Though these past few months I have been retreating quietly from my beloved blogosphere, there has been some excitement in these parts. The unforeseen upside to blogging is the real relationships that it culminates, the connections that it derives, the tangible opportunities it gives. One such opportunity to celebrate takes place this week, and miracle of miracles, I will be there.
STORY is a conference for the creative class at Park Place Church in downtown Chicago tomorrow and Friday. And you guys, Anne freaking Lamott is speaking. If you have followed this blog in any capacity over the last nine months, then you know how out-of-my-mind excited I was to know she would be there. And then I was devastated when I thought I couldn’t go due to financial reasons. And then I jumped up and down and all around my office when I got an email with the news that there was a ticket with my name on it.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there will be hundreds of other people in attendance, and several dozen of them are people that I’ve “met” online, but have yet to greet face-to-face. People like Lore Ferguson (she’s staying at my apartment! Woot!) and Elora Ramirez and Kristin Tennant and Addie Zierman and Rachel Held Evans and Matthew Paul Turner and Tony Alicea and Katie Axelson and Brandon Clements and Ed Cyzewski and Alece Ronzino and Sonny Lemons.
And there are people I have met that I haven’t seen in awhile that I will get to reconnect with, like my favorite Prodigals Darrell and Ally Vesterfelt, and Tammy Perlmutter and Emily Miller. And to top it off, my husband gets to go with me!
These last few days I’ve been contemplating why this opportunity means so much to me, why meeting these people that I’ve “met” but never met matter so much. I mean, not that long ago, meeting someone you only knew online was a taboo thing. Even talking to people about it now, the idea that this group of people matters this much to me when I have never met them in person raises some eyebrows.
And yet, when I am feeling withered and wallowy about writing and other struggles, these digital connections feel so tangible to me in a way that other parts of my life don’t.
Honestly, up until this point in my life, I have never had a community of people that have understood my creative drive. Or even more to the point, I have never been a part of a community of writers. In high school? Don’t make me laugh. In college? Creatives : Yes. English majors : There were only 2 of us. Writers : Zip.
The people that I am meeting at Story 2012 make me feel like I belong. Like I am understood. Like yes, I’m crazy, but so are they – in a good way! We’re all in it together.
If I’ve made you gag with my mushiness, I’m
sorry not sorry. As you can tell, I’m totally geeked, and for good reason. Expect a full recap in the coming week.