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I discovered a whole new beautiful world when I began blogging four months ago.

Until then I’d only read “professional” blogs attached to commercial websites, written by people promoting their area of expertise.

I began creating my blog for similar purposes, because everything I read said aspiring authors must have a platform and that included writing a blog.

I’m not so sure that’s true anymore, and even if it is, it’s beside the point.  That’s not why I write now.  I’ve dipped my toes into something hugely exciting and invigorating and discovered I enjoy swimming in these waters.

I’ve found that blogging is a highly intimate and creative outlet. It allows people to play around with creative forms and artistic visions in a public way, to elicit responses and respond in kind, to engage in intimate yet public conversations.  It has become, or has the capacity to become, an art form in itself, I believe.  I’ll be writing more on this topic later, but for now, my focus is on the people who blog.

Recently I was honored to be nominated for the Liebster Blog Award, which recognizes up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.

Apparently this award has been around for a long time and its origins are hazy. The word “liebster” is German for dearest, beloved, and lovely, among other synonyms.  It’s a way for bloggers to spread the love around.

Here are the rules of the award as I’ve come to understand them:

1)      Nominate 5 blogs with 200 or fewer followers for the award.

2)      Let the nominees know by leaving a message at their site.

3)      Thank the one who nominated you and link back to his/her site.

4)      Answer a set of questions posed by the nominator on your blog.

5)      Pose a new set of questions for the ones you nominate.

6)      When all this is done, post the image of the award on your blog.

Receiving this award gives me the opportunity to do something I’ve long wanted—to acknowledge and honor my fellow bloggers and followers.

First, I’d like to thank Maggie Fleming who nominated me for this award.  I “discovered” her blog Write Below the Surface only a few weeks ago.

She has been blogging for only a few short months, but I was blown away by how beautifully she writes both prose and poetry.  She writes the kind of stuff and in the kind of style that I most enjoy reading.  And that is rarer than you might imagine.

In turn, I’d like to nominate the following bloggers for the Liebster Blog Award and tell you why I’m so pleased to promote their work:

Carol Walsh – Flowers, Trees, & Other Such Gifts of Nature.  Carol’s blog celebrates nature through a blend of her own beautiful photographs and the inspiring words she’s gleaned from other gardens to share with her readers.  Her morning posts, like gentle rain, never fail to freshen and nurture my days.

Holly Suzanne – Life In Relation to Art (and Vice Versa).  What I love about Holly’s blog is not only her beautifully rich and resonating artwork, but the way she writes about it, which is equally rich and resonating: what inspired the work, how it was created, and what it means to her. The creative process in its many splendors is in full display here.

Jeremy Nathan Marks – The Sand County. Jeremy is an environmentalist, an animal rights advocate, and a poet.  I can’t say what I admire most about his blog, his essays urging a respectful and compassionate response to nature in its many forms, or his penetrating and poignant poetry.

Cody – Dionysian GENERATOR. Cody’s blog offers an eclectic mix of interesting topics: “Politics, Philosophy, Literature, and the musings of a perpetual student.”  Here’s where I discovered the poetry of Matthew Dickman, heard Allen Ginsberg speak, and listened to music by Tineshe. I never know what to expect next, and that’s what I enjoy most about this blog—being surprised.

Gabriela Blandy – A Sense of Journey.  Gabriela’s writing is a blend of essay, memoir, fiction, and history, and consists of leisurely meanderings through time and space, punctuated by bits of brilliance, such as the titles of her last two posts: “The blank page is like a first kiss” and “When you find yourself in a room with two strangers, having to fake an orgasm, it’s best to leave the country and change your life”.

These nominees will need to visit to my “About” page for the questions I’ve posed, if they wish to accept the award. My answers to Maggie’s questions can be found there as well.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of those who have been following my blog and leaving encouraging comments, as well as those whose blogs I am following, all of whom have been such a great inspiration to me.

As we all know, we cannot exist without each other—-the writers and the readers—-and the endless cycle of inspiration this reciprocity and creative energy generates.

For me, that’s the beauty of blogging.