It has truly been a remarkable ride from what started as a lonely post on a Christmas evening to a gathering of so many blogger friends and acquaintances--many of whom I'd love to meet or with whom I'd love to share a cup of coffee or a Red Stripe.
And it's a community from all over the world! Here are the Top 25!
Some of them are students who needed some more information about my story, "My Brother's Keeper," from The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories. Some have been teachers who've used my poetry rubric, list of Caribbean authors and famous Caribbean Americans.
And some have been constant companions, writers and readers, over this journey of give and take, posting and commenting, teaching and learning.
I have learned about the work of so many writers and poets and I've gained so many new readers who've said to me when we've met in person, "I recognize you from the Internet. I never knew about your work until I read your blog."
But more than anything else, blogging has opened the door for me to receive many invitations to read from my work, publish, speak out against injustices, and to share the poems, short stories, essays and novels of Caribbean and South Florida writers whose work I enjoy. This, in turn, as one of my friends at the Caribbean American Book & Art Fair remarked, has also made me a more confident writer.
And it's good to feel that I am contributing in a positive way to the ideas in Caribbean blogosphere. For if there is one idea that I'd love to reach a critical mass in the consciousness of the Jamaican and Caribbean community, it's what I learned from Rastafari: It is up to InI to create the future that I desire.
I have learned that I cannot wait for anyone to do anything for me. Anything that I want to do, I will have to do it for myself. And if I gain a few more friends along the way, then it's a few more rounds at the bar.
Blogging represents a kind of freedom that I've never experienced before. It's the freedom to publish, to say, to do, to express myself in a medium that doesn't have the constraints of poetry or fiction writing. And if I think I've written a good poem or short story, then I don't have to submit (God, I hate that word!) my work all over the place and wait until a few prescient publishers understand my work. I just publish it here.
Blogging the ultimate form of democracy--which is why the abbreviated forms of blogging such as Twitter have gained such popularity. And coming from a place with people who love to decide who should have a voice and who shouldn't, then you can only imagine the level independence that I feel very time I post.
It's a way of whispering in the dark: I am here. I am alive. Is anyone out there?