't about race, creed or background. It's about looking past all that, which in my view is immaterial. It does not matter to me what the colour of someones skin is or to whom they worship.

    Shame we have wars over just that. Perhaps the human race may grow up one day?

    Excellent post Jemi :)

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  11. I agree completely. The online writing community is an anchor in this turbulent writing life. The support and encouragement from fellow writers is so important.

    Nice post, Jemi. :)

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  12. I'm not into sports in the least, but I do enjoy the Olympics. Anything from ancient Greece can't be that bad, right? :)

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  13. Online writers' communities = awesomeness. That's all.

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  14. Lovely post, Jemi. What a thrill to see the Olympic Torch! That the spirit of the Olympics continues to thrive should give us all hope. It embodies the best of who and what we are as human beings.

    And yes, what a privilege it is to be a part of the online community! Not only meeting others who share a love of writing, but the encouragement, inspiration and support to be found here never ceases to amaze me.

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  15. It's not just you, Jemi. In fact, I did a post very similar to this one a while back. I marvel daily at the strength of the relationships we are able to forge in this online environment. I feel downright attached to many of our blogging friends! At this point, I can't remember how I survived the writing journey without all of you. :)

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  16. I've always loved the Olympics--people from everywhere coming together to show their best. And, you are right, I feel incredible support and friendship with writers I've met online and never seen face-to-face. It gives me hope for the world to know there are so many wonderful people reaching out.

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  17. I'm in love with the idea of the Olympics and the history that connects the competitors over the centuries. The ideal is always something that excites me.

    Connecting with people around the world through what I write creates a different feeling. First, I like the safety and anonymity, but I also crave the personal exchange. I've been so fortunate to have both this past year. I've met writers online and later met them in person and developed friendships. I hope 2010 lets me do more of the same.

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  18. You are not alone. I'm Jamaican and I root for the 'bobsled team' and weep/rejoiced when Usain Bolt ran in the summer games.
    Have great week,
    Simone

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  19. I agree on both accounts. There is something unique about the Olympics. I don't know a single athlete over there but I know them all. I yell at my politicians all year long, but I root for my country during those days. (I always root for my country.)

    And on here, we rally each other so much! Great analogy.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  20. Great point Sara! I can't even imagine what kind of mistakes I would still be making if I hadn't found these communities! I too found my crit partners online and they're worth their weight in gold!

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  21. Thanks Wendy - I think there is hope for us humans :) The kids I teach are amazingly non-racist. They accept each other willingly. I have students from 8 different cultures in my class this year and it's fun to see how they value each others' backgrounds.

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  22. TK - what a lovely description :) Very visual and very true!! Thanks.

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  23. Stephanie - LOL :) You're right - the Greeks certainly know what they're doing! :)

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  24. Simon - honest, clear and concise as always :)

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  25. VR - you're so right - the folks I've met onliine are truly wonderful :)

    And the torch really was amazing - gave me chills!

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  26. Shannon - I agree. I feel like I "know" so many people I've met online. It's so very cool to have friends in so many places!

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  27. Tricia - yes! I think both situations are examples of how the world is moving forward. We have enough examples of the opposite - it's nice to know there's so much hope as well.

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  28. Sliding - I haven't met any of my online friends in the "real" world yet - but I hold out hope that will change one day!

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  29. Simone - both of those stories give me such a chill as well! I can't wait to see how Usaine Bolt will develop as an athlete. As a sprinter he should have years to get even better - if that's possible!

    And the Jamaican bobsled team is one of the best stories ever!!

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  30. Michele - thanks :)

    I root for my country too! The Olympics can really pull a country together. Up here in Canada we have these fabulous Olympic mitts. They've become such a hot commodity, the stores sell out within hours of getting a shipment. :)

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  31. Lovely post Jemi and I completely agree with you the Olympics are inspiring and I love them! And I'm constantly amazed by the wonderful people I meet online. My online friends made a really difference when I moved countries too. It's nice that you they can move with you :)

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  32. I remember when the Olympics came to SLC. What an amazing spirit. And yes, the same type of feeling exists online with the writers I've "met." It's not just you!!

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  33. Post a picture of the mittens!
    My 5-year-old nephew waited to see the torch pass. It was a cold and rainy day, and my sister had hyped it up. When it passed he was ticked, "I waited for that?!" Ah, a 5-year-old, I would've been thrilled to see it.

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  34. Oh yeah, I get to cheer for 2 countries, being a Canadian in the US.

    Go Canada! :) I haven't heard about the hockey team, but I hope they do well.

    Go USA!

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  35. Alexa - I never thought of that - makes moving a little less traumatic or difficult - at least a chunk of your friends go with you :)

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  36. Elana - it's so nice having so many of us feel the same way! Can't wait to hear all of the cheering :)

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  37. Carolyn - LOL :) I guess 5 year olds are a little young to understand the whole symbolism!!

    If I can figure out how to post a photo, I'll post the mitts!

    We usually cheer for our US neighbours as well, but you have a really good reason to cheer for 2 countries - awesome :)

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  38. Hmmm, you know, I don't really watch the Olympics, thought I embrace the spirit of it. But how cool that it came through your city???? Fantastic! By the way, I LOVED your speech. Very inspiratonal. And I agree...love the encouragement that I've received from other writers online.

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  39. Thanks Carol :) I tend to get carried away at times!

    Writers rock!!

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  40. I recall the first year they did the torch run. The Olympics were in LA, and for our annual summer visit, my parents had decided they would spend more time at their condo at a small community outside of Lake Elsinore (which isn't very big itself) because they assumed LA would be jammed with tourists. Anyway, my son was watching tv, and he said the torch was going to pass through a nearby town, which surprised the heck out of us, but we all went down to watch, and it was so inspiring that went to the next exchange point so we could see it again.

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  41. Jemi, I couldn't imagine writing without my cyber buddies. The online writing community is incredible and inspiring.

    We pass the torch everytime we comment to a post, send an encouraging word or just support other writers by reading their works. In a way, we are mini-olympians.

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  42. Terry - awesome story :) It's such an inspiration - but it probably does turn the city into a nightmarish place to be!

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  43. Cat - me either! I love the idea of us being mini-olympians - what a great analogy :)

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  44. I used to like the Olympics better when there was less politics and commercialism involved, but they are still pretty cool (and the Winter Olympics downright cold I guess).

    This online writing community is great. Coming back to writing like I used to do back in the 70's is really exciting. Back then it was hard to find others to listen to what you had to say and cheer you on. My college professors were reading and commenting, but I don't think most of them would have been doing it if they hadn't been getting paid to do so. The support and interaction of the online writing community is really encouraging and I appreciate it a great deal.

    Lee

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  45. I'm inspired by 2012 - can't say it is fever-pitched here yet but it the progress of the infra-structure gets a lot of news-time.
    The most inspirational thing out there at the moment are the writers, near and far, whose journeys I am sharing and who have been walking mine with me. :)

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  46. I totally agree Lee - we are stronger writers because of each other. I love the camaraderie!!

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  47. Elaine - will you be attending any of the London Olympics? Are you close?

    We too far away to attend the Vancouver ones. Plus not enough money. Tickets are incredibly expensive!

    Yes - the writers are so inspirational. I love it :)

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  48. Oh, you got so many wonderful comments there, that I don't know what else to add, besides that I'm truly grateful to having me wonderful people like you (and writers too) this last year! :D

    And cheers to the Olympics! (too bad it's so expensive!)

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  49. Mari - you're right - so many writers with great comments have dropped by!

    Writers really are amazingly supportive folks.

    Hmmm.... maybe I should do a wordle of this page and see how many times amazing has shown up :)

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  50. You are one popular lady Jemi! Not sure if you've already recieved one, but I gave you the Honest Scrap Award at my blog!

    http://chasingemptypavements.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-first-awardsqueeeee.html

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  51. Thank you - you're a sweetie! I appreciate the kind thought :)

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  52. I've never seen the Olympic Torch, but that would be one of the highlights of my life. We did have an Olypmic Event in my town when L.A. hosted the Olympics. It was the bicycle race. Some pretty gnarly hills they had to climb. Most regular folk like myself could not ride the route they did in its entirety.

    Stephen Tremp

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  53. THE OLYMPICS!!!! It's coming through here the day before the opening ceremonies. Every paper is doing countdowns. Banners are going up along Vancouver's main streets. The Olympic rings are in the inner harbour and light up every night.

    It's so exciting I can't stand it. I'm so glad you saw the torch. It's nice to know the rest of the country is getting into it. I think it hits the BC border about a week. This province is going to go wild.

    Elspeth

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  54. I too love the Olympics, especially the winter Olympics. I would have loved to be there with you, what a marvelous experience. My sister lives in Victoria, I'll have to see if she's got plans to take a ferry over.

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  55. Stephen - Athletes amaze me with their skills and perseverance! We love sports in our house, and have all participated in a variety of them, but can't even imagine the dedication required to reach these levels :)

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  56. Elspeth - you are so lucky to be so close. I bet the excitement is almost palpable :) We'll be watching as many moments as we can!

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  57. Elizabeth - I imagine the ferries will be running overtime for those weeks! Traffic will be a nightmare, but it would be well worth it to be a part of the experience :)

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