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  • Where I come from, the newcomer is considered to be the most important person. I’m talking about 12 Step programs, AA, NA, etc, but I have found that this applies to life in general, as well. You have to look out for the newcomer. It’s easy to forget how hard it can be when you are new to a place, when everything is different - there’s no comforting familiarity, and you’re feeling your way through, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, what is accepted behavior and what is going to make you stick out like a sore thumb?

    If someone isn’t focused on looking out for the newcomer, it’s easy to not notice them. It’s human nature to seek out the familiar, so you immediately gravitate towards those you know well, and who know you, and easy to not notice that new face that’s in the corner, trying to figure things out, while you’re all comfortably chillin’ with your cohorts on the other side of the room. It can be hard for the new person to break out of that corner, and into the main group.

    It used to be easy, on Cowbird, to find and welcome the newcomers, but it took me awhile, in the new format to figure it out. Clicking on Newcomers, it seems there are a lot of promotional kinds of things happening now, with whole waves of writers who show up for whatever the promotional push of the moment is, and most of them tell a story then are gone in a flash. It’s hard to tell which newcomer is serious about storytelling and will hang around for more than whatever the current push is, at that link. However, I recently discovered a way to find the more serious new storytellers, the ones who are a bit more committed to the process, and aren’t just part of a promotional wave.

    Going into People, then Citizen, then under that, Newest, you get the latest storytellers who are at least committed enough to the process that they have become citizens. I know, most of you probably long since discovered this, but I’m a slow learner and just figured it out. I did find a number of storytellers there, many having just posted their first several stories over the past month, a lot that seemed to have gone unnoticed, including some great stories. This was a great find for me. These are the storytellers we need to recognize and welcome to the Cowbird community.

    I just thought I would mention my discovery and pass it along. Any sustainable community always looks out for the newcomer. Check it out when you have time. There’s some good storytelling you might be missing. Another way to bring good new stories to others’ attention is through “Cowbirders” on Facebook. Cowbirders is a closed facebook group, that any Cowbird storyteller can join, as a way to interact with other storytellers more. It is not set up to promote your own stories –it’s not about that, and that is something you agree not to do when you join the group. But, it is o.k. to point out good stories of others, there, and a way to help a new storyteller get recognized, as well.

    Just thought I would throw a little shout out to the newcomers, and to remember to welcome them to Cowbird, in whatever way you can think of to do that. It’s important.
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