Finding young bloggers is easy. The Blogosphere teems with them. Stumbling across those who take their writing seriously is not as common. At 14–when I met him online–Will Hoffacker’s treatment of his blog, Youngest of One, as a way to explore his creativity and grow, as he has, into an emerging young writer grabbed my attention. I immediately linked to his blog and mentioned him in a post. On April 18, 2005 I interviewed Will in a series of posts. (Scroll down through April’s posts to the 18th to find the beginning entry.)
As a writer I have loved watching how his blogging has evolved from a school project into a daily diary, then into a medium where he realized he had an audience and began to write accordingly. Today I remain impressed and inspired by Will’s devotion to his blog and the constant exercise of his creativity through cartooning with The Angry Sugar Bowl, his other blogs and outlets, and now podcasts.
What inspired me to post about Will yet again? Well, I found myself at another blog, Think:lab, and a post in a series that discusses a recent interplay between this former teacher and a 16-year old blogger who had asked to be linked. From that innocent query came a six-part interaction dating from November 21, 2006 and a challenge detailed on Think:lab. The young blogger is Ethan Bodnar.
I confess Will never sought me out. I came across his site due to a link he had established on another writer-blogger’s site. I read through his posts and enjoyed them. I remember one where he blogged about a school field trip to Philadelphia. Now, I spent many years in Philly and if you’re from Philly you know how many times you had to check out the cracked Liberty Bell and follow in Ben’s footsteps down the cobblestones and into the narrow homes of Betsy Ross and others. Forty years later, those early memories welled up as a result of Will’s entry about his trip and his reactions to the same places. I laughed; I remembered. A few days later Will blogged about a school function and once more I found myself smiling. Something about Will’s writing, his persona, his approach screamed “potential writer” so I put his link on my blog.
Watching his evolution as a blogger and a writer continues to be a lot of fun. My approach has simply been to recognize his potential, to call it out, and to provide encouragement. Aside from that, I love to read Will’s blog, so I return regularly.
Bless him, the boy understands reciprocity. Without telling me, he bought my two teen novels. Not only that, he read them. He then graciously mentioned them during his daily posts and–thankfully–enjoyed them and recommended them. He didn’t have to do that. At one point during the writing of a story, I asked him some questions and he provided some great tips. He even showed up during an online interview. The interplay between bloggers is one of the unique extras offered by blogosphere. It’s so easy to initiate a conversation. Old barriers are blasted away. It’s possible to communicate with people that, in the past, might have remained out of reach.
Last week Will’s blog, like so many other blogs–mine included–offered thanks. In the midst of his litany I found the following:
I am thankful for my creativity (or, as some would say, my muse), which not only helps me but, as I see it, defines me. –Will Hoffacker, Youngest of One
What struck me? The fact that even now he recognizes and already acknowledges how his creativity defines him. How does your creativity define you?