Sunday, November 05, 2006

Jenna Glatzer sells Absolute Write

I am sure that all over blogosphere there are by now quite a few articles on this. And I am sure most of them will say that Jenna will be missed and we wish her all the best. And of course, I am going to say the exact same thing. However, I think it may be appropriate to say a few words about Absolute Write and the Absolute Write Forum that Jenna created.

Before going on, it is true a thread went up at Absolute Write describing the changing of guard and Jenna's posts and reasoning for leaving. Obviously the most visual reason is that she is pregnant with her first child. This alone is sufficient reason for any person and couple to make life-changing decisions. There is no doubt that every one who has had contact with Jenna Glatzer wishes her only the best and fulfillment of all her dreams.

And no this post is not about the changing of the guard at AW as well. Because it actually makes no difference to me who runs it. If the new owner(s) and moderators choose to use it for their own personal ends, something that Jenna never did, AW will fall by the wayside. If they choose to allow a differing of opinions then AW may flourish. They will need balance and wisdom. They will require certain innate qualities which no one can know they have until it is put to the test. They will have to learn the elements of respect and fear and know how to understand each. That only the future will tell, and thus no amount of discussion will do any good. The current owners of AW will do what they think to be correct for their needs and the AW site.

This post is not about any of those normative things that people say when such things happen. It is more about how one person who with determination and sometimes courage in the fact of opposition managed to turn a small web site and then forum into a thriving community of writers. Jenna found a niche and she cultivated it. She did so often with silence; often with putting her foot down; often in the background. But she led without the need to be autocratic. There is no doubt that Jenna herself a published author, felt the need for such a forum frequented by published and not published writers. There is no doubt she had the vision to see that a forum required as well, not just talk, but respectability.

Absolute Write managed to gain that respectability. Of course, others were brought in or joined the party. Victoria Strauss, A.C. Crispin, (who constantly keep writers informed of the scams and questionable activities going on in the agent/publishing world and saving us all a lot of grief) It also should be noted that Victoria Strauss is a novelist in her own right, which says alot about her devotion and courage); and Jim Macdonald (moderator of the ever-popular "Learn Writing With Uncle Jim" thread at AW - which I never go to, but has helped many), just to name a few. Both Victoria and James run the Bewares and Background Check Thread at AW, a must read for any serious writer who wants to publish and avoid heartache.

Jenna had the vision to give these people a platform. She knew who would be useful for writers. She understood and understands the heart of the writer, the frustrations, the needs, the dreams. And she put them all up in Absolute Write and did not stand on any need for ego. She did it because it was needed. She did it to help.

And of course there are, as there always will be, those who hang on. Small publishers, writers who are published but not well known, agents who peruse the threads from time to time and the whole world of writing and publishing. Some members have learned a great deal from these people, some either don't need, require or want their knowledge. We all pick and choose. We all decide for ourselves. Yet it is critically important that whole of the spectrum is represented. This is truly a message for those who come after Jenna.

There are as well, a small group of others, who deem it their responsibility in life to offer advice behind their assumed Internet Nicks, and think that just telling others they are really important people in real life, their word will be accepted as the holy grail. It is the usual curse that applies to all forums at all times, and since writers tend not to be total nitwits, their presentation is usually seen for what it is - an exercise in self-aggrandizement. One usually ignores their comments as part of weeding out the chafe.

And yet with all this Jenna managed to build a coherent, helpful, respectable and actually fun place for writers to congregate and learn about the craft along the internet byways.

But Jenna plugged on. Absolute Write under her tutelage became a name to be reckoned with. She did this quietly, continuously, with really no great monetary satisfaction. It was a true labor of love. It was selfless in many aspects.

In Hebrew there is a phrase "Koach Ha'Nitinah". This phrase stands at the focal point of reams of philosophy and Jewish thought. It simply means "the power of giving". It implies giving without taking anything in return or expecting anything in return. A great deal of the dream that Absolute Write became is based on this power of giving.

It is for this reason, because we all must recognize the power of giving, that I feel this post need to be made. And to be perfectly clear, I do not know Jenna at all. I never spoke with her, met her or otherwise interacted with her, except for a few posts at AW. Indeed, instinct always told me that she did not agree with a lot of what I posted at AW nor does she particularly like me. And still even with that feeling I salute Jenna for the accomplishments of Absolute Write. There is no greater gift anyone could have left writers who need a community, than what Jenna did, sacrificing sleep and personal life for the sake of giving.

Jenna though is keeping up her Blog - Hot Diggity! And though she is clear that she is keeping the blog for personal information and if you want to see her publishing go to Jenna's website I have no doubt we will be hearing from Jenna again. So keeping in touch with her, if you wish to should not be difficult.

All I can say, as one member of the Absolute Write forum, is that I hope and pray her personal and writing dreams are all fulfilled. She has done a great deal for the respectability of writers. It is time for her to do a great deal for herself as well. Good wishes go with her. And a thank you. For in the end it is incumbent upon us as human beings who care to thank those who truly helped in our long and often difficult walk through the pathways of life and trying to acheive our dreams. Jenna Glatzer with Absolute Write made a small yet critically important contribution to the dreams and hopes of many.

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Talia Mana said...

I think Jenna has done a fabulous job building up AW. I was also impressed that she has got over her agoraphobia and built a new life for herself on top of the AW site and her own writing success. A very determined and inspirational story.

I also liked your comment about people who like to give advice. That's one thing I am wary of. You can get a lot of bad advice from people on the net that sound like experts. I see it a lot on Evil Editor and Miss Snark where the minions comment on openings and query letters. Yes, sometimes the comments are helpful but sometimes the comments come from people who can't write and are in position to be giving advice on your writing. A bit of reader beware - be careful who you take advice from on the net and look at getting confirmation from trusted sources!

Sharon said...

Nothing to add except "hear hear". As youknow, I'm a woman of few words.


Jenna Glatzer said...

Wow, Teddy. This is all kinds of nice and really brightened my day! Thank you so much!

We really do have a great crew at AW. I'm thrilled that I got to be the "zookeeper" for so long, and have the utmost confidence in Mac going forward.

Allie said...

Here's to Jenna... May she proceed into her new phase of life with grace, and with pain medication! Thank you Jenna for all your hard work.

Anthony said...

Hey Jenna, I'm about to finish reading your book Outwitting Writer's Block. I'll finish it tomorrow (it took me 3 weeks to read it). I learned so much from it. I grabbed 4 books from the library about writing and yours was the one which most caught my attention. First time I heard of you and I love your writing style, it's so real. Thank you so much for being a helping hand. Especially now that I'll be starting my first class this Monday toward my English mayor. God bless you.

Anthony T

Jenna Fan X 5 said...

Jenna was so well respected. We miss her so much. The people who now run Absolute Write are monsters. I can't think of a better word to describe them. I'm sorry.