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.”

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