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linkage1951: I'm here at NetRoots Nation 13 in San Jose, and I have thewonderful opportunity to interview a Community Quilt recipient. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your quilt.

belinda: I'm sorry. I'm Belinda Ridgewood, and my quilt was made for me when my mother passed away.

linkage1951: Can you share some of the messages from that?

belinda: I will try to...I will try...

linkage1851: Now I understand...I understand from talking to you just getting ready for this that every message is precious, and it brings back memories and emotions. How many times do you think you read each  message?


belinda: Oh, brother. A lot. I have the quilt on my bed. And so sometimes I read it, and then other times I turn it around the other way so I can't see it, because I don't have time to cry over it. But it's's so  touching to me that so many people, some of whom I didn't even really know online, chose to rally around me when I, when my mother died and I was hurting and send me a message of condolence in this way as part of such a beautiful work of art. It's unbelievable, it's indescribable the impact that receiving a thing like this has. People -- I think. wrote this in the comments at the time -- but people who get a quilt come and say, "Oh, my God, thank you so much, everybody. You've reached out to me." And I always used to think, "Well, of course, that's what we do." But when you're the recipient of it, it's not "of course." It's wow...!

linkage1951: It's special.

belinda: Yes, yes, the impact cannot be described.

linkage1951: Well, can you read one for me?

belinda: I will read the message from Aji and Wings. It says, "Like your mother's love, so too that of Spirit comes on dragonfly's wings. We love you." OK, I'm sniffling. I'm sorry.

linkage1951: So there's poignant poetry on the quilt and there's humor. Can you summarize a bit of the quilt's essence. What do the pictures mean to you?

belinda: I told...Sara and Ann asked when they plan to make you a quilt they say what colors do you like, what colors and in your home? And I said, "I'm  and old hippy, and I like bright colors." So they put this beautiful bright-colored backing on, and then they just picked all kinds of  bright-colored illustrations -- fabric illustrations of every kind. But  there's one I want to find. Here it is. I got to know the community by writing cranky user's diaries when we switched to version four of Daily Kos. We had a sort of a group logo of a cranky dinosaur. So they found me a dinosaur -- can I show it to the camera? -- they found me the cranky dinosaur and put it on my quilt. And they were very, very proud of having found it, and I was very, very thrilled -- I think it's my favorite square.

linkage1951: Ah, the transition to groups...

belinda: You know, it seemed like a horrible thing at the time, 'cause it was new and nobody knew how it worked, but groups really have been a great thing, and they've really...they've been wonderful for the community. They've helped the people come together in all kinds of ways. So it was  a good move, but it was kind of a rough transition.

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

belinda: I absolutely would. I love that community and its many sub-communities. I know that there are people who get into fights and say nasty things, but overall, it's such a loving community and so ready to reach out with any kind of help. If somebody comes there in any kind of need, if somebody comes there even with a question, people will beat their brains out to get that question answered and get information to that person. They give money, they take people into their homes, you know. I feel like I could travel anywhere and post that I was going to be in City X, and people would say, "Hey, I'm there. You should come out, you know. We'll have dinner, whatever." It's's like being a member of an extended family.

linkage1951: Well, thank you very much for sharing this with us.

belinda: Thank you.

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