Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Close Encounter of the Blog Kind

I started blogging in 2006.

No, clearly not here so don't bother looking at my archives for anything earlier than September, 2009. 

I started...uh...on Friendster (I think) at the recommendation of my sister, Dr. J, before moving within just a couple of months to LiveJournal. I can't remember now why I made the switch back then but I stuck to LiveJournal for roughly 3 years and loved it. I loved the combination of blogging and friendship - reading lengthy tomes or short snippets from people's lives and commenting. Occasionally, I miss that interaction as Facebook just isn't conducive to the same kinds of give and take. LiveJournal felt media for people who actually liked to write. It was a community of people who wrote, who read, who cared about each other and the original content each person posted.

I had no awareness that there were people out there blogging on stand alone blogs - people like The Bloggess, like Dooce, like Pioneer Woman, like Crazy Aunt Purl - who had eleventy-billion followers and could make a living blogging.

And then? Then, in 2009, I did a Google Search for something akin to "what does it mean when he doesn't call". No, I'm not kidding. Shuddup. And stumbled across She Just Walks Around With It. I have read (and continue to read even though she's sporadic since the birth of her two children) every single post Kristy has ever posted to her blog. That's alotta entries, folks.

It was Kristy who introduced me to The Bloggess, to Crazy Aunt Purl, to Dooce. More importantly, it was Kristy who introduced me to BlogHer - she worked for them for awhile - and to an entire community of people who blog for personal satisfaction as well as for profit.

It was Kristy who first put the idea in my head that people who blog, read blogs and/or comment on blogs would actually want to meet in meat space. It was Kristy who initiated me into the ways of blogging conferences.

I was intrigued.

I was also terrified.

Who would actually want to, you know, read and then meet me?

Regardless, I started Jane In Her Infinite Wisdom, mainly, because I wanted my own blogging identity far removed from the LiveJournal community. I joined BlogHer. I began reading and occasionally commenting on other people's blogs. I even, a few times, worked up the courage to comment on Kristy's blog. I even went so far as to start posting links to my posts on Facebook (at my mother's request). And I was THRILLED when people far and wide - some I knew, some I didn't - began reading and, sometimes, commenting. wasn't until NaBloPoMo 2011 when I truly found what I was looking for...somewhere I belong. Somewhere amid the food bloggers, the mommy bloggers, the political/celebri-gossip/fashion bloggers was a sweet little niche in which I fit with a group of people who might be foodies and mommies and politically opinionated but who, generally speaking, blogged about...well...everything and nothing in particular. Like me.

My people. The Seinfeld bloggers.

For the last month or so, I've been thinking about how wonderful it would be to get to hang out in person with y'all. I've frankly fantasized about a blogger coffee klatch - maybe in Chicago (near the center of the contiguous United States without being in, you know, Nowhere, Kansas) so all but Word Nerd would have to travel some distance. Not a conference and nothing nearly so formal as even a workshop. Just...friends meeting up to drink wine, hang out and gab.


When the M Half of the M - n - J Show e-mailed me late last week to let me know she would be in the Denver area this week and asked if I'd be interested in having lunch or a drink with her while she was here, I was ecstatic!!!! Close Encounter! Of the BLOG KIND!!!

Today was that day.

I must confess she and I were both nervous. On my part, I wondered what she would think of me in person. I wondered what we would talk about for an hour plus change having never met each other. I was afraid we'd stall out after exchanging hellos.

You know what?

Have you ever conversed with a long-time friend, one you haven't seen or spoken to in awhile - perhaps a college chum - and your meeting is like a tumbled waterfall of words as you rush to catch up?

It was exactly like that.

We met at Street Kitchen Asian Bistro1 for lunch and, for over an hour, reveled in a gabfest to rival all gabfests about everything!

Sincerely. Meeting the M Half was like meeting up with a dear, long-lost friend.

It was the most enjoyable lunch I can remember.

So...for those of you nervous about potentially meeting other bloggers and afraid you'll have nothing to talk about? I want to say to you now, "You are both bloggers, for crying out loud! Don't we all have diarrhea of the mouth?" Trust me, you'll be just fine.

And now, after all that worry and anxiety, I've made a real life friend. One I would recognize on the street and give a loving hug.

Close encounters of the blog kind are pretty awesome. 

1: Owen. O? Owen? O! Pay attention. Street Kitchen Asian Bistro. It's in our work 'hood - like Sahara - but it's run by the P17 chef and is just as, if not more so, amazing!!!


cdnkaro said...

Glad it went well! I feel the same way about the blogging community I've become a part of since this past November. It's truly special. I also would have the same fears about meeting inter-friends, I think. Though that's less of a worry for me as most of you are American and I don't get to travel much these days:)

Gaelyn said...

Just added three more RV bloggers to my face meet Monday. Long lost friends for sure. If the communication is provocative, entertaining and interesting, then a friendship is established.

Go for that Dream idea.

Masked Mom said...

I'm so excited for both of you that it turned out so well.

I remember when I was getting ready to see Mr. High School after 20+ years, I said to my sister, "I totally want to see him, I just don't want him to see me." Slightly different reasons, but I kind of feel a little the same regarding meeting bloggy friends in person. I guess it's important to note, though, that not only did I survive that meeting with Mr. High School, one of my most important (though brief) adult friendships came out of it.

Anonymous said...

I love that you guys got together, and I think hanging out in Chicago is a fanflippintastic idea.

Lucy said...

First: I am so glad it went well, and I hear more stories like this from bloggers all the time!

Second: I keep thinking of going to conference and chickening out.

Third: I would love to meet you and many of my blogging friends.

Fourth: NaBloPoMo I did many, many years ago and some of the people I hooked up with on my first NaBloPoMo are still my most diehard followeres and I follow them, some have stopped blogging and yet they still read me and comment. It is by far my favorite community too, and I have tried many!

Jo said...

I'm so jealous! That's so cool that you were able to meet. I have a long list of bloggers I'd love to hang with for a few hours.
Chicago is nice in August! No winter meetings there, please, Michigan is bad enough and we don't have the wind.
Happy for you both, what a nice memory you made together. ♥

The GBE2, BFF and Writers' Post groups are pretty great people! Keepers, for sure.

Unknown said...

So happy that the meet up went well. I think about meeting my blogging friends quite a bit, and fully expect to meet a lot of y'all one day. It makes me nervous, too, but I'm sure it will be a non-stop gabfest in the best way.
Maybe by the BlogHer conference next year, if not before?
Nablopomo 2011 was something else. I still can't get over it-- Big Blogger Schmutzie says she met her "tribe" through blogging, and that sums it up for me, too.
And here's a hug because I've missed you, Jane! Stupid day job has been getting in the way of my blog reading. :)

Margi said...

Oh, so fun! Real friends are awesome! I wrote a snippets about it as well:

Just Jane said...

Karo: I have a passport and I'm unafraid to use it.

WN: Somehow this needs to happen.