thank you thank you ©alexashersearsI love telling stories – with a pen and paper, a keyboard or a camera. And I was truly honored to have learned yesterday that I was named a BlogHer Voice of The Year for my post my post, Cancer, Red Balloons and Beauty in the Details. In words and pictures, it celebrates people I’ve lost. Honors those who are still here.

Hating cancer either way. In any way.

I thank BlogHer for creating this wonderful event and the judges for what I can only imagine was a huge job, requiring a Costco-sized stock of Kleenex to tackle – those entries are an emotional roller coaster.

I’ve written about the power of the VOTY Keynote on more than one occasion. How I watch the blogosphere leveling the playing field in tremendous ways and allowing for great voices to be found beyond the shelves of all the bookstores I used to wander in Los Angeles until they disappeared Amazon. That’s how I felt as I photographed last year’s keynote. At the time I wrote:

“The Lost Generation headed for Paris. Perhaps the next literary circle is headed online. Maybe it’s already there.”

I laughed and cried as I listened to Eden and Cecily, Alexandra and Momo, and many more – friends and strangers, and strangers who’ve become friends, gathered upon that stage to share their hearts, their images and their words. To answer The $64000 Question, “What is a blogger?”

Yesterday, as I congratulated my friend Dresden, a VOTY honoree and a keynote reader, E.M. Forster’s words, the words that I began this very blog with “Only connect..” seemed to come full circle.

Last August, at BlogHer in San Diego, I ran back to the hotel from the convention center to grab a camera lens I needed for the  keynote. The hotel in San Diego was massive, which I suppose is the point when you’re convention center-adjacent. There were several towers in the hotel and a ton of elevators – a bit like Vegas with an ocean breeze. I got into a crowded elevator at the hotel and heard someone say, “Alex? You’re Alex? I’m supposed to give you a hug from Vee.”

Vee is a photographer – a blogger in Sydney who lost her husband to cancer. Together with my friend Eden, we honored his memory on the anniversary of his passing with an art project. From Sydney to LA, we wanted to be sure his life was celebrated that day. Eden wrote a post about the experience.

A post she was about to read at the Voice of the Year keynote.

Vee wasn’t able to come from Sydney to San Diego, but she’d asked an American friend who would be there to give me a hug if she saw me. And that friend was Dresden. (Connect the dots, lalalalala…)

I wrote to Dresden yesterday, tweeting how amazing it was, friends who met en route to the VOTY keynote to hear a mutual friend read her VOTY piece now celebrating the Voices of a new year.

The next time someone asks me, “why blog?” I won’t have to think twice before I explain it. This. This right here. All of these people. All of these voices. This is why I blog.


4 thoughts on “On Red Balloons, Blogging and BlogHer VOTY

    1. alexandra Post author

      Thank you, Virginia. It truly took my breath away last year. I look forward to being inspired again – and to meeting you, too!


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