Ten years ago when people were starting to call “Online Journaling” by a hip new 2.0 name–”blogging”–they also tried to do the hip 2.0 thing of monetizing it. Stories started trickling out about this or that blogger who was able to retire because they’d found some hook, capitalised on it and now had enough readership to somehow pay them to stay at home and pontificate. So other people started to make their hook about telling yet more people how to Make Money Off Their Blog or Get A Publishing Deal Off Their Blog or, well, you name it.
What they didn’t often advertise as readily was “Make a New Circle Of Friends With Whom You Have A Lot In Common Off Your Blog.” Because the last thing that most writers are burning for is more friends. To a lot of writers “friends” means “people you’re stuck with in the world who don’t understand you but you get along with them anyway because otherwise you’d be institutionalised or suspected of serial murder.” We’re an introverted lot by nature.
So when I started a blog the last thing I expected to find were actual FRIENDS. People who were the genuine article. Women that would instantly leap to mind when I saw something cool I had to share; folks I’d want to have into my actual house for a meal. But it happened, and just at a time in my life when I was in sore need of friends in Nashville.
This week has been big news for two of my blogging friends.
For my friend Betsy, (whom I’ve always referred to here as Aunt B. when I talk about her blog because that was how she chose to present herself ) this is the hugest week ever. She’s had a baby. No, really. Now it’s not a flesh-and-blood baby, I’ll grant you. But it was born out of the creative side of her in the same intense labour pains as human birth, and like a squalling, red-faced half-genetic representation of her, it is a thing that will aid her to live on in this world when her time here is over. Betsy Phillips has written and published her first book.
I am so proud of her! I am filled with joy for her, and also admiration. She saw this hugely intimidating dream that at one point she thought would never happen. I remember well an early post of hers talking about her job at a publisher where she was opening boxes of someone else’s books and realised that she was sad. Because they should have been her books and she felt deep down that they never would be.
Five years later, she’s proved herself wrong. She made this happen out of her own drive and determination and creativity. She climbed the mountain. And the book, which I’ve been reading on my Kindle for the last 10 minutes, is quite awesome. It’s about the ghosts of Nashville, those that you know probably lurk behind the landmarks.
My other friend is someone I’m also proud of. She also has a magnificent ghost story to tell. But it’s not about Nashville. And it’s not fictitious.
Ivy is in recovery. Ivy is the first blogger I met face to face. I remember when I first met her how awed I was by her energy and fearlessness. She is the most generous blogger I have ever known, giving genuinely of her time and money–both things in short supply in her life as a working mother. I wondered for a long time how she did it. Then after a time as we grew closer I began to suspect that she was propelled through the harder parts of life with a little help from illegal drugs. I was worried, but I didn’t know how to help. And given my own rocky history with addicts I figured I should stay out of it unless she asked.
Then she disappeared.
Mutual friends said she was alive and working through things, so I didn’t worry more than usual. I just prayed and prayed some more. For her, for her husband, for her kids and dogs and cats. I think she has more than one cat, but I can’t remember. Most people who have one eventually get another. Anyway….when she came back in late April with the tale of her year of rehab and recovery I was delighted. Like Betsy, Ivy saw a mountain she didn’t think she could ever climb, and is climbing it anyway.
These are the friends I am blessed to know. They are worth far more than any money I could have made from my blog. I admire them and am proud to know them and am filled with joy for their successes.