When I started mulling over possibilities for the letter "G" in Arlee Bird's A to Z blog challenge, the first thing to come to mind was the only thing I want to blog about today.
I love my town.
I mean, I seriously love my town - if Greenville was a woman instead of a city, I'd probably marry her. And I can say this after traveling around and living in other cities, larger and supposedly better cities. I lived in Indianapolis for four years, but I just couldn't stay. I had to come back to my home.
Greenville is an oasis of culture and industry, a sparkling jewel nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Here, art and technology happily cohabitate; on any given night you're likely to find a networking party sometwhere downtown filled with equal amounts of techie geeks and artistic freaks. It doesn't matter here what your specialty is, as long as you're passionate about it. I live in a city filled with people who firmly believe in the beauty of their dreams, and those people strive to help each other achieve success in their chosen fields.
A perfect example of this thriving community coming together to work towards a common goal is Google on Main. Several weeks ago, Google announced their plans to bring Google Fiber to one lucky town in America. Google Fiber is a new, super-fast internet which Google is now beta testing. It's supposed to be up to 100 times faster than broadband internet. Google offered its new service to the community who could stand up and show they wanted it the most - by getting as many people involved as they could, including city and state officials as well as individuals from the general public.
Greenville responded by organizing Google on Main, an event which drew over 2000 people to Falls Park downtown. The crowd was given eco-friendly LED color-change glow sticks, and once twilight fell, we organized ourselves into the letters of the Google logo, creating the world's first and largest people-powered Google chain! (The photo above is an aerial view of our accomplishment. You can click on the picture to get a larger view.) This was an amazing feat considering it was organized in less than two weeks, and the heads of dozens of companies, several city and state officials, and even a senator got involved.
I volunteered at the event with my friend and fellow writer Leigh Green, and the powers that be decided I would be responsible for handing out the majority of the glow sticks. I had a blast helping out. Everyone at the event was happy to be there, and showing them how the LED color-change glow sticks worked was a lot of fun. It felt as if I was handing out happiness! Everyone walked away from me with a smile on their face.
Being in the diverse crowd of techies, geeks, artists, moms, dads, businessmen (and women), teenagers, grandparents, and every other flavor of person you could think of really made me proud of my community and what we can accomplish together when we put our minds to it. Google hasn't made any decisions on where Google Fiber is going first, but Greenville's been noticed by the big guys - we even had Google representatives downtown during the organizing of Google on Main!
Greenville is responsible for making me the writer I am today. I wouldn't be who I am without the town I grew up in. It's influenced my career as an artist in so many ways, and I'm so proud to be able to give back to the community in any way I can. I'm sure I'll be posting more about my city in the future.
What do you love about your town? What makes you proud to live where you do?
If you'd like to give Greenville, SC a hand in winning a Google Fiber poll, click here and cast a vote!