It wasn’t a total shot in the dark. Meagan at Hot Pink Underwear and I actually met at a writing course nearly two years ago. It was very brief, but we got along in the short time we met. We exchanged Facebook info and went our separate ways. Honestly, I figured we probably wouldn’t see each other again.
Then, Meagan started a blog and asked me a couple of questions about it. I liked her writing and began following her posts, barely remembering the woman I’d met, versus the writer I was reading. She read many of my posts. We each commented and in those comments, we began to get to know each other a little bit, as these things go.
She lives about 3 hours from me, and I was so envious of the writing groups she participates in. So partly in jest, I told her I’d love to come down and write with them some time; she agreed, but we never set a date. Back and forth we went: comments, invitations, praise back and forth, invitations, writing ideas and encouragement, more invitations. And then two weeks ago, finally, we agreed on a date; and, I made plans to drive down to meet Meagan in person. I admit, I saw it as meeting her— as our brief meeting before, hardly seemed real. We’d only spent such a short time together, I didn’t remember much about her. I remembered her writing.
I love a good road trip, so this seemed a win-win opportunity. I loaded my car with road trip snacks, entered the address in the navigation and headed to Olympia, late on a Thursday. There was traffic; I ate too many cherries; I wolfed down my dinner in a parking lot; I arrived as it was getting dark. It hit me as I was getting ready to pull into their driveway, that I had agreed to go stay with Meagan and her family, having not really met them, and not knowing what to expect. I knew Meagan from her writing; I knew that we felt similarly about a number of things; but, I wasn’t really sure if we’d get along, and I’d enjoy being there. I admit, I paused… for a second, before pulling up the driveway.
And there she was, welcoming me as I pulled up. There was her husband, greeting me as if I was an old friend of Meagan’s, stopping in to say hi, rather than a stranger. There were big cosy chairs, and artwork that their daughter, O, had done. Family photos, and her writing corner/office… I took it all in, comparing it to the person I’d imagined. We sat up talking, getting comfortable with each other. It was easy: I liked the way she thought about things, and enjoyed sharing ideas and getting to know her. Their cat, Kiki, followed me around, unaware of my allergies. She was so adorable, it was impossible to resist her sweet insistence. I was planning to be there from Thursday night until Saturday morning, and we discussed the options for how to spend our time. When she suggested we go out for a while, to meet some of her friends, I said yes… and wondered what I’d gotten into.
I’m old. Older than Meagan, by nearly a decade. Going out after 10pm is a shock to my system, so I hesitated; but, I was up for adventure. We picked up a friend and headed to an amazing bar in downtown Olympia, called The Brotherhood. Wow! Portraits of JFK and RFK all over one wall, velvet paintings of bull fighters on another. Aerialists perform in the back on occasion, and everything about the place was cool and eclectic. Young people en masse made a scene and were the scene— turning 21 now involves signs around your neck, and falling flat on your ass, in a very short dress. I’m not judging. Drinks were so much cheaper than I’ve grown accustomed to in my middle-aged world, that it was hard to resist. I didn’t. As tired as I was, the adventure of being in such an interesting place, with other writers, and things to talk about— I felt energized and awake. Another writer friend joined us and we all laughed and hung out. We got home late, but I was energized, and went to bed under comfy quilts and surrounded by artsy posters of the National Census. The house was away from the city, surrounded by trees and calming night music, so I opened my window and fell asleep to cooling air and sweet sounds. (Welcome to The Brotherhood: It’s cool inside and out!)
The next morning, I woke up to Kiki scratching at the door and the sound of chickens clucking outside. Another bright sunny day, and I was excited to go hang out some more, and do some writing. We headed downtown and made our way to the amazing Olympia Farmer’s Market for a late breakfast, early lunch. I had the yummiest Mexican food I’ve tasted since Tuscon. For me, food is key, so the visit was only getting better by the hour! From there we met a friend from the night before at a nearby cafe and wrote, until we had to go pick up Meagan’s daughter and attend her camp Family Night.
More fun and adventure ensued. Meagan’s charming daughter, O, had pizza on the brain and so we took her to her favorite place, where she got to make her own pizza and we got to enjoy O’s creative mind, and witty conversation. The fair was more fun, hundreds of families celebrating a summer night with their kids. We watched O. ride the flying swings, and the go-carts, we all did the zip line and whooped our way across the gap. Now this was a blogger meeting worthy of recording! Let’s both write a post about this, I suggested. (O. made a heart shaped pizza, and we were Zippy girlzz)
That night four of us returned to The Brotherhood, and we wrote. I would not have imagined that I could sit and write in a crowded bar— and on a Friday night, The Brotherhood was packed, and write we did. I wrote the post The Sleepover, and Meagan worked on her manuscript. We laughed at the characters who staggered by and to our table, and we watched the booze fed hits and misses going down all around us. But we wrote. And I felt so inspired and excited, and so grateful to have made the trip. (Writer Girlzz at The Brotherhood)
Saturday morning, I woke up to breakfast being cooked, chickens in the yard and Kiki at my door. While Meagan and her husband made breakfast, O gave me a tour of the yard. She introduced me to each chicken by name, and explained how they were all individuals. “But they’ve spent so much time with the rooster, they act more like roosters than hens.” Such an inquisitive, bright girl, she explained why some eggs’ shells are thinner, and why the chickens need certain foods. She showed me the old shed and explained her theories about the names carved in the cement floor. Oh the things she had to tell me. What a delight.
And so I got on the road, after breakfast. I was in the mood for more adventure, and so I didn’t head home. I headed along the Hood Canal instead and out to see the lavender fields, which were all in full boom for the impending lavender festival. I stopped where I wanted, to see the beautiful vistas and just enjoy my adventure. Some of the fun ran thin when I couldn’t find a place to sleep; every “Vacancy” was a lie. I ended up in a yucky little place in Port Angeles, but the next day drove on to my favorite place: Port Townsend, to see my aunt and Uncle. My uncle made delicious crab melts, which we ate looking out at Mt Baker and the Straight. From the ferry home, I could see my aunt signal me with a mirror— something she always did for my kids as well, and I felt the same warm fuzzy I always feel with them. Deception Pass on the way home, and the beautiful fields of Skagit Valley, made my re-entry sweet.
Connecting with Meagan was a real treat. The person I imagined from her writing, was all that and more. I have little doubt that we will do it again, at my place or hers. When I started writing this blog two years ago, I never imagined that I would “meet” and connect with so many wonderful people. I saw it as a writing outlet, a place to build a “platform,” for getting published, and an opportunity to challenge myself to write more. It’s been so much more gratifying than I envisioned, so much richer. I have made friends and hope to meet more. I can imagine all kinds of meet and greets, now that the ice has been broken with Meagan and Mike. Who knows if I’ll publish that novel? But I’m a blogger, and I’m proud of it.
Now run over to Meagan’s blog and check out her post. It should be up by Monday evening. We are both posting about our visit, so let’s see what She Said.
An aside, but related to blogging: Just before I left to meet Meagan, Lesley at Bucket List Publications, announced a contest to win 2 airline tickets to Fiji, through Fiji Airways. The contest was sponsored by FA and Bucket List, and involved: tweeting, commenting on posts, liking posts, Facebooking (yes, a verb) and playing a Memory Game about Fiji. Some of these things you could only do once a day, but the game you could do as often as you wanted. I read the rules very carefully, and I went after that prize. I’ve wanted to go to Fiji since I was a kid. I played the Memory Game until my fingers were numb, and I was literally seeing double. And on Friday afternoon, I WON 2 AIRLINE TICKETS TO FIJI. Yes, I am yelling. I have not been able to say that in a normal volume, since I won! Not sure how this will play out yet, as I don’t know the specific dates, etc. I do know that I’m going to Fiji, and you can be sure I’ll blog about it!
Thanks for joining for the ride. Share your thoughts in the Comment section. Hit Like, if you liked this post. Duh. I mean, please…
What fun! I’ve met a few blogger friends in person and we haven’t had nearly the exciting adventures you’ve had. I’d love you to visit — can show you a good time in NY, etc. but probably will be in bed by 10. Yippee about Fiji– and you’re taking who again?
Who I’m taking to Fiji, seems to be the million dollar question! Of course, Smart Guy thinks he’s a shoe in. 😉 Meagan and I had a blast, and really connected. It was a blast, for sure. I have little doubt that you and I will have a visit sooner or later… her or there.
Oh, you extroverts. I’m so jealous of you! The thought of going to someone’s home I don’t know and staying with them sends rivers of fear through me. Thank God for social media. I can stay safely behind my laptop screen…
But it sounds like you had a wonderful time, and how gracious of Meagan to welcome you like that. What an experience. 🙂
I had an introvert moment or two, but no doubt Meagan and I are both exes. 😉 I’m still pretty determined to meet you in person Carrie… it will happen. Thanks for all the support and kind comments.
awwwwww!!!!! My brother and family live in OLYMPIA! I love that town. I was just there last October. I think we need a Blog Fest there, eh? Okay… I just scrolled through this post and got so excited I went right here to comment. Going back to read and click on and read some more and meet Meagan and read her blog. I have lots of family “out west.” (Puyallup is a great town, too, where one of my cousins lives. I have a cousin in “Monty” and one in Gig Harbor. My daughter used to live in Portland, OR. Oh, yeah… My heart is divided between Wisconsin and Washington/Oregon. I am currently living in Florida but see myself as a displaced Wisconsinite.) Anyway, I am so envious. I would have loved to join you ladies. 😉
Going back now to read. (I picked oysters, and ate them raw, on the Hood Canal back in 1983… it was a good day. So many wonderful memories.)
Love your enthusiasm Patti, and YES, it would be so great to have some kind of blog “hook up.” (If my kids are reading these comment, they just shuddered) I have this fantasy of making a blog get together, that lots could attend… I have so many folks I want to meet! Thanks for sharing Patti. 🙂
What a great story! I’ve been blogging just short of three years and have yet to meet another blogger face to face. If and when I do, I hope my encounter with him/her will be as memorable as the one between you and Meagan.
Thanks Fearless! I fear that you may have met some of us, but your head is well… up your butt, so maybe you didn’t see us? 😉 Seriously, I think it’s so much fun. I’ve had two great experiences so far; now, I just want to do more meetings!
How fun! And a great nostalgic walk through my old stomping grounds. The Olympia Farmers Market is one of the finest everywhere – just the right scale and everything you could want. CONGRATULATIONS
Thanks Mike! It was a blast… and yes, amazing farmer’s market, BUT, Bellingham’s was voted Best in the West by Sunset Magazine, and I have to agree. It was so fun kicking around there, and exploring the city. Loved it!
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I’m so glad you had such a great time, Dawn. I love road trips and it sounds so romantic to write with your new friends in a bar late at night! And FIJI! It is definitely on my list of things to do in this lifetime – I want to go diving there…Congratulations!
I plan to take diving lessons and get certified, before going Cathy. I’ve always wanted to, so now is the time! A little worried about my asthma, but totally willing to try! So excited! 🙂 And meeting Meagan… just fabulous!
What an awesome adventure! I love all of the pictures. I think it’d be so fantastic to meet and connect in real life with some of the wonderful people I’ve “met” through blogging. And, Fiji? FIJI?? That’s just freaking exciting!
Yes, Fiji is beyond amazing!! I can hardly wrap my head around it yet… but I plan to take diving lessons, and maybe try sky diving. As for the easier adventures, I think this started something and I plan to explore more blogger meetings. It’s just too fun.
What a fun adventure and wonderful connection. Writing while at a bar! Wow! Sounds like a wonderful few days.
The photographer in me is more than envious of your being over in the land of the lavender fields at this time of year. I’ve always wanted to get over there to take pictures. One day. However, I did discover Red Barn Lavender, one town north of where you are. They distill their own lavender essential oil, and have wonderful culinary lavender (and other products), as well as a beautifully tended garden (smallish).
And a huge congratulations on winning the tickets to Fiji! Can’t wait to see pictures and hear about your adventures when you go there. So more than cool!!!
I had always wanted to visit the lavender festival too. However, I think I’ll now make it a goal to go the week before! So few crowds and everything was in bloom! Just amazing to see. I am feeling very fortunate lately. 😉 Thanks for the sweet words.
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