“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain’s famous quote, might apply to my absence from all things writing. I’ve been digging deep, and working on stuff. But writing always finds me… and pulls me back from the edge. And so I’m back, with words about other people.
There are so many things that bring us together in life. We meet friends in school, through parenting, jobs, clubs and shared activities. In today’s hyper linked-in world, we can and do meet many people on-line, who we might never spend time with face to face. And yet, we connect.
Blogging has expanded my world in ways that I never anticipated, when I started blogging almost 6 years ago. I have discovered millions of words that move and shake me, make me laugh, make me think, sometimes push my buttons, and very few have hurt me. I’ve met people who I feel like I know, and people I’m glad I got a glimpse of. There is no doubt, my life has been changed by my blogging life. Some of you have become people who truly inspire me, or lift me when I’m treading water, or who just pique my curiosity and interest on a regular basis.
But it is rare and precious when that connection that is elevated by real human contact, and I feel infinitely grateful for having had that with some of my blogging buddies. I have made an effort to meet people in person, whenever possible. If we’ve connected on line, and one of us is going to be in the other’s area, I hope we can meet. If it weren’t for BlogHer, I might not have met Emily, Julie, Katrina, Kelly, James, Samara, Julie, Amy, and Tonya. At those intensive weekends, a few friendly faces made all the difference. Meeting Arianna Huffington, even briefly, opened doors that I couldn’t imagine at the time. And getting to chat for a minute with The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson, was icing on the BlogHer cake!! Reading her blog regularly is great, but she is a true gem in person! I feel so fortunate to have spent time with these wonderful writers, and to have made connections with some of them, that has gone beyond leaving comments or reading each others’ work.
Ironically, I met Lish at my dentist’s office, many years ago. But I had only just started blogging and didn’t know what write-outs and a writing community would eventually mean to me. She moved on, and we re-connected on blogging friend Rochelle’s weekly flash fiction site–– Friday Fictioneers –– where I fell in love with Lish’s sharp writing and vivid characters. Recently, she agreed to join the small writing group I’m in, and I now get the benefits of expanding our connection with delicious appetizers and great writing, twice a month. When blogging friend Mike settled down locally, for a short time, we were able to share a few lunch dates. Now he’s exploring new places, and I get to follow his adventures on line again. Meagan and I met at a writer’s conference. A year or two later, I took a leap of faith and went to spend a weekend at her place. Not only was she not a psycho killer, but her beautiful world of great writing friends, the coolest place I’ve ever gone to write-out, sweet moments with her incredible girl, and chickens, taught me to really trust my gut and be open to those special opportunities. It made it easier to leap bigger and visit Jennie, while I was visiting family and friends in North Carolina. She wooed me with humor, thoughtful conversation, and a super cool bar, behind a hidden wall. While I miss her words, since she’s pulled back from blogging, it’s made the journey of watching her become a mother, that much more meaningful. Lisa has become a friend who I stay in touch with, and look forward to seeing whenever I’m in NYC. We share so much in common: age, kids and life experiences, that it’s always sweet when we connect. Melissa welcomed me to Portland, and to an afternoon with her gorgeous boy. Björn and his wife, took my son and me to lunch, in Stockholm, and made us feel right at home, with fresh local strawberries, tales of life in Sweden and lots of laughs. Tak!
I feel lucky that I’ve had so many wonderful people come in and out of my life, through writing. The people who take the time to comment–– some of them over and over, who have reached out, and have become cyber friends, are people I care deeply about, though we have never met in person. Heather, Audra, Carrie, Susan, Brenda, Louise, Honie, and others, not only write gorgeous words, but have more often than they know, said just the right words, at just the right time. They have consistently supported me and inspired me, through their meaningful work, and their kindnesses too many to name. Lucky, is probably too simple a word.
Marian put in countless hours reading my work and helping edit chapters. I put in as as much time editing her wonderful books, as she figured out whodunnit. In our group, we shared important and personal things, and we will always know each other, through the words and deeds we shared. She became a good friend, who holds a special place in my heart. While we’re not in a writing group together anymore, I still catch myself wondering: “What would Marian say?”
Add to this already incredible list of connections, the fact that I’ve had countless wonderful readers respond to my work on Huffington Post, and Tales From the Motherland. Some of these people are not writers, they come to read. There’s the young man who has been chatting with me for weeks, about travel to Israel. He read one of my HuffPo articles on travel in Israel, and reached out on my TFTM Facebook page . His enthusiasm for my insights, and genuine passion for travel and life, is infectious. We have never met, but for a few weeks, I carried him around in my thoughts: Oh, I know a great youth hostel… I never take a comment for granted; the connection is there, as soon as I read. There are folks who have commented on many of my pieces, who I have had no other contact with, but their encouragement and feedback fills me.
Blogging is a strange and magical thing. It’s easy sometimes to feel that you are putting yourself out there, and you don’t always know if it matters. I’m a bleeding heart in real life, and I bleed on the page–– each time I put something out. The fact that so many wonderful people have read my words and supported me in writing them, is something I feel grateful for on a regular basis. There are days when it truly sustains me, in ways that are so deep and so meaningful, that I am overcome with gratitude and love.
If you follow the links above (which took me ages to add), you can check out some of these wonderful people. You can connect with them through their writing, and their words, and through the magic of this platform.The links here are to folks who have reached out over and over, or who I have shared some special time with. I know I’ve missed people. If you know me, you know I will sincerely feel sorry for that, as the names come to me. I will chew on guilt, and wish I’d done better. I bleed a lot. But, know that if we’ve connected, I hold that with me all of the time… not just when I type out words. Know that these connections are special.
In the next few posts I will expand on this, by sharing some special meetings that have impacted me in the most meaningful ways. Jen, Jenny, Sarah and Cathy. These four women have changed how I see the world, and been there for me, in ways that are hard to explain. So, I will try… one post at a time. Go check out their words, and in the case of Cathy, her photography. Then, watch for more, as I share these connections with you. Tonight, I am lucky to be in Denver, visiting my son, and so I get to have dinner with Cathy–– and we will connect, and fill up on all that magic, that comes from reaching out and finding our people. Lucky, is indeed too small a word.
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KAPOW! I didn’t meet the 2016 goal for Likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, no spam.
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