Ebren was highly dubious about publishing this piece, as he doesn't wish to appear self-congratulatory. I, however, do not mind congratulating you on making this forum possible. Nor do I mind congratulating all those who have given me such wonderful entertainment on here. Do I thereby slap my own back? Hardly! My appreciation of this forum is a matter of taste. I think this is better than other sites; others will disagree - good luck to them!
This is a completely off-topic article - it's not about sport, it's about a jewel called "Pseuds' Corner". What a long way we've come in such a short time! I've read a lot of very good work on here, and seen a good number of comments and ideas that are worth discussing.
Pseuds' Corner has resulted in a sea-change in my habits. I used to get a fair bit of flak from Mrs. Greengrass because I was hooked on the GU Sports Blog. Once upon a time, I started my day by reading the morning paper. Then I started my day by reading the Guardian on-line. One day, I had a look at the blogs. Then I registered, and started posting. What a wonderful world! As time passed, certain other posters became familiar - I started looking forward to their posts. We were accused of being a clique - well, we did have a quiet evening in a taproom once - and I almost made the Clique First XI. I was hooked! Then I was banned!
After a period of reflection and revolutionary rumbling, Ebren let this forum see the light of day. Now I get a fair bit of flak from Mrs.Greengrass because I'm hooked on Pseuds' Corner. This is what I read first thing every morning these days, if I'm anywhere near a computer. Why? Because the best reading around used to be GU, and this is better.
I find much of the writing on here far superior to most of the writing on GU, and some of the pieces far better than the Big Blogger harvest. What do we get to read on here?
Some "articles", perhaps, but I would prefer to call most of the contributions "pieces" - writings which the writers want to share with others in order to provide enjoyment. A variety of pieces, featuring everything under the sun that has something to do with sport, from bare-faced truth to honest lies. Sometimes I feel deeply moved, sometimes I feel deeply moved to laughter - there is far more humour on here!
What sort of writing community is this? Well, it's not a School of Creative Writing - our pieces are not processed on here, they are up and running when they arrive. It's not a nursery - generally speaking, the pieces on here are far too mature for that. It's a warm forum with open arms - "like my piece or lump it; I hope you enjoy it!"
I seem to recall some voices calling for more criticism, but I disagree: this is an open forum, and criticism - however well-meant! - might scare some potential contributors away.
There is one idea I would like to float: playing the journalist! Andy Bull was recently praised on GU for a wonderful article on the state of Zimbabwe. Soon after, he was criticised for an article on betting odds. This highlights the plight of the journeyman journalist: he/she can't always write from the heart. On here, we can write from the heart -or choose not to write. Some of us have, on occasion, been accused of being wannabee journos, jealous of the real hacks; judging by the pieces on here, that is simply not the case. It could, however, be fun to play at being hacks: the editorial board could surreptitiously give one of us a subject and a deadline, then publish the result. No tricky subjects to trip us up, but an honest gig! I wouldn't mind a shot at that!
Apart from that, I wouldn't change a thing. This forum is prospering, with new voices continually popping up for our mutual entertainment. And humour burgeons - not least in the form of Cricket Tapes and Alisha & Chantelle. There's even a taproom where I can seek sanctuary whenever Mrs. GG's flak gets too much for me!
Keep on writing,