A big part of my virtual world is about to mesh with my other world. The world where my forty-plus mom-body hangs out and cooks dinner and folds clothes, and teaches college students to paint, specifically. Yeah, for lack of a better word, the real one.
But both terms, real and virtual, in describing these two distinct worlds, seem like such a slight to what happens for me in the blogosphere. We laugh, we cry over each other's posts. We encourage each other. We seek (and gain) understanding. Sometimes we offer advice. (I probably give too much). We share funny stories and deep spiritual experiences. We come to know a side of each other that the rest of the world probably misses. Completely. I wonder, what could possibly be more real than these "virtual" friendships I have built up over the past year? I know these women. I often pray for them. I love them.
Several of my witty and wonderful blogging buddies will be in town for a writers conference this week. (I'm really flattered that so many of my readers are professional writers.) And I will get to meet them in person. In some ways I'm beyond excited. Yet at the same time, my idiosyncratic insecurities set in: (will they find my in-person quirkiness annoying? will it matter that I'm not thin or rich or beautiful or...) and I hope they will recall this post. But truly, those insecurites belong to another, worldlier world. They are non-issues in the blogosphere.
The fun starts tomorrow. And it's an all-star line-up. Some of them are my heroes. I'm opening my doors to them, breaking bread with them, inviting them into my regular life. (I might even vacuum before they come.) But in some ways I doubt we'll be any more bonded by meeting in person than we already are by befriending one another in the blogosphere. These virtual strangers are already my very real friends.
p.s. If you are interested in meeting Heidi Ashworth and hearing her talk about her novel, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, at my book group on Saturday night, email me (or leave a comment) and I'll email you the time and the address to chez charrette.