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The Hubbie Awards and the Death of Mary Craig
For the past five weeks I have intended to write this article, a note of sorts, to the HubPages community for voting me, once again, the Best All-Around Hubber. Four years in a row is a bit humbling and it calls for, at the very least, some sort of online thanks and reflection.
What has prevented me from writing this note of thanks is the fact that, truthfully, I don’t know what the award means. Best All-Around Hubber? Does that mean people think I’m a good writer? Does it mean they think I’m a good guy? Does it simply mean I have a lot of cool friends and they feel like I should get something for doing whatever, just because they like me?
I was confused by it all, and the fact that I’ve won it four years in a row just added to my confusion. There aren’t that many Hubbers still active this year who were also active four years ago, so that means a whole new group of Hubbers voted for me, and for the life of me, I don’t know what to make of it all.
And then Mary Craig died and I realized the importance of the award.
Who Was Mary Craig?
Mary Craig was known on HubPages as Tillsontitan. When I first joined HubPages, about five years ago, Mary commented on my second hub. That was over eleven-hundred hubs ago, and she was a faithful commenter and friend up until five weeks ago when cancer sapped her of her strength and made commenting on hubs impossible. The last time I heard from her was an email telling me she had voted for me for the Hubbie Awards and she appreciated our friendship. She said, “Bill, you are the heart and soul of HubPages, and you deserve that award.”
And now she is dead, and I’m left with memories.
Mary had an infectious sense of humor. Take one look at her on her HubPages profile picture and you’ll see the truth in my statement. Take one look at her smiling on Facebook while she lay on her bed, shrunken and weak from the disease, and you’ll understand why I write this article now.
She was a quality human being who genuinely cared for others.
I never met her and yet I loved her.
And that’s really the whole point of this article. That's really the whole frigging reason why I'm still hanging around the hallowed halls of HubPages.
Mary tells her story
- Small Cell Carcinoma- The beginning of my journey
Someone else gets cancer, not me. That's what you think until it happens to you.
They Come and They Go
I was looking at some of the other names of people who commented on that second article of mine. There were quite a few, but only about ten are still here on HP. They come and they go. The changes to the site have been many over those five years, but the most important change that I have seen, and the one that causes me so much sadness, is the fact that very few newcomers to HubPages embrace it the way we did five years ago.
I have said, often, that if it were not for the early encouragement of people like Mary Craig, I would have quit writing five years ago. I never would have written the last five novellas or the last four novels, and I certainly wouldn’t have written the other eleven-hundred articles and short stories. I had zero confidence in my writing abilities and it took kind words of affirmation from Mary and others to keep me going during those early times.
And HubPages was overflowing with that kind of support early on. It was really a very cool place to be in those days.
But they come and they go!
Today I get a lot of friend requests from people who send out hundreds of friend requests and then never once comment on an article. After the initial friend request they are never heard from again. They publish their articles and do nothing to support others. HubPages is becoming more of a money-making machine and less of a community of writers.
And yes, I find that sad, and with the passing of Mary, one more of the old-timers who really understood the early value of HP is gone. I just wish I could find some way to explain to those writers that the support of good friends is much more important than a few pennies of supplemental income.
I Should Be Gone By Now
I’ve had other writers ask me why I stay with HP. It’s not like I don’t have other things to do. I have novels to write and a freelance writing business to run. I have an urban farm that requires more and more of my time. What in the world am I doing still haunting the halls of HubPages, they ask?
The answer is really very simple, and it took Mary’s passing to help me realize it.
I love being a member of a peer group where support and admiration are more important than making a supplemental income. True, the peer group is shrinking in numbers, but still, there are a few of us still kicking around, and that’s all that matters to me. Mary understood that. HP was never about money to her; it was all about the human connections, and perhaps that’s why she and I hit it off so well. And if Mary felt I deserved the Hubbie Award then that award, and the three previous awards, are very important to me.
There is still hope at HubPages.
I’ve seen a few newcomers enter the fray and pick up the torch. They understand what “follow” means, and they faithfully comment, and a few of them have even become good online friends of mine . . . and that’s encouraging. I hope to see more in the months to come. I hope to see more, like Mary, take her place. I hope to see the HP staff embrace the concept of peer support and community.
If, as Mary said, I really am “the heart and soul of HubPages,” then I am sending out a call to action to all who read this. Please don’t let HP lose that sense of community. I think it is vitally important for all writers to have support from their peers, and to give the same support to their peers.
And during these crazy times here on Earth, when the violence and the apathy threaten to wipe away all goodness, I think we all need more people like Mary Craig.
I will miss her.
But I will not forget her.
I still don’t know what it means to be the “Best All-Around Hubber,” but if it was important to Mary then I cherish the award. Thank you, Mary, and thank you to all who voted for me.
And a final note to the HP staff: A note, by you, to Mary's family, would be a nice gesture and the very least you could do for all that Mary gave to this community. It would be the "human" thing to do. Just a suggestion, HP! Are you listening? Hello?????
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)