Shalom, y'all! (That's what we say here in Texas, where I am having a wonderful time visiting my folks, enjoying the heat, and eating all the Tex-Mex food I can lay my hands on.)
Today featured two visits which will surely be highlights of my week down south. This morning my mother and I had tea with Naomi Shihab Nye, Jenny Browne, and Nan Cuba. Naomi was my first poetry teacher when I was a kid -- and I'm surpassingly fond of her work (here, read this poem called "Hidden"). Jenny is an inspiration to me, not least because she's currently juggling writing with motherhood. (She's also an amazing poet: check out "The Medicine Disconnects Her Mind From her Brain".) And Nan, who writes fiction, was one of the cofounders of Gemini Ink, on which Inkberry was partially based. It was wonderful to share food and drink and conversation with them.
And then, as if that weren't enough amazing for one day, I had the profound pleasure of meeting with Gordon Atkinson of Real Live Preacher! We talked about our backgrounds, the crossover between poetry and liturgical language, writing and blogging, Billy Collins and Anne Lamott and Annie Dillard (whose writing makes us both swoon) -- in short, about a few of my favorite things. I didn't have the presence of mind to ask a bookstore employee to snap our picture together, but if you've been wondering what RLP looks like, here's a nice shot (though I confess to an abiding fondness for this one from his virtual book-signing a while back...)
I love the way the intangible links of the blogosphere can grow into meaningful connections between people, either in different parts of the physical world or different parts of the religious world. Blogging is fun for all kinds of reasons, but making genuine contact with real live people is the absolute best part. I feel blessed to be able to make those connections daily through the intermediary of our screens -- and even more blessed on days like today, when I can cross paths in person with folks whose words and ways I admire. Two fantastic meetings in the same day: truly cosi revaya, my cup runneth over!
On a semi-related note, I hear through the grapevine that the news feature on religious bloggers (for which both Gordon and I were interviewed, some weeks ago) aired on Sunday. Did any of you see it? Was it good? (Was I coherent?) If you caught it, let me know!