Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Who me? A Blogger??

Life is, as we all know, unpredictable.

One short month ago, I was ignorant of the ways of blogging -- and not just ignorant, but oblivious and indifferent, too. I pretty much associated the whole phenomenon of blogging with a geeky person (probably a boy, in my mind's eye) who was attached to his hand-held device and had intimacy issues to boot! In the sake of full disclosure, I am a sad Luddite -- too pathetic to even want to change -- who still needs her 13 yr old daughter to load her IPod.

However, life (as mentioned) is unpredictable . . . and I certainly never imagined that I would be living out some of my finer years in the English countryside! I like margaritas, Tex-Mex, good hamburgers, Shipley's doughnuts, movies, buttered popcorn, Coke icees, bookstores, outdoor tennis courts, and blue skies . . . none of which (well, almost none) can be found in West Berkshire. I do NOT like mud, drizzle, the color gray, dogs, horses, hunting, shooting, did I mention mud? Of these, the countryside has plenty. Indeed, I went to a dinner party not so long ago and almost the entire conversation revolved around shooting, English country-style. You might think that a Texan would be entirely at home in a conversation about shooting, but nay -- as a small child I couldn't stand the sight of the bloodied dove my brother laid so casually on the kitchen counter, and I haven't altered in this opinion.

I already did my time in a small town -- Temple, Texas (for the record) -- and I am like an escaped prisoner who can still feel the phantom chains and never, never wants to go back. Some of you may remember the classic Talking Heads song Once In A Lifetime. If you went to high school in the 80s you will undoubtedly remember the accompanying video in which lead singer David Byrne repeatedly slapped his forehead open-palm style, wildly rolled his eyes, and questioned: Well . . . How did I get here? When I was a high school senior, my late great friend Andrea Jarma and I used to go around imitating David Byrne and feeling rather clever and certainly to-the-point. It is a phrase that has resounded through my mind more than once this last eighteen months.

So, you may think high school reminiscences (from a time when MTV was the new thing and we were all making cassette tapes for our boom boxes) are a tad digressive from the subject of blogging . . . but let me assure you, it will all come together. The truth is: I can live without a good margarita, even though I may not like it and will certainly feel my life to be impoverished by that lack. HOWEVER . . . what I cannot live without are the good conversations/lively banter/sympathetic ear/enjoyable bitch-sessions which accompanied the margaritas. And this is what I've really been feeling short of these days. I have lovely, lovely friends in England . . . but they aren't doorstep friends. They aren't "let's meet at the Taqueria" friends, or let's catch a movie friends.

I've always had good luck meeting like-minded people . . . maybe not LOADS of them, but always enough to satisfy. For some reason, my luck seems to run out; I just haven't been to convert any of my new acquaintances -- some of whom are perfectly pleasant -- into true friends. Although my husband "Sigmund" is a good sort with many fine qualities -- let's face it, he's a fairly taciturn fellow who will never be able to meet my chatting needs. My two daughters are wonderful chatters -- but conversationally, it's still a one-way street down a cul-de-sac with them. They have their own tribes, and that is how it should be.

So, loneliness established: One frigid morning in late January, I decided to google Laurie Colwin, one of my favorite authors . . . and I ended up reading this essay. I felt such kinship with the author of the essay, that I ended up reading her blog . . . and then writing her a fan letter. This lead to other blogs, which lead to emails, which lead to blog-posting, and on and on. I remembered that my friend Jenni had give me Julie & Julia (about a Texan living in NYC, who starts a blog and changes her life) and thus discovered another kindred spirit. Suddenly I had friends in New York City! Well, perhaps I exaggerate . . . but still! It was empowering; I realized that I could just go into cyberspace and FIND those like-minded friends! There actually are people who want to talk about Laurie Colwin or gingerbread or how to make a good biscuit or Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf. Maybe not in Berkshire . . . but somewhere! I needn't be limited by what chatting at the school gates threw my way. It was an exciting process because it reminded me of the buzz I've always gotten from making friendship discoveries; it also reminded me of the joy that I used to get from writing. I've always been good at enthusiasm with that little frisson of euphoria . . . feeling it again made me realize anew how much it had been missing in my life.

It is difficult to keep in touch. I send this out to old friends with the hope that it will be a way of keeping a fresh conversation open. I also send it out (with a fervent belief in serendipity) to the Great Internet . . . in the hope that it may bring a new friend or two into my life.

Please feel free to comment!

Last thought: Please check out some of the blogs I have listed. They are my first favorites, but I'm sure -- now that I've become addicted -- I will be finding new ones, too. All of you Texans MUST check out Homesick Texan. It is a treasure-trove of recipes -- whether or not you live in a place without Rotel.


Jenine said...

Oh darlin! Your "enthusiasm with that little frisson of euphoria" is perfectly put. That sounds so like you! Here's hoping you find many a virtual margarita on the web. I am glad you're setting up shop so I'll know where to find you and read some of your thoughts. Cheers!

Soaring Clay said...

It's so good to hear from you, Bee! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm in need of a margarita myself. I'll meet you at Chuy's anytime!!

Jen said...

Woohoo! Welcome to the dark side. :) And thank you for your lovely and generous comments about my silly little yellow page, as well as your contributions to the bakeoff dialogue. I look forward to reading more of your words. :)

Incidentally, I agree with you about Homesick Texan. I was lucky enough to meet Lisa last year at a foodblogger's convergence hosted by Shuna at Eggbeater when she came to New York last summer. Lisa is a lot of fun, smart and sweet, and an ace baker. (Her biscuits are awe-inspiring.)

heartsease said...

Let's all raise a virtual margarita to self-belief, friendship and food!

Bee said...

Jenine -- thanks for being my first comment. Very appropriate as you are definitely my "most likely to blog" friend.

Soaring Clay -- I never visit Texas without working in a Chuy's visit. You didn't say WHICH Chuy's.

Jen -- I hope that I'll get more "dark" than "light" -- but I'm open to the unexpected. Thanks for being my blogging guru.

Heartsease -- good toast!

Kristen In London said...

Oh, Oh, OH! Laurie Colwin is the person closest to godliness I hope to meet, even virtually. I have adored her books since my mother put "Family Happiness" in my hands in 1983 and said, "Don't let this happen to you," as in, too much conformity, too much living for one's family, then it all comes out in a flaming affair!

I was devastated when she died, and I reread "Shine on, Bright and Dangerous Object" every year. I make stuffing for Thanksgiving based on her list of suggested ingredients in "Home Cooking."

Thank you for a wonderful blog, and for sharing my love of Laurie Colwin.