Thursday, April 25, 2013

In Real Life

Some blog posts I just dash off in one sitting because they need to go out in a timely manner to make sense.  Others I poke at for a long time before they are ready.  Always there are at least a few blog posts in progress in my draft folder to work on as I find time.  Which means sometimes things go out back to back that were conceived during very different frames of mind.

So if anyone found my thoughts about the value of online friendship and social media to be somewhat in conflict with the post that immediately followed about our family's relative lack of electronic devices, you were correct.  They were two sides of the same coin that I flip around regularly, and I started those posts at different times and for different reasons. (The second one I didn't even plan to talk about smartphones, that just kind of happened.)

In any case, this is one of those timely manner posts that needs to be dashed off before it gets away from me, and it relates directly to my post about virtual friendships.

I got to meet writer/blogger Jane Roper in real life on my recent trip to Boston.

Photo by Alastair Moock (who was also a pleasure to meet).
At first it seemed we were destined never to meet because her daughter was stuck in the hospital again (ah, the fun of cancer--I have no idea how Jane deals with all she does and stays so coherent and sane), and then, you know, bombings that shut down the city.  But at the end of the last full day of my workshop a window of time opened up in the evening and I was able to drive over to her house after her kids were in bed and chat for a couple of hours.

The circumstances were not ideal because we were both tired after an exhausting week, and the suspect in the marathon bombing case was caught just as I arrived so it was impossible not to put on the news for a bit.  But I'm really glad I went.

I think I prattled on too much the way I do when I'm tired, I was looking quite rumpled after a week of living out of a suitcase, and I'm sure every inch of me smelled like varnish, but Jane was welcoming and sweet.  She's tiny!  Who knew?  (Or I'm just huge.)  And just as funny and smart as she is in her writing.

Which reminds me, if you like her blog and haven't read her book Double Time (just out in paperback) you really must.  I laughed out loud to the point of probably annoying people in the airport when I was reading it.  But it's also poignant, and provides a heartfelt look into the challenges of raising twins and her struggle with depression.  (I also discovered she'll sign your copy if you're in her living room and ask nicely.) 

I don't know if meeting virtual friends in real life may always work out so well, but I'm encouraged to try it again.  I feel I could have happily talked to Jane for hours without any awkward lulls in the conversation because it felt like I already knew her.  Which I guess I kind of already did.  But to put facial expressions and gestures and a voice to a person whose writing I've followed for years was such a treat.  I hope her next book is such a smash she has to go on tour and then has an excuse to visit Milwaukee.  (Not as many Dunkin' Donuts here to choose from, but boy do we have some frozen custard worth sharing.)


  1. You've got a standing invitation at our house if you're ever in Washington and maybe we'll convince Rach to drive up. So glad you had such a great time even when it seemed like circumstances were stacked against you.

    1. Ooh, may take you up on that someday! DC is on our short list of places to take the kids on a trip in the next couple of years.

  2. After emailing you after visiting Milwaukee last summer, I have decided that I am going to screw up my courage and come into your store and introduce myself when my husband and myself are in Milwaukee for our friends' wedding this July.

  3. Oh, I'd absolutely drive up! :o)

  4. I think in many ways, we DO know one another when we read each others blogs. So many of us put so much of ourselves into our posts it would be hard to NOT know one another.

    I'm glad your visit went so well. I'm unfamiliar with Jane, but will be popping on over to check her out. :o)

    And, if you're ever in the Williamsburg area, you're certainly invited over! :o)

  5. Korinthia, thank you so much for the kind words, and it was SO great to meet you in person, even under rather strange circumstances. I really hope that things are much, much duller in Boston next time you come to visit.

    I felt like I already knew you as well, and you were just as warm and smart as you are in your writing, but taller and funnier than I knew. Here's to the familiarity and surprise of Internet-turned-real-life friendships!

    And I hope to see you in Milwaukee sometime...


    1. I'd love to show you guys around Milwaukee.

      And hey, I'm ahead of a trend! Congratulations on making the NY Times Motherlode Blogroll! You've been on my blogroll since the beginning, but nice to know you'll get the real exposure you deserve.

  6. You two are too cute!