We are thrilled to present a lovely and inspiring guest post from one of your and one of our favorite vegan cookbook authors, Terry Hope Romero.
My first morning in cool green summertime Portland and I’m sinking a dainty fork into the glistening swirls of a cinnamon bun from Dovetail bakery, sipping iced coffee spiked with coconut creamer, and browsing Facebook on my clunky phone. A sweet morning ritual to kick off the exciting week ahead of the first ever Vida Vegan blogger gathering.
But…there’s been a earthquake. An earthquake rippling through my home city of NYC and some neighboring Eastern states. With me on the earthquake-notorious yet calm West coast and my beloved, rock-steady East Coast quivering it’s difficult to understand what’s actually happening, but there’s a soaring flock of comments swarming through my online social networks making each tremble all the more personal. It’s equally alarming and comforting. Yet somehow it makes me excited to live in the world today that despite something as scary as earthquake (for many East Coasters this is the first ever they’ll recall experiencing one), I can feel instantly connected to both to real-life friends and folks I’ve never met in the flesh.
Originally this guest post for the Vida Vegan Conference was going to concern taming blog monsters, those boogies that bother even the most dedicated among us. After this morning’s literal long-distance shake-up I’m thinking about how something truly monstrous, like an earthquake, can spring us into action and help us get past those inner demons of self-doubt and hyper-criticism that can freeze us from making blog posts with heart.
Coming to the first ever Vida Vegan Conference, I fought my own self-doubts (too far away, too much work left at home, what will I talk about?), but I’m so glad that the urge to bridge the distance with the Internet vegan tribe won in the end. We’ve gathered as a community in real life, an extension of what we do all year round as people connected by technology. We’re a small slice of a tiny but growing group with a tight focus–vegan blogs. How many of you attending told your friends, family, co-workers, and total strangers “I’m attending a vegan blogger conference!” What looks did you get in return? Perhaps ones of surprise, intrigue, a little confusion; but as vegans we’re used to that by now, right? Very likely they’ll be asking you even more questions when you get home, because it’s uncommon, adventure-loving folks like you who grab that rare chance to meet their peers beyond the blog post.
My presentation Sunday morning has a crazy title “There’s a DRAGON in my tempeh taco,” and it’s about putting more story into your blog posts. But secretly it’s about putting more YOU into your blog posts. And that’s risky. But risks can reward us in ways far more meaningful that just sitting around and wishing good things would happen. With life being as unpredictable as it is, it’s more crucial than ever to take these kind of valuable risks, be it with your writing or traveling or meeting new people.
I’m relieved that everyone back home is safe (some lucky ones didn’t even notice), and it’s thrilling to see the excitement bubbling even before the convention kicks off. No doubt we’ll have stories to take back to our hopefully steady and sound homes. Just make certain to take time after to relax, relish your own local species of luscious vegan pastry and fuel your next post with the power of risks taken, rewards earned. and life lived well.
Terry Hope Romero’s latest co-authored (with Isa Chandra Moskowitz) baking adventure Vegan Pie in the Sky comes out October 2011. Visit Terry at veganlatina.com.