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linkage1951: We're here at NetRoots Nation, and it's my opportunity to interview one of the Community Quilt recipients. I'd like him to introduce himself and tell us about his quilt.

paradise50: My name's paradise50 on Daily Kos. My real name is John Struthers. I was diagnosed with throat cancer in January last year, which is 2012 I was part of several communities on Daily Kos. One that I was pretty involved with was called J-Town at the time. I let it be known that I was having this horrendous treatment in my future, and the community got together and decided to have a quilt made for me. So, I couldn't believe it.

The quilts are some of the most amazing things, because not only is it from everyone's heart and put together by the community, but Sara, who makes them -- Sara and Ann -- are very, very special. I got a 2-hour interview with her on the phone, and she is not only questioning what's important to me and what I do and how I feel, but she's also very, very intuitive and just picks stuff up while she's talking to you, and all of that came together to make this wonderful quilt.

This quilt has sayings by every person that was involved with supporting this quilt being made for me, and it got me through the worst of it. I would have this when I was in the hospital, when I had my surgery, which was a 6½-hour surgery on my neck, my chemotherapy. And I took it to every radiation treatment I had -- I  had 35 of those -- and believe me, it made a huge, huge difference  to have this quilt. It was more than something just to wear; it was  all the love from everyone that put this together for me.

linkage1951: Can you show us or read to us some the messages that were delivered to you?

paradise50: Every one of these little white squares is a message that somebody wrote. And as you can see, if I pull it up a little bit, there are tons of them. There's two huge boxes of them and a smaller box in the center. I have a yin/yang symbol in the middle -- you might be able to see that -- I don't know. We'll see it later, perhaps, because of what I do for a living: I'm an acupuncturist. I'll just have to read a few of these -- turn 'em around to do so... "Our prayers and best wishes for paradise50 and smileycreek (that's)   my wife's name on Daily Kos) by Hedwig." "Good luck, paradise50. Hope the doctors get you back on track."

And then I've got other ones which I can't even believe these people were part of my committee. I didn't know... "Paradise50, reading your words above, I am taken by your clarity and obvious strength. I wish the best for you. Thankfully, smileycreek will be by your side (by Boran2)." And yes, she was the hero.

 I'll read another one. Here's one by somebody I know who happens to be my employee. I was stunned to find out...I just found out about.  this...we didn't tell her. "Thank you for your loving hands, your loving heart, your loving ways. Thank you for the gifts you bring into the world each day. And if you ever doubt yourself, remember us, who love you well. We know all the gifts you bring into the world each day. Marika Gail." So, uh, yeah, it goes on and on like this. It's amazing. When you  have this quilt, you'll find, as you read these over and over and over as you use it, it's's not just a quilt. This is actually a woven love is what it is.

linkage1951: And that's why they're called "love catchers."

paradise50: Yes, they are.

linkage1951: And they capture the love from the community and focus it literally into your lap.

paradise50: Yes, absolutely.

linkage1951: What is with the magic that people can communicate electronically  over the inner tubes <what?>, and all of a sudden they feel part of a community? Do you have any feeling for that? Why does that work?

paradise50: Well, I've felt that pretty much exclusively at Daily Kos. I've been on the internet for years, and I've been parts of little groups, little chat rooms. I've never had a feeling that there was a community in those other circumstances. It was just things that  people were commonly interested in. It was usually over a subject matter.

It's very, very different at Daily Kos. It's truly a giant community made up of sub-communities, and people aren't just passionate about the communities they're involved with. They're passionate about empathy and compassion and caring for everyone. That's why it's a  political site, but it's really about the community, which is what we all are, which is what we believe our government and our  politicians should actually be caring about. So, the committees I've found on Daily Kos have grown into something much, much more than just internet.

We get together when we can in person all around the country in what we call meetups. Through those, you find out that people aren't just  pixels on a screen that you're communicating with, but who they really are. Everyone whom I've met have been truly absolutely empathic, compassionate, and from the heart.

linkage1951: It's one of the more wonderful things the new day diary, which is encouraging our meetups locally.

paradise50: Yes, that's actually the main thing of that community is to encourage our meeting together in person. Since its inception, which is about a year ago now, it's amazing what's happened. It's actually influenced people to have little get-ups, little community get togethers in places where no one was before. People are surprised to find out that we're sprinkled all over the place, from the cities to little rural areas. We even have one where I live, and I live in a very small rural area, population-wise.

The one thing that I can say, which is amazing, is I have never been with a group of people before that I was comfortable with. Virtually everyone I meet, whether it's our local community meetups, larger meetups, or this annual huge thousands and thousands of people come to the NetRoots Nation. It's phenomenal. And everytime I run into the same people over and over, it just grows and grows and grows. So, I've never experienced anything like this.

linkage1951: Can you tell us a bit about the pictures?

paradise50: Well, when I was talking to Sara and Ann about this over the phone, she would ask what are the important things in my life and what are important things -- at least symbolically for me. As she did this, it became obvious that I'm very attached to the outdoors and animals, and I actually love to be out in the mountains and about. So, she actually chose most of these animals that you'll see in these pictures -- we'll look at these later. But this came from her own intuition. There's only a couple in here -- otters, for instance, and a coyote -- that came from my suggestion. But the rest of these she pulled herself.

linkage1951: Would you like to take this opportunity to thank the community?

paradise50: Oh, thank you very much. This is my home. This is my community. I belong here and I completely support it. I can't go anywhere else. I love the Daily Kos community.

linkage1951: Well, thank you very much for taking a moment to share this quilt and your thoughts about it with us.

paradise50: It's my great pleasure and honor. Thank you.


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