Hands down, one of my favorite aspects of blogging has been the connections I've made in this odd and wonderful land. Truth be told, I didn't enter the blogging ranks to find new friends, but it turns out I've made some. This has been a tremendous, if unanticipated perk, of being here. What's even more amazing is that I've been fortunate enough to meet some of these blog buds in real life.
Who are these "virtureal" friends whom I've now encountered in person?
Well, first, there's Lindsey. If you're a regular here, I imagine you've visited Lindsey's exquisite blog A Design So Vast as well. If not, please do so. I would say Lindsey is the first true blog friend I made. Over the past two-plus years, Lindsey and I have traded countless emails and have indulged in scores of meaningful phone conversations. Even though Lindsey lives many miles from Manhattan in Cambridge, Massachusetts I've hung out with her several times; she even attended my Life After Yes launch party. Lindsey has become a good friend of mine; Often, we blog about similar topics, about embracing life's melancholy as rich material for our own thinking and writing. But even beyond our blogs, Lindsey and I have very similar attitudes it seems about life and love and parenting. She's the real deal.
And then there's Danielle. Again, many of you have likely heard of the fire-starting genius Danielle LaPorte. Well, I stumbled upon Danielle's brilliant blog White Hot Truth when I first began blogging myself. Immediately, I was in love with her musings; It's not often that you encounter a brethren modern day philosopher. I first met Danielle when I hosted a Firestarter gathering in my old apartment. And Danielle didn't disappoint. She sat cross-legged in my big white wing chair and inspired us all. To think big and do big. To be who it is we are supposed to be. Recently, Danielle was in town for business and she made the effort to stop by and meet my girls. We sat in my garden sipping water from blue plastic wine glasses. She fed Little Girl a bottle while the big girls skipped around us. We talked about books and babies, about life and loss. I said to myself, She is a friend of mine. A real friend.
And then we have Gale. Gale was one of my first and loyal commenters here at ILI and these days writes beautifully at her own blog Ten Dollar Thoughts. I can always count on Gale to make me think, and to notice things I might not have otherwise. Gale and I email regularly and she is an exceedingly thoughtful and generous person; She checked in all the time during my pregnancy and sent me an incredibly meaningful baby gift when Little Girl was born. I've had the privilege of meeting Gale in person twice now. The first was a double date with our respective husbands. We went for a yummy Mexican meal and had a great time. More recently, Gale came to Manhattan on business and she and I went for dinner a-deux. Again, the conversation was rich. Another good and genuine friend.
And most recently? One week ago, I had lunch with Kristen of Motherese. Kristen is a fellow Yalie and mother of three. In fact, Kristen just welcomed her littlest babe (Baby Sister) one month before I welcomed my littlest babe (Little Girl). Kristen's blog is one of my all-time favorites; She writes eloquently and uniquely about the world and wilderness that is modern motherhood. Over salads and ice coffees, Kristen and I covered much territory; the delicate balance between parenthood and prose, the dilemmas that come with blogging, the postpartum haze from which we are both just now emerging. I guess it could have been weird having lunch with someone I've never met before, but it just wasn't. I sat there and quickly realized something: This is just a lunch date with a friend.
And there are others, wonderful others whom I've met more briefly. At BlogHer last summer (when I was newly pregnant with Little Girl and feeling terribly nauseous), I met some fabulous other bloggers: Mama from The Elmo Wallpaper, Denise from Musings de Mommy, Corinne from Trains, Tutus & Tea Time, Becca from Drama for Mama, Sarah from Momalom, Christine from Coffees & Commutes, Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary and Heather from Theta Mom. I wish I felt better at the time and could have spent more time getting to know these women, but I trust we will all cross paths again. I hope so at least. And many months ago, I had pastries and coffee with Nic from My Bottle's Up and her handsome husband. A few weeks ago, I finally had the privilege of meeting the fabulous and smart Kathryn of Marbury v. Madison Avenue at a delightful book party downtown.
I'm no doubt forgetting a few of you here. Hope not. The point though is not to rattle off a laundry list of names. The point, I think, has something to do with the fact that there are real and amazing people behind the blogs we all read. I think it's easy to forget this, to lose ourselves in well-polished words and stunning stories, to stop at the screen. Blogs? They aren't just cyber-stops. They are bits and pieces of real creatures, living and breathing and thinking and worrying individuals.
And I've been lucky enough to meet some of these individuals. To glimpse the smiles and souls behind the screens. To meet some new friends.
Do you ever forget that there are real people behind the words you read - online or off? Have you made any friends online? Have you met any bloggers in real life? Were these people like you expected them to be or do you think we are all probably quite different in real life?
Are you a blogger in the Manhattan area? If so, would you be interested in possible "real life" meet-ups?