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Meetings with Remarkable Hub Authors: Online & Off

Updated on November 19, 2012
HubPages Meetup in the Tuileries gardens, Paris. Left: Relache. Right: the author
HubPages Meetup in the Tuileries gardens, Paris. Left: Relache. Right: the author | Source

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.

Veteran HubPages author & web writer Relache, glowing planets in orbit.
Veteran HubPages author & web writer Relache, glowing planets in orbit. | Source

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.

Photo from my video on the Wild Ibex of Mont Blanc, voted "Most Awesome Hub" in 2012.
Photo from my video on the Wild Ibex of Mont Blanc, voted "Most Awesome Hub" in 2012. | Source

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.

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    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Yes it is, Agusfanani, I hope you get the opportunity too.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      Meeting my favorite writer in person is also my dream. Wow, that's a great opportunity.

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Thank you Rajan Jolly. It was a treat indeed to meet Relache. Perhaps one day you'll make it to Paris and we'll have another Meetup!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      A very interesting read and congrats on winning the Most awesome hub vote. You are lucky to have met Relache, a very successful hubber.

      Voted up & awesome.

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      I'm so glad, Unknown Spy, your own hubs are truly inspirational, and more so all the time. I always look forward to them.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      This was a fun read Letitia. Makes me feel inspired to write more.

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Thank you and you're welcome Vespawoolf!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      You're right! I am sitting in Tuileries in my profile picture. It would be awesome to meet up in Cusco, although Paris is my favorite place in the world. Thanks so much for all your support and encouragement. It keeps me going! I'll look forward to reading your interview with Summerberrie.

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Thanks so much Vespawoolf. I've so enjoyed knowing you over HP for the past months. I hope we shall have the chance to meet in the Tuileries too (isn't that where you're sitting in your picture? Or is it the Luxembourg?), or perhaps in Cusco one of these days!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      It's moving to read about your journey at HubPages! I count it a privilege to be among your followers. How awesome that you and Relache met up. And in Tuileries Gardens! I look forward to witnessing many more of your winning hubs in the future. : )

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Thanks so much Aviannovice. Talk about fine work, I just love reading yours!

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Thanks Mhatter99. I thought about interviewing you too. Your limericks are pure delight and remind me of my childhood. My dad was a limerick man too and we used to make them up together. Every one of yours brings a smile to my face.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Congratulations. sounds like you had a good time. Thank you for sharing

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Congrats on the award, Letitia. You do a fine job in all of your work. Bravo!

    • LetitiaFT profile image
      Author

      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Hi Summerberrie. It was great fun indeed to meet another hub author, and one of the oldest members of HubPages to boot. But it was also fantastic to find out more about you. I too enjoyed the interview immensely. I just got word from Simone who will be publishing it come Thursday. She'll let us both know when she does. Keep in touch!

    • profile image

      summerberrie 4 years ago

      How neat to have met Relache! And in Paris! Great group of hubbers. I am humbled by being in the mix. Your questions for the interview were thought provoking and I enjoyed them immensely. Good luck on your research and I hope to read lots of hubs about your experience!