Here are some things that happened while I was gone:

1.  When you don’t write in your blog, but you keep your feedreader open, you have a lot more time to listen to what other people have to say.

2.  This makes you remember something you really value about being part of a community of people who write and read blogs:  People other than you have a lot to say — sometimes what they say is incredibly funny, or inspiring, or thought-provoking.

3.  There’s real joy out there.  Nova, whose blog I’ve been reading for a long time, and who thought at one time that no one would ever want her books, has written and sold a second book.  It came out today.  It sounds wonderful.

4.  There’s unimaginable sorrow.  Elizabeth, whose blog I’ve also been reading for a long time, is very sick and in hospice care.  She’s such a talented writer, and a wonderfully loving person.  Here is a story she wrote.  If you read one thing today, this should be it.

5.  Although it’s true that I learned a lot of other things while I was away, tonight these seem like enough to illustrate my point.  The people I’ve met while blogging aren’t virtual people.  They’re real, as real as flesh and bone, and as important.


19 thoughts on “Back

  1. I have to confess, when I stray away from my blog, it’s generally because I haven’t the bandwidth to cope with pretty much anything beyond what’s in front of my nose. My relationship with my favourite blogs in my reader in rather like that of me and my closer friends at the moment. We see each other very rarely but kind of pick up where we left off without worrying too much about the time in between.

    • Hi Michael – I see a lot about how estranging the anonymous internet is, and of course this is true. But it’s also the means by which an American can meet a Englishman at the British Museum and then have a nice lunch, something that would not have happened before the blog. And yes, once you know someone through their blog, you can indeed pick up where you left off without any hurt feelings. xo

  2. My problem has always been that there’s so much out there, it’s hard to find the good stuff. It’s nice when the good stuff finds me (like you did!) My (online) friend, Kristan Hoffman, found me too, 2-3 years ago, and I’m still grateful to her for inspiring me to finish the first book of the series I’m currently working on. The virtual communities out there are amazing, and if I’ve read your post right, it sounds like you really been able to savor what people have to offer during your break from your own blog.

    • Sonje, Yup, I have been having a great time reading and not writing in my own blog. I can’t remember what led me to your blog; it’s that one click leads to another thing, but I’m amazed by how quickly you can tell what’s the good stuff for you. It’s wonderful and a little scary to think about how much these connections depend on luck and clicking around — but maybe that is just how life has always worked. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how your writing’s going, and to reading your series!

  3. Lily, I’ve been neither reading nor writing. Maybe because I don’t know how to do either. Seriously. Chasing after a 19-month-old leaves little time to do much of that. Not really complaining but I feel like I can’t manage time well at all anymore. Not good! But I know what you mean about leaving your reader open and listening to others. In the few moments I’ve had to read blogs and sites that I love, I’m always amazed to find some real gems, to see that friends are doing interesting things.

    And yes, isn’t that great about Nova? I can’t wait to get my hands on her book. I read Dani Noir and loved it. And hey, I found Nova through you!!! xo, m

    • Mimi’s 19 months old? Good lord. I can see how you don’t have a lot of time to write or read. It’ll come back. And I’ll be around to read it. And yes, yay for Nova! xo

  4. Love writing, Lily, and good observations too. Cathy Davidson of Duke University and HASTAC have been having a rather involved and interesting online conversation about technology and anthropology lately. Is it the technology or is it us? Increasingly the effects of technology on our lives are less possible to comb apart from what we are (or were) without it.

    I am very sorry about your ailing friend. And very pleased for your published one! Cheers from me to you.

  5. As the happy recipient of your lovely comments these past few weeks, I have to say that you are the perfect reader, Lily, with the most generous and enriching perspective on posts. Everything in life is about getting back what you put in with some added interest (apart from the commercial publishing market – that’s a sink 😉 ). It’s because you put so much of your loveliness into reading posts that so much comes back to you.

    • litlove, Yer sweet, as my friend Toni would say. I really liked your post about the bookstore, by the way — it made me wish I could work in a library again. And who knows? Maybe I will.

  6. I love so many people I know only “online” that I can no longer count them, and they are real people and those are real friendships. Different but real.

    And on your Recently Reads for May? Read Dominique Browning’s piece on Botox in the NYT Styles section from, I think, two Sundays back. Her world–not mine, and not sounding so enviable anymore!

  7. What a lovely post! It is so easy to get caught up in one’s own blog and posting, posting, posting, and always good to be reminded about how many wonderful people are out there. Thank you.

  8. KJ: I just read that Botox piece. You’re right — it’s an unenviable world, one where growing older seems so painful and full of self-loathing, when it should be the opposite. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Your avatar cracks me up, Stefanie. There are just not enough hours in the day to read everything out there and to read the people who’re reading and writing about them! But as Michael points out earlier in this thread, even when you take a break from it all, the people you like can still be found when you return.

  9. I SO agree with you that blog friends are very real and very important! There are so many people I’ve never met who have become friends, and I value them so much.

  10. It’s so nice to see you back and thanks very much for dropping by my corner of the world–it is always nice to hear from you! This really is a nice community of people–so much creativity out there–I am always humbled and appreciative of the people I’ve met!

  11. Hi Tamara —- You’re in my feedreader now, and I too am looking forward to reading your posts. I thought of you tonight — we played this new board game, whose name I cannot at this moment summon up, but it was all about building train routes across the United States. I’m terrible at those kind of strategy games, but it was thrilling for my son to kick my butt. No more word games in this house — now they know how to win!!

    Dorothy — It’s been great and a lot of fun to have met so many terrific people over the last five years or so of blogging. I love knowing what’s going on with you — and i really enjoyed your photos of Ireland and London. It was almost as good as being there myself.

    I like visiting your part of the internet, Danielle! xo

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