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>Selecting a Reader

August 21, 2010

>This is a photo of me with an imaginary friend (e.g. known only through the internet) who is an Avid Reader. (I’m the tall one.) I was on her home turf for a chess tournament with Walker, and she invited me to come meet her at a coffee shop (you can see their menu in the background of the photo). We had such a good time talking about books and blogging that an hour and a half passed before we came up for air, asked a stranger to take this photo of us, and went our separate ways.

It’s amazing to meet a person in real life when you already enjoy exchanging ideas–it makes the conversation a fascinating mix of personal discovery and continued conversation. If I could have imagined a reader of this blog when I first started it, I’d have imagined someone like her. And she is beautiful, as you can see, so she made me think of this poem by Ted Kooser:

Selecting a Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful,

and walking carefully up on my poetry

at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,

her hair still damp at the neck

from washing it. She should be wearing

a raincoat, an old one, dirty

from not having money enough for the cleaners.

She will take out her glasses, and there

in the bookstore, she will thumb

over my poems, then put the book back

up on its shelf. She will say to herself,

β€œFor that kind of money, I can get

my raincoat cleaned.” And she will.

This has always struck me as an emblematic poem for a blogger. It doesn’t matter if I get money or recognition for what I write here; what matters is that for just a moment someone is reading it.

Thanks for giving me a face to put with your name, avid reader!

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2010 11:59 pm

    >She is beautiful. Then again, so are you and remarkably unchanged from my memories of you.

  2. August 22, 2010 12:24 am

    >Very cool!

  3. August 22, 2010 1:38 pm

    >What a lovely poem πŸ™‚ And that's so nice that you got to spend time with a fellow book blogger in person!

  4. August 24, 2010 12:47 am

    >I love meeting "imaginary friends."

  5. August 24, 2010 12:06 pm

    >Elizabeth, that's nice of you to say!Nymeth, I think the poem captures some of the introvert-writing-to-be-read issues!Amanda, this is the second imaginary friend I've gotten to meet, and both times we had a lot to say immediately. Just like we already knew each other!

  6. August 24, 2010 4:06 pm

    >You are all too kind. Jeanne, I had such a wonderful time getting to know you and chatting in person. There is something magical about meeting someone, face to face, that you only know through the internet. What a joy to realize that those same people are ones you'd choose to hang out with in the "real world" as well.

  7. August 24, 2010 5:17 pm

    >So fun to always meet the bloggers behind the blogs!!

  8. August 24, 2010 5:47 pm

    >Getting together with other book bloggers is so much fun because no one else really understands us. I love the poem!

  9. August 24, 2010 10:09 pm

    >Avid Reader, it really was a joy to hang out in the real world for a while!Coffee and a Book Chick, yes–and to hear from their friends! It expands the circle!Kathy, I know what you mean about how no one else really understands how much fun it is to talk about books, but I'm lucky enough to have some book-loving friends in real life, too!

  10. August 25, 2010 11:00 am

    >I know what you mean abt instant 'friends' when you meet a blogger – conversations are lively!

  11. August 25, 2010 12:38 pm

    >Care, lively is a good word for that kind of fast, intense conversation!

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