I'm a designer by profession, and as such, I'm a big believer in the power of things. Objects communicate, tell stories, collect meaning. A tangible thing in your hand feels real and substantial. Having said that, the web is also an amazing tool for meaningful communication, connection and comfort. The OC has changed my life in such a positive way. Regardless of being a virtual tool, the insight, inspiration, comfort, support and realization that I am not alone with diabetes has utterly improved my life.
For me, the exercise I did a couple of months ago to commemorate my 20th anniversary of living with diabetes, was very important. I don't think it would have had as much meaning if I had just done it privately on my own. 20 things I know about diabetes, really helped me to move through a milestone in a way that surprised and comforted me deeply. The format, the simplicity and the "safety" of doing the exercise as a blog within a community of people who have been so supportive and also, "get it", made the doing of it possible. Once done, I felt better. But the designer in me wanted something to touch and hold and feel, so I decided to make a small book out of the blog. I had the original files I used to make the posts, printed them out (with the help of a friend more experienced in book layout and production than I) and then took it to a local book bindery to have 10 copies made. They arrived a couple of days ago and I'm so excited. There is something so cool about being able to hold the exercise, done on the web, in my hands. I'm giving them to my doctor, family and the friends who have made the most difference in my journey with diabetes. And that feels great too, to give them something tangible as a thank you for all that they have done for me.
I think that making something tangible from all of this stuff we deal with around diabetes, can be very helpful. In reading the comments on Scott's recent post operating under pressure, there was a comment by Minnesota Nice that I thought was brilliant. She is writing down every positive thing she does around diabetes, and for each "thing" she takes a lego block and adds it to a structure of lego's she is building. By doing this, she sees her progress, she notes her efforts and success', she makes her work and dedication tangible. I think this is fabulous. Once she goes through all the lego's she has, she takes a picture of the creation, and then starts again. Boy would I love to see those pictures (sounds like a wonderful book to me)! Brilliant!
The point is, making something real out of all this can be very good (#7 diabetes is a great source for creativity). A blog is real but you can't touch it. It may be enough and that's terrific. Taking it further into another form, can be fun too. Whether it's publishing an iPhoto book of images that mean something around diabetes, or publishing your blog using a program like blog binders, or painting a painting or building lego towers, it really doesn't matter what form it takes. It can be affordable, creative and personal, shared or not. I'm just saying that making my 20 things blog into a tangible, touchable book, has made it that much more meaningful to me and others.