Describe your experience as a Today Voice contributor
My experience with The Today Voice began eighteen months ago. It was well past midnight, sometime after the new year, and the concept of this blog presented itself in a “what if…” question. What if there were a blog in which five writers each picked a day of the week to write to a weekly prompt? Most of my ideas follow this thought pattern. For example, “what if there were drive-thru grocery stores in which you place your order of 15 items or less and pick-up at the window?”, or “what would happen if…”, well, you get the idea. Most of my thoughts end there (as well they should), but the idea of the blog kept coming back to me. Eventually, “what if there were a blog…” turned into “wow, she/he would make a great contributor”.
I think the most fun I had during the planning phase was coming up with weekly prompts. I think I had well over seventy prompts and narrowed it down by choosing the ones I felt would either be fun or uncomfortable for me to write about. After all, I planned to find five bloggers to write for the Today Voice, and did not intend to contribute as a writer – so what did I have to lose? Eventually I assigned myself Wednesday’s spot when someone else became unavailable at the last minute. I honestly thought I’d be able to keep up, but as time went on it became near impossible. I think that’s my biggest regret over the last year.
Looking back at this experience as a whole, I think if I could do things differently that I would. And that’s exactly why, in my opinion, this blog was a success. For the last year I had the pleasure of taking a front row seat to the lives of Brian Baker, Kathy Benson, Amanda Kasper, and later on, Bridgette Scoville, as they candidly shared their life and point of view regarding whatever weekly topic we were writing about. Each week someone taught me something new about myself and the way in which I managed this mostly-daily blog. Be it through their weekly posts or interactions behind the scenes. It’s a perfect example of what I envisioned from the beginning. Strangers sharing and learning from each other. It’s as simple as that.
I would like to take a moment to thank the three who have been here with me from the very beginning.
Brian, from the beginning you were enthusiastic about contributing to The Today Voice. Thanks for that. Something that has always struck me about you is your passion for writing. I admire your ability to place yourself in a state of vulnerability both here on Today Voice, and over on your blog The Bleeding Inkwell. Your fictional short stories make for interesting reads and give me hope that some day I might consider sharing the fiction that I write without hyperventilating.
Kathy, first and foremost, thank you for sharing Molly with us. It’s a beautiful thing that you do by sharing your life and the lessons you’ve learned. As a side note, I also love the fact that you have through your blog, Bereaved and Blessed, have chose to honer and remember the life of Catherine Hubbard, a child whose life was taken during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Because of you, I don’t think I will soon forget her either. Kathy, you are the professional I long to be. You manage many writing projects, not just here, but over on your website as well, among various other spaces. It’s not easy producing new quality content on a regular basis, but you do it well. I look forward to seeing where your work ethic takes you in the future.
Amanda, to be honest, you were the first person I asked to contribute to the blog. When you agreed to participate, the blog went from being just an idea to a reality. Your optimism through the most trying of times has reminded me to appreciate now for what it is, and to not take that for granted. You have shown me that happiness and fulfillment can look like many different things; and can be obtained in many different ways. I’ve always found your posts eloquently written, but oddly enough it was a picture that you took in New York, and then shared one week on this blog, that will always represent to me what this project was all about. Life colliding with life, if only for an instant.
A lot has changed in my personal life over the course of the last year. Sure some things have remained the same, and most likely always will be a constant in my life, such as bouts of severe depression, or my crazy work schedule. Sometimes I can get caught up in all this “sameness” that I miss the small incremental changes that occur. For instance, a year ago today I considered myself a blogger. Today, not so much. A year from now… who knows? For once I’m okay with that.
To define the end of this blog as bittersweet would be an understatement. While I never truly had the opportunity to be as involved as I would have liked, I feel as if something special happened here for the last fifty-two weeks. And for that I will always be grateful. Much thanks to Bridgette, Brian, Kathy and Amanda for making it all possible.
Peter Combs is a husband, writer, and former foster child.