Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friends Indeed

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.


  1. I had so much fun Sunday. Getting to sit down and dig right (write?) in was such a treat. I do believe that our group is the beginning of something special.

  2. "Until it's not".

    We put ourselves out there, and maybe the connections are just what's needed to get these books done. It was so strange since we didn't talk too much about our actual work, how much I came out of that meet-up knowing what I had to work on. It was as if being around all of our differences and similarities, but with such love and support, was what was needed to move forward, to make it better.

    And I do believe in our writings, but not as much as I believe in all of you.

  3. "Until it's not" So true Sherry.

    (PS - I'm afraid this post will not qualify for that tiara we're tussling over.)

  4. Okay. I've tried to post this comment twice but for some strange reason it's not accepting it. I don't care. I'm back and giving it another attempt. Wish me luck.

    The first time I saw that photograph of all of you in Chicago, my first thought was, "I want to hug Sherry." One day I hope to get that chance.


  5. Yes. Until it's not.

    Like you, Sherry, I feel like meeting one or two or five along the way --- and keeping in touch every week --- has been a benefit I never expected when I started blogging. Who knew!

    And I never, never expected to meet anyone In Person. I will never forget, my meet-ups started when AmyG saw that I'd mentioned (on my blog) The Black Swan. She sent me a note. She was close-ish, kinda sorta, to there, she said. The next thing I knew I was driving across a midwestern state to meet her at a Monastery.

    Remain open. That's been my lesson in 2011.

  6. Oh Sherry...I love that I know you IRL and that I can pop down and share my blogging woes anytime I want. Plus, I love that I am able to share books with you, tell you stories about my dog and that we share a common bond through Diet Coke.

  7. Amy: Kinda magical.

    Lyra: Plus the productivity and accomplishments of all you writers is enough to guilt me into working harder.

    Downith: I have to take that crown off occasionally in order to scrunch my hair.

  8. MSB: Aw... Glad you persisted long enough to post that comment. Our time will come.

    Teri: Yes, I will definitely remain open. In fact, I'm open next weekend. Anyone?

    Amanda: And speaking of the dog--When are you bringing him in? I need a puppy fix.

  9. Sherry, I hope you are scrunching your hair with Product!

  10. Downith: HA! Believe it or not, I finally got the hair styling down to a science. Then the morning of our little writers' meetup, I got caught in a downtown Milwaukee typhoon before heading to Chicago. The day's hair failure is now documented over at Lyra's for all of blog eternity. *sigh* At least Roger Ebert gave me a thumbs up.

  11. So happy you had a road trip to see Kyle your college son, to see old friends Peggy and Mike, to meet new friends from the blogging group. All about YOU..!

    Incidentally what's this "you all discussed your mothers" thing? All about ME...!

    Love you, your Mother

  12. I wish I could have been there.

    I wanted to hug you, too!

  13. Mom: No worries. You came away with your reputation relatively unscathed. In fact, some nice words were spoken about you, all around the group. (Call it an extra birthday gift.)

    Sarah: We were very tempted to take a little side-trip and visit our favorite librarian. Next time, you need to call in sick.

  14. One of these days, I'm going to meet you. I HAVE to!

  15. Lisa: We will. I have no doubt. But if you come to visit, don't show up with the same kind of present you brought Lyra.

  16. Sounds like fun. My neighbor who I walk with in the mornings runs an extremely popular facebook page and blog and I never knew for about a year! We're all like FBI agents. I too never expected to make friends blogging. Pleasant surprise.

  17. This was so touching, Sherry.

    I was semi-reluctant to start a blog at first. I knew I wanted an author website, but the thought of exposing myself day in and day out through a blog terrified me. When I agreed to do it, I wanted the blog tucked away on some other page on my website until my husband said, "It has to be the main page, the main focus, of your site. People will visit your site for the new content, not to see static pages featuring your bio and lists of awards." I knew he was right and I dived in.

    Once I started, I began to genuinely enjoy myself. Then I met some of you wonderful ladies and the whole blogging thing felt more real, more important. Then, at a party, someone asked me why I blog. I mentioned the community, the blogger friends, the fun -- until someone else interrupted and said, "Didn't you originally start the blog because you have a book coming out and you wanted to build your site?" I paused and then said, "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that."

    I'm looking forward to meeting some of you in person soon!

  18. LM: I'm thinking I know exactly whom you mean. Small worlds, yes?

    Lisa: Sorry, I have plans that day.

    Laura: Community, friends, fun, yadda yadda yadda. I'm just looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Living Arrangements. It's out the end of this month, right?

  19. You definitely would have fit right in with our "Barn" crowd. It's too bad we never bumped into each other. But I'm grateful that our mutual friend from Facebook "introduced" us.

    Doing my blog has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Now I've been not only able to meet you this year, I've gotten together with my Pittsburgh blog friends on 3 separate occasions. Such is the power of the written word.

  20. Bluz: Somehow I think, if we could go back in time, we'd find our paths did indeed cross: If not at a party, then at least at Peaches. But our friendship today will do just fine.

  21. Someday it will be my turn to meet you, Sherry--and Amyg and Lyra and Lizi and all the rest of us. I like having the possibility in the back of my mind. It'll be a reward for something or other, someday.

  22. Averil: I'm thinking it will be the reward for finishing your newest book. And for getting that six-figure, two-book deal.

  23. I love your writing. You're a gem, Sherry. How could I not come back?