Since SciLance’s formation we have occasionally riffed on the “lance” ending—BabyLance, BookLance and such. But one of the little-known but oh-so-very-popular spinoffs is BootLance.
Now, we haven’t done any special studies or broader surveys to discern if there’s a correlation between a love of cute boots and science writing but we can safely say that SciLancers love them some nice boots. Or, at least, 72% of SciLancers do. According to a pre-Science Writers’ Handbook survey, an admittedly surprising 28% chose the response “I don’t care about boots” to the question, Have you participated in a BootLance discussion? (I know. Poor misguided souls.)
In fact, in our nine years together, 805 messages have referred to boots. That’s more traffic than our ongoing discussions on vaccines (222) or indemnity clauses (374).
And while, yes, we are often talking purely of our latest Fluevog fantasies or Frye investments, sometimes the conversation is important and work-related. Like a March 2013 thread on the appropriate footwear for polar fieldwork. (Hint: Sorel Glaciers.)
How to keep our toes toasty on far-flung reporting trips is critical intel for a science writer (Read Jessica Marshall‘s story from that trip). Beyond that, side conversations, like BootLance and others, are important acts of community building. Sure, we’re all pros and our group was created with the goal of supporting each other as we build careers. But if we had restricted ourselves to only the less frivolous topics of editors and assignments and contracts, our tribe wouldn’t have gelled the way it has. And we’d all be the poorer for it.
BootLance-type discussions aren’t practical or maybe even appropriate in larger groups where many might be annoyed at the potential waste of time. But along with the 2,741 posts on contracts, 4,302 messages on interviews and 3,964 on sources, it’s a component of the magic foo foo dust that has made our tribe so strong, loyal and enduring.
Image by Woody Hibbard via Flickr Creative Commons