I’m not generally a New Year’s resolution gal, but this year I made three resolutions: 1) to either get my novel published, or self-publish it 2) To own my game, and bring it, and 3) to meet some other bloggers face to face. Call it a Bucket List of things I wanted to accomplish in 2014. To update you: #1 is a lot harder than I thought (but I’m on it); #2 I’m working on, and #3 is paying off. I plan to attend the BlogHer convention in California in mid-July (a week after I get back from Scandinavia) and hope to meet a few of all y’all there. Note: sitting in North Carolina, I’m still enjoying a few of those fun local terms. If you’re attending BlogHer too, please leave a shout out in the comments and let’s plan to have a drink later this summer.
However, I couldn’t wait for July and when I decided to attend a wedding here in North Carolina, one of the first things I did was contact some bloggers I love. Emily, at The Waiting, was living not too far from here at the time I was deciding whether I could make the trip happen, but unfortunately for me she was in the middle of her big move, and we missed each other by a few weeks and a few hundred miles. Bummer, but Memphis is a kick ass city, and I would love to get back to Graceland– I’ll make my way to Emily eventually. Luckily for me, Jennie Saia who pens the blog Tip of My Tongue was in town– living only a short distance from my cousin’s house where I was staying. When I sent her message asking if she was up for a meet and greet, she enthusiastically told me to book the trip, and we started planning. I love to travel on my own, and a good road trip… so the idea that I’d get to attend a special wedding, see some family, go on a road trip, and meet another blogger… made this trip a bonus from the start.
There are people who have expressed some
shock surprise when I tell them that I have blogging “friends”… who I’ve never met. My kids have been known to tease me about my imaginary friends.
“Is that a real friend Mom, or a blogging friend?”
They sneer; I roll my eyes and try to ignore them. Oh you silly kids, there is so much about your mother, that you really don’t understand… I’ve learned, over time, that some of the people who read my blog regularly, and share comments with me, know me and I know them, a lot better than some of the people I interact with, in person. I share things on this blog, that I don’t necessarily chat about when I run into in person. Writing is how I best express myself sometimes, and the folks who follow along get that. When I told a few people that I would be spending a night at the home of a blogger who I hadn’t met in person yet, folks expressed concern. “Aren’t you a little nervous that she might be crazy?” Hmm, maybe she should be nervous about my crazy. “What if you don’t like her?” Well, I have my cousin nearby, and like I said: we share our writing, I felt like I knew here already. The bottom line: I wasn’t worried. I believe the world has a lot more good people than bad. Having read Jennie’s stories, I was very confident that she was in the first column. When you trust in the universe, and believe that if you free fall, you’ll land safely, you often do… and sometimes, there’s a bonus. (Amazing restaurant choice, Jennie! Score bonus points)
In this case, almost everything about Jennie Saia is a giant bonus. If by reading her blog you thought she was funny, thoughtful, interesting, and gifted writer, those are the obvious things. The extras come in how she lives her life. Her home is filled with colorful artwork and interesting things from her travels and personal life. Her husband is a sweet heart, who has a signature drink and is easy to spend time with. Her three dogs are lovies, and I was smitten right away. I had read about Addie, her lovely dog from Mexico, but I was unprepared for the pleading eyes of the two beagles who cuddled up, and were my shadows until I left. I’m a dog lover, and her dogs are sweetie pies! Jennie also has great taste in restaurants and she hit it out of the park with her selection for dinner. I may just return to North Carolina if for no other reason than to return to Bida Manda! An incredible little place that serves food from Laos, I loved every bite, and wanted to try a dozen other things on the menu! The interior was gorgeous, and I could have spent hours longer there… and gained even more weight!
Jennie also has colorful taste in bars. Yes, bars.We headed out after dinner, to chat some more and have a drink. Conversation was flowing smoothly, and we were both up for an evening out. When we entered the unimpressive brick building, off a side street, all I really noticed was that there was a killer bank of stairs in front of me, and they were showing a World Cup game– it wasn’t quite what I’d expected from Jennie, given her choice of restaurant. However, when we got up stairs, she informed me that we were not going to the sports bar we’d entered, but the bar behind the book-case. “What?” I was utterly confused. But sure enough, there was an incredibly atmospheric bar, hidden behind a fake book-case– bring it on! I felt like I’d fallen down an interesting, magical, charming rabbit hole. Great music, unusual drinks (make mine an Eastern Medicine from now on) and good company. Score, bonus!
There was lots to chat about in the blogging world. It’s a place that our spouses and “outside” friends don’t necessarily understand. If I try to tell Smart Guy about some on-line mystery, or the wild and wooly happenings with another blogger, or the dissolution of a big tent that we all played in, he just rolls his eyes… or when he’s being careful, he asks questions that only make it clearer that he doesn’t really get it. I don’t blame him, but what a joy to talk about blogs we love, bloggers we’ve met, and the world of writing publicly. Each time I post a blog I’m putting myself out there; we all are. It’s a vulnerable thing to do, but if you’re a writer, it comes with the territory. I don’t really expect my friends and family on the outside to get it. Sitting with another blogger was a joy. Jennie got it, and we had a great time connecting over posts that we both remember and happenings we both experienced. Suddenly the world of blogging, felt that much realer, sitting there in a hidden bar.
When we got home, we sat around for a while longer and shared more stories. Jennie’s a story-teller and she loves to say: “tell me/her/us the story about…” It was a little surreal as she referenced things that I’d forgotten I’d written about. See: we put it in writing and sometimes people are actually paying attention. What a treat! A new friend, who had so many of the blanks already filled in. We saw big lightening criss cross the sky on our way home, and some fire flies on our walk, before bed. Serious bonus bonanza! (I must note here: I was nearly as fun while having our photo taken… and clearly looking a bit wiped out by this point. Jennie, however, was having a blast! It may have something to do with her attraction to our photographer… )
I slept like a baby in Jennie’s guest room, surrounded by art and colors that made my heart swell. We both have a mermaid bathroom; our taste in art and colors is very similar; our thoughts about the past, writing, and some other key life topics are similar too. I felt like I’d known her for so much longer than the six hours between when we met and when I crawled into bed. Each time I meet another blogger, my beliefs are reaffirmed, that the world is filled with great people. It’s just a bonus that some of them blog, and I get to meet them in person!
PS) If any of you bloggers are in Iceland, Denmark, Norway or Sweden (the last two are not finalized yet), I leave on Monday. Give me a shout out and we can share a skøl!
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