When my son was little, he loved everyone. Each person that crossed his path deserved a huge hug as he pronounced his full name. Anyone he was introduced to, became a fast friend within moments.
I used to dread the day when he realized that not everyone loved him in return, that not everyone could be trusted, that not everyone would be his friend. I wanted him to retain that simple belief in the goodness of people for as long as he could.
These days, of course, social media has redefined the word ‘friend’.
‘In my day’ (a phrase I never thought I’d be old enough to use) we had pen pals that we sent letters to. A much slower process than accepting a friend request by hitting a key on the computer. Now, instead of our pen pals existing on paper, with distinctive handwriting, and if you were lucky, a photo, our pen pals exist on a screen, with their lives displayed in high-digital clarity.
But here’s the thing. I kind of feel like I’ve turned into my son.
Putting myself out there publicly is necessary as a writer, but it comes with risks. It also comes with friends. I have met so many wonderful people. Both in the real world through writing events, and online through this blog, social media, editing jobs, and emails.
With WordPress, when someone new follows your blog, you get a short notice that links to that person’s blog. And sometimes WordPress will suggest a site you might like.
That’s how I’ve met other artists, including artist Jaime Haney, Bear’s Photography in Cornwall, writers, herbalists such as Whispering Earth, and many more. Typically the name of the blog catches my eye and that’s what makes me click on a link.
Today, I noticed that I have a new follower and she has a blog called ‘Soliloquies Of A Goldfish’. I couldn’t resist that name and clicked on the link. I read her ‘about’ page and found myself grinning at her great sense of humor. I read her short story Olivia and was impressed by the deeper layers and multiple meanings within the short story, and how she had a fully developed character in a short piece. And this is a young woman still in school. Wish I wrote half that well when I was her age. I wanted to jump up and wave and yell ‘Hi! Let’s talk writing!’
I suddenly realized that…hmmm…maybe my son inherited that trait of hugging everyone and making immediate new friends from my husband.
The internet has a lot to answer for, but it also is responsible for broadening our horizons, not just in meeting new people, but in finding art, in the easy access to learning, and in putting the world right at our typing fingertips.
I look forward to the next person I ‘meet’. In the meantime, look up Soliloquies Of A Goldfish and read some short stories by a talented young writer.