Getting Out

As a writer, I spend way too much time in front of my computer. In some ways, this is time well spent. I get a decent amount of writing done and, as I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of interesting people in the blogosphere. Over the past few days, though, I’ve been stepping away from my computer and reconnecting with the real world — something, I suppose, all writers could do a little more of. And the cool thing about it is that I managed to meet (really meet, in the flesh!) some people I’ve only, until now, had a chance to get to know online!

On Saturday night, it was Liz Moore, whom I initially “met” while doing an interview with Doug Gordon on the Muse House blog (and whose novel Heft is wonderful). It turns out we’re both English teachers who spend a lot of time teaching Freshman Composition, so we had plenty to talk about outside of writing. I also found out that we have very similar writing habits, which made me realize that A) I’m not the only person who thinks its perfectly acceptable to generate a million words to come away with 60,000 I can use, and B) I’m not crazy for taking this approach to writing. It’s always good to meet another writer!

On Sunday, I headed out to the American Swedish Historical Museum for the Philadelphia Stories celebration of poetry. While I was there, I got a chance to meet Jeanann Verlee, whose poetry I’ve admired since I reviewed her collection Racing Hummingbirds two years ago, and whose performance at the celebration was amazing. I also met John Hyland whose blog, John’s Consciousness, I’ve admired for a while. It turns out that John is equal parts philosopher and poet, and it was great to finally put a (real) face (not to mention a voice!) to the name.

Then there was all the catching up I did with other people as well. It was, of course, great to touch base with Doug Gordon, who sometimes writes under the name Sam Gridley. And it’s always a pleasure to chat with my colleague P.C. Scheponik who’s written several poetry collections himself, including his most recent A Storm by Any Other Name (from which he read) and Songs the Sea Has Sung in Me. I also ran into a professor from my college days, Owen Gilman, as well as a former student, Ron Fischman, who wrote and dedicated a poem to me!

(An aside: If the child of my child is my grandchild, is the student of my student my grandstudent?)

All told, a great couple of days away from the computer. Now, back to writing. But feel free to drop me a line and invite me out for coffee sometime. I’ll appreciate the human contact!

JeanAnn Verlee performs “The Session.”

13 thoughts on “Getting Out

  1. Grandstudent. I like that.
    I have had the opportunity to meet one blogging friend in the flesh, and it was so good to do. Your’e right, we writers should step out there more often. I wish it was like the old days when all the artists and writers meeting at some watering hole to compare notes.

    • I agree! Along similar lines, I think that while official Writers’ Groups (i.e., those in which the business at hand is to discuss manuscripts) are great, I personally gravitate toward what I think of as Writers’ Support Groups (i.e., those in which we talk about writing and related issues in general, but not necessarily about specific projects). Whatever one’s preference, though, it’s always great to get out and connect with other human beings.

  2. For a second there, based on the title of this blog, I was afraid you were giving up writing altogether. Glad it’s just taking a break from the computer. A Writers’ Support Group is a great idea–I may see if there’s some interest in starting one in my town.

  3. Good to get outta the cave for a spell, huh? And if you ever come out to Colorado drop a line (or me to Pencilvainya–does anyone REALLY know how to spell that name?!–I’ll drop a line)!

    But I think I’ll put off dying today.

  4. You had an exciting couple of days!

    It’s always interesting, too, to meet “virtual” friends in person.

    grandstudent — LOL!

    • Definitely an exciting couple of days. I should probably try to get out of the house more often!

  5. Totally agree with you. Meeting new writers in the flesh is fantastic. I have recently become a twitterer and feel quite overwelmed and a bit lost in the cyberspace-ness. Definately need to get away from the computer!

  6. Hey Marc,

    It really was great to finally meet you, and I definitely think a regular schedule of getting out is not only healthy for a writer, but often can bring the most surprising results once you return to the writing desk. I spent Memorial Day weekend in the Belle Plain State Forest camping and I not only managed to finish reading one of the dozen or so books on my night stand, but spent hours in the evening by the campfire writing. There’s something about the fresh air and isolation from technology that just inspires!

    Meeting you has also inspired me! I just placed my order on for “The Grievers,” and should have it in a few days. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts in response to your book, and hope we have an opportunity to meet again sometime so you can sign it for me. Reciting my poems at the Swedish Historical Museum gave me quite a lift, but getting to converse with you in person was definitely the highlight of my visit.

    Warm regards…..John H.

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