Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Double vision

A year or two ago I was going through my old letters and I found one from my mom from the year I lived in Brooklyn right after college. I think I must have just written to her that I didn't like my roommate, so I was going to quit my job and leave and go to Alaska for the summer to can fish with my friend Nora. My mom wrote something like, "Don't you think going to Alaska is a little extreme? Couldn't you just stay in New York but look for a new apartment?"

In retrospect, Mom had a point. On the other hand, going to Alaska was the kind of pivotal, once-in-a-lifetime experience I never would have had otherwise. So, maybe sometimes a drastic response is the best kind.

Viz., to wit: sometimes, blog friends like to meet up in person, to see if they might also be friends in what we call Real Life, and to infuse their everyday humdrum lives with a jolt of that surreal omigod-you're-a-literary-figure-but-also-a-human-being experience that's sort of like...well, like nothing else exactly that I can think of. Sort of like meeting a celebrity, and sort of like meeting a character in a book you love, and sort of like *being* a celebrity or someone's favorite book character, and sort of like seeing your long-lost friend from elementary school. A thrill, in short.

Normally, this involves a brief daytime get-together in a neutral place, like, say, lunch at a restaurant, or maybe coffee somewhere. Seems reasonable, no?

But if you're the drastic sort, like I apparently am, it can involve taking a plane to a city you've never been to before, and crashing for three or four days with people you've never met!

And so it is that I am typing this from Badgerbag's couch, in her house, having gotten up at 5:30 this morning and taken the plane down to Deadwood City, CA, by way of San Francisco and lunch with Ms. Jane and then dinner out with a bunch of bloggers and and their various totally charming family members, and in between much much book talk as I pawed through Badger's shelves and delightedly cried "Oh! I have this one! Have you read..."

I keep insisting how thrilled I am to see Deadwood City, Of Fame and Legend, which makes everyone around me snort and chortle and generally fall over with mirth, but it's true. Here's the thing about blogging: not only does it let everyone be a published author, but it makes everyone's town a potential literary landmark.

I mean, I've read so much about Deadwood! I feel the same way actually being here, seeing the Jo at the park and Badger's study and the Wholle Foods, that I felt the first time I went to London and there right in front of my jet-lagged eyes, right on the street, was a real live red double-decker bus, just like in the books! And people spoke in real English accents!

Last week I read "The Plot Against America," which is set in Newark, and I think everyone would agree that Newark is not one of the Great Wonders of the World, and yet now I'd love to go there and see the actual streets and places he wrote about. It's like that. I'm happy just to be in a place that I've read so much about, matching people's real-life personas to their online/writing ones.

I brought the camera, but unfortunately forgot to bring the cable to connect it to the computer. So, pictures to come in a few days.

Meanwhile, here's Badger's post covering some of the same territory, only with much more coherence and actual detail and less recursive nattering.

Going to sleep now. Really. I mean it, this time...


Blogger That Girl said...

Anytime you want to come to Jersey, you have a spare bedroom. Newark? Really?

3:33 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

yay! I'm so glad you came!

5:11 AM  
Anonymous jess said...

You'd better hit up that indian restertaunt that the deadwood crew is always raving about.

6:22 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

That Girl--Really truly! And thanks! I am a Jersey girl myself from way back; say hi to the Garden State for me!

jess--Astonishingly, I have had neither Indian food nor a fish taco. Yet. But I am going to Bad Moms Coffee today!

Jo--me too. Words fail.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Sigh...Bad Mom's coffee. Jealous, jealous.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous badgermama said...

But that Indian food restaurant is merely adequate... and kind to children, and always able to seat a party of however many, and it has a lot of space for kids to run around.

Its other claim to fame is that Squid goes there and has dinner alone with a book, or at least she used to!

But for really kickass indian food you have to go to Mountainview.

2:19 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Such coolness. But now, you see, you have to come to Northern Virginia to visit APL, Genevieve, & me.

2:39 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Oh what a good idea Liz-- I can do the Incremental BlogFriend Tour of the World! (or at least of North America). And/or you can come to Seattle!

8:29 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

And thank you for inviting me!

8:30 PM  

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