To Sara, or “Why it Takes so Long to say Thank You.”

By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Photo by Infrogmation (talk)) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsSo you write this blog, and you keep it up for a few years. You write these stories about your life and opinions and frustrations and observations—all your little kinds of weird pushed through a filter of “who/what you are trying to project,” even unconsciously. You willingly whoosh your open arms of words out to the internet-at-large and say, “Good luck, dears!” Then, for the most part, you forget about them.

For me, at least—someone who painstakingly helicopters over a single word or phrase in my poetry and other kinds of writing—this practiced, practical-for the medium, laissez-faire attitude is borderline neglect. On the nurturing scale, blogging is on par with sea turtles. Drop those eggs on the shore and hit the road. Leave the little things to wash out to the waves and sink, swim, or float.

Then, every now and again, you get reminded that your words are out there. They stay out there. You might mature and move along in life, but your old stories, the old versions of “who you were at that moment” are still present, in internet time. You turn up on someone’s search. Somehow, a link to a news article leads to your blog. Pictures (all of which you still fortunately deem internet-appropriate) float around, catching in all kinds of unexpected nets.

Or, you get an incredibly nice message or email from an old friend. Someone you traveled with, and shared some indelible memories (birthday cake in the Paris train station, Dublin pubs and parades, picnics in French parks, and graffiteed bars with Reggae…), someone you haven’t seen in over a decade. She’ll tell you that she just stumbled on your blog and spent some time going through old entries. She may offer some really articulate, appreciative words about your writing and her reactions to it.

Chances are good her note will show up at just about the exact time you need to hear these things. And you’ll get… a little stunned, and really quite humbled, and find it hard to respond for an unreasonably long period of time, because it’s a little more important than the quick and easy, “Thanks! I’m so glad you like it, and it’s so great to see your name in my inbox, and I hope you’re doing well!” Even if all that is true, it’s not quite what you mean to say.

Someone who “knew you then” finds what you’re doing—what you’ve already done and released—to be worthwhile. And this is the most awkward way to explain and apologize and try to say, too late to be nonchalant and try not to make too big a deal out of it, that this kind of thing is such a gift.

Thank you, Sara.

Now, let’s catch up proper and plan that reunion trip to France!

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