September 1st, 2020

lj idol


This is the part where people pretend that "they knew it all along." ;)

But I'm going to take a swerve and say you were a delightful surprise.

Not your work itself - I've been a fan for quite some time at this point. But it's rare to see poetry and songwriting rewarded. It's happened, but the biggest victory for it was during a mini season, with a big reveal at the end that put him over the top.

You had a "big reveal" of your own when you changed it up to show people just how great you are at longer forms of prose as well. I think that might have been the secret ingredient that pushed you over the top and into the finale. People came in "expecting" one thing and you managed to surprise and impress them. (You've done it before, but let's be honest, people tend to forget! :D)

Your Portfolio may be my personal favorite of all time, and (provided that I remember to look at my notes when the time comes) has changed how *I* look at, and will be treating them, from now on.

For anyone to do that - it's pretty huge. If anyone missed it, or somehow forgot just how damn good it was... or just wants to study it for the future:

You also had one of my personal favorite final entries. If this was Gary-only voting, and that was the sole criteria - you would have the crown on your head. I don't say that to diminish the other two, which were both great and they deserved every single vote they received. But again, I've been reading those final entries now for a really long time and I thought I'd seen nearly every variation. You surprised, and delighted, me with the song, and your words, as always, got to the heart of it.

Then again, in the last couple of weeks, you had gone from someone that I was enjoying every week, because there was a good chance it was the last, to the front runner! The closer to the end we got, the more you seemed to hit your stride. I've seen that happened before, and it's as exciting for me to watch as it is dangerous for your fellow competitors!

I really thought you had momentum on your side, and you may have very well won up against any other combination. It's difficult to say with 100% certainty, but you've been solid all season and that tends to be rewarded in the end. (Making it to #3 is definitely testimony to that)

The song of your season may be over, but it's going to linger in my heart, and echo in my head, for a really long time.

Congratulations, to our 3rd place finisher of LJ Idol Season 11 - encrefloue !
lj idol


Of the three, this one is going to be the most difficult to write. I've known you the longest of the three, and as you mentioned, we're friends. Which always makes it a little awkward to talk about someone as a contestant. :)

When I launched this season, it was billed as "LJ Idol: Homecoming." I envisioned it as old schoolers coming home, and in a lot of ways that is what ended up happening. Sometimes a moment in time can connect to a theme and create something unexpected. You showing up to write again was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure how long it would last, but it's always enjoyable.

You came in with a very "old school" approach to Livejournal. You wrote about your life - the good, the bad, the awkward moments. You opened a vein and let it pour onto the page, which is why people responded the way they did.

It's not just the quality of writing (which is always great), it was the honesty you were bringing. I think that, with the world the way it is, that honesty is something people are craving. They want to acknowledge the scars and they want to see the broken places where we all can heal.

As the guy running the competition, seeing the response to your work was a treat. It gave me hope that Livejournal itself wasn't completely dead. That there were still people who wanted to read about other people's lives. As Gary, someone who actually gives a shit about you, it was sometimes painful to read. Because that version of me wants you to be happy. (Fortunately, in this space the version of me that ends up winning is the one that kicks you for being a damn hippie!!)

I'll admit, I may have been laughing a little too hard when I saw you trying to sacrifice yourself - because I knew that you had picked the exact wrong time to do that. The twist that week really didn't allow for it to happen. But then I thought, "Well, she will just sacrifice at the next stage"... but then you didn't. "Or maybe next week"... but you didn't. It was as if you hit bottom, but the fact that first the game, and then the voters, buoyed you back up again.

It was in the weeks after that, when I realized that you were going to be sticking around until they voted you out, that I started to think you were in this for the long haul.

As a matter of fact - and because I promised that I'd reveal this when the time came - YOU were the third member of the Final 3 in that dream. (Which, for those playing along at home - it was karmasoup, viagra and kittenboo - which, at the time of the dream was one of those "OMG - how would THAT happen??? moments, where you look at the field remaining and try to come up with scenarios where everyone else on the board - and there were A LOT of "big names" on the board at that point) But then it got to the point where it could have been real and I freaked out a bit, because maybe I had psychic powers. :D)

People know that my brain thinks in terms of strategy - so while I could see why people were enjoying your writing - there was also a part of me going "They aren't stupid enough to let her get to the end are they?" I would hear who people thought was going to win ("The threats") and I'm going to be candid, your name wasn't on it. Which is INSANE. I can only imagine that they had no idea that you were a semi-finalist in Season 4, and that you were taken out by the worst design of a twist that I've ever had in Idol... one that I continue to regret. As far as "capability of getting votes" goes - people might look at the totals for this finale and think "Wow, that's a lot of votes!" But we both know those were weekly vote totals at some points "back in the day!" ;) We also both know that with a quick email, you could have doubled those numbers. That's not who you are though.
You set up the perimeters of what you were, and weren't, willing to do - and you stayed inside of those lines. I applaud the restraint and the moral compass that has guided you to this point.

I wanted to point that out, not just to point out that you are a legitimate threat who should never be underestimated, but more importantly, because I think it dovetails nicely into what you wrote about all season long. You could have easily closed up emotionally and ran up the totals to insane heights. Instead, you made the decision to make yourself vulnerable. You embraced the idea that you might NOT win, that you just wanted to fight the good fight and be satisfied with the result either way.

That decision - that moment - encapsulates an entire season's worth of writing. It's a living Portfolio.

Your writing has been solid all season, and I think people need to go back and take a look at anything they may have missed. Your final entry was great. I think when people are writing about their lives, about their truths, that it's sometimes difficult for folks to judge quality. But what you put out there, in terms of writing, has top notched, and as I've said in other places, I truly hope that you are proud of yourself. Because you should be.

kittenboo may have claimed Second Place in LJ Idol Season 11, but I think Heather may have won the gold in humanity.

Your story is just starting new chapters, and I can't wait to see what twists are in store!
lj idol


Is there really anything left to say? You won!

Which means that I'll probably be bugging you for the rest of your life, and I'll only refer to you as a number! ;)

One thing that I remember from early on was that I was convinced that you had played before. You just seemed really familiar, even the name. Now that I know you were following other players in past seasons, it could be that I'd just seen your name in the poll often enough that something clicked when I saw it again.

I first started hearing about you being a threat maybe around the Top 50 or so. There were a handful of names being thrown around in conversations about who people thought was going to win. I'd been enjoying your work before that point, but it did make me start thinking of you in a new light. Especially since you were one of the few newbies in that conversation. Newbies have a really good track record when in comes to winning regular seasons.

What interested me the most about you being identified that way is that I saw your work as a steady pulse during the course of the competition. You just kept going, putting out quality work every week without many stumbles and definitely without drama. You were often engaged in helpful and constructive conversations with your peers, who clearly thought highly of you. These are things that *I* tend to look for when trying to identify a potential winner. So it was interesting to see that other people were starting to pick up on those traits as well!

To me, it felt like when we hit the Top 9, you switched into a different gear. It was like you could see the finish line, even though I know you were doubting you would get there, it didn't feel like your writing had any doubts whatsoever.

Even with a few close calls toward the end, it never felt like a surprise to see you get to the next round, and the next, and the next... seeing you in the finale seemed like a natural progression.

You showed up and shared your life in quiet and beautiful ways.

You stayed up to see polls close and were asleep when the new topics were posted, giving you less time than everyone else - in one of the many other languages you happen to know!

If the season's story is about the winner, then Season 11 is about simple moments and kind gestures of gratitude. It's about overcoming self doubt and finding something inside of yourself by just pushing a little more.

It's about hope.

The story of dadi is about hope.