Ever had the experience of corresponding with someone for years, and then meeting in person? I have been lucky to have had this. Twice.
It can be a bit unnerving. Someone who has shared many personal things, trials and tribulations, sweet and bitter moments, but always from the safe screen of distance, paper, or now the ethernet where the real isn’t quite, is about to become touchable. Someone once told me it feels a bit like blind dating, when you realize you are about to be exposed and scrutinized, for real. Obviously, this goes both ways, as you will be observing also.
What some worry about is that the real connection, felt virtually, will be missing somehow in person.
Not my experience. The first time, after years of a very close connection, I met a dear friend in person when life took me only four hours away from her home. She made the trek, and made my day. We made music together, dancing on the street---
^Meeting Author Evelyn Christensen in Oberlin
The second time happened last weekend. An online critique group pal whom I’ve “known” since 2008 suddenly materialized in the bay area, half a continent from his home. Lucky me—we had a delightful connection.
^Meeting Author Mark Ceilley in Berkeley
In a strange way it feels like meeting characters from favorite books, and you what? I can attest they are real.