Sometimes you have no idea where a road will lead you until you've been wandering it a while.
I had no real expectations when I began this blog over two years ago. I figured it to be a short-term device to keep my creative juices flowing while I took a break from writing a novel. Any actual readers, outside of obliging family members and a few close friends, would simply be an unexpected bonus.
What I never fathomed were the friends with whom I'd reconnect, nor the new ones I'd make, along the way.
Through this little internet writing gig, I've rekindled friendships with people I haven't seen in thirty years. And I've struck up electronic relationships with dozens of readers whom I've never met and likely never will encounter in person.
But the greatest phenomenon of all has been developing a community of fellow writers and bloggers. And eventually meeting some of them face-to-face.
Who'd have thought writers are real people? That the words appearing each day on my computer monitor were typed by hands I would one day shake? That the personal stories shared with me grew from the creative minds--and warm hearts--of people whose arms might eventually wrap around me in a mutual bear hug?
First, I met the fabulous Amanda. Except little did I know when I read her comment on another blog and followed it back to her own website, that I'd actually seen her around and said hello in passing because she worked in my own office building? (Seriously, what are the odds?)
Then, I spent a weekend this past June with Betsy. Including Betsy as part of my own writing community is either a clear understatement or a vast overstatement, since she is the queen. An award-winning author and kick-ass literary agent, her two books (especially the one with the warm and wonderful personal inscription) hold prominent places on my bookshelf. Her blog is the first I ever read--and it's still the best. So is she.
I met Bluzdude in August. He's originally from these parts, and if we'd known each other when we were teenagers, we surely would have been great friends then, too.
This past weekend, I traveled to Chicago for the biggest meet-up of all. Four of us--a group of women writers who met through Betsy's blog and have become fast friends in a circle of more than a dozen--spent the day together.
AmyG, Lyra, Teri and I talked for hours. We shared our thoughts about writing, about our day jobs, about our mothers and our children, about our successes and our struggles.
We discovered how different we are from each other, yet how very much alike. We talked. We listened. We nodded. We hugged.
If we'd had a full week to spend together instead of a single afternoon, I doubt the conversation would have ever run dry.
Some relationships, even ones forged through printed words on a computer monitor, end up meaning so much more.
I never dreamed, when I typed my first story on this blog in April 2009, that people like you might see it. That you'd find anything I said worth reading. That you might take the time to comment and then come back the next week, and the next.
Writing, so often, seems a solitary and lonely effort.
Until it's not.
Not going to bother with any trite questions here. Just two words: Thank you.