Meetings with Remarkable Hub Authors: Online & Off
Discovering an online community
As the summer drew to a close I came to see it as the season I discovered the HubPages community. Not just HubPages, where I began writing the year before, but the community that I was surprised to find comes along with it.
I got my first inkling of the supportive community on the forums as soon as I joined HubPages, but it wasn’t until the HubPages Cookbook Contest in June 2012 that things really got cooking. The contest was followed by interviews, one of me and two by me. My summer hub interaction peaked with my first real life encounter with another hub author, and culminated when I learned I’d won the 2012 Hubbie vote for Most Awesome Hub.
HubPages Cookbook Contest
The Cookbook Contest gave me an opportunity to let go and have some fun publishing recipes I’d been sharing for years with friends. While I usually hate competition (or is it merely defeat?), I thought the contest would be a good way to get into the swing of “hubbing” more regularly.
Not only did I discover I loved writing and photographing recipes (indeed I’ve just created a second account, Letitialicious, dedicated entirely to food and decor:ating), I found a level of camaraderie among the contestants that was anything but competitive, and on an international scale. Silly as it sounds, I “met” people from around the world I’m convinced I’d be friends with offline if we lived in the same town—or at least the same country—like:
Interview: On the receiving end
After the recipe contest, I was thrilled to be contacted for an interview by HubPages’ fun-loving ambassador Simone Smith. It was really interesting to see what she had gathered of me from the hubs I had published up to that point. When I try to figure me out, I end up always asking the same questions. Here was an opportunity to explore aspects of myself that were pointed out by a perceptive individual in a way that was intended to have meaning for others. Moreover, it was a chance for me to take stock of my experience with HubPages so far and try to define, for myself as well as for readers, why I had joined and what I hoped to gain from it.
Interviews: Passing on the Torch
I then had the chance to interview two other people. Choosing who was a feat of Olympic proportions. Some tempting candidates had already been interviewed and I was grateful to have them eliminated from the get-go from my already lengthy lineup. But so many remained.
At a loss as to how to choose among these hub authors and others and after much deliberating, I went for two birds of a feather whose interests and experience show a certain overlap with mine:
First was Mrs. Menagerie. Whereas I cook for a hobby and have a background in natural history about which I now write, Mrs. Menagerie is a trained journalist turned restaurant professional who rehabilitates wild animals. Not surprisingly, the needle on her hubometer swings from adventurous to mouth-watering. Mrs. Menagerie's interview can now be found in the interview archives.
Second was Summerberrie. Summerberrie is an American of French descent with a background in art history and a passion for ornithology. I'm an American living in France and working on a biography of a French bird painter from centuries gone by. She has an incredible knack for proposing ways to get in touch with nature. Summerberrie's interview can also be found in the archives.
I happily delved into the hubs and biographies of both women to try to come up with questions and draw out answers that, on Simone Smith’s example, hopefully are relevant not only to their personal experience but will resonate with readers as well. I hope you'll find that to be the case.
HubPages Meetup in Paris
In mid-July, after an initial Meetup mixup (Mars was in retrograde…), I met my very first hub author in person: veteran HubPages author and all-around online writing expert, Relache. Relache and I met for lunch in the Tuileries Gardens. She has been writing for HubPages since the site was in Beta, so meeting her would have been a privilege even if she wasn’t the first hub author I met. Indeed, it would have been a privilege to meet her even if she didn’t write for HubPages at all.
Relache is one of those rare individuals that combine a hilarious sense of humor with a no-nonsense, practical approach to getting things done. An alchemist, she transformed the Paris sky, leaden and overcast for months, into a golden orb set against a royal blue backdrop. From beneath her sunhat, its planets aglow, she shared her online writing expertise generously, reassuring me about a number of things and warning me off others with boundless laughter and energy. I look forward to her next passage through Paris much as I do Jupiter and its moons.
Winning the Hubbie Award for Most Awesome Hub
While on vacation in August I was totally stunned when Vespawoolf congratulated me on winning the Hubbie vote for Most Awesome Hub for my video hub on the wild ibex of Mont Blanc. I had no idea I was even in the running, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who voted for me. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, kind of like the winter coat on a Mont Blanc ibex. It made me feel, frankly, that my writing at HubPages was actually being read (or at least my video is being watched!), but more than anything it made me feel a part of a writers’ community I was only just beginning to discover.