Tag Archives: friendship

friendships old and new

I’ve just returned from a fantastic couple of days in London, meeting my ‘What I’m Writing’ blogging friends for the first time. It was only my second night away from home (without my kids) since the birth of my youngest, two-and-a-half years ago, and I think I’m getting a taste for it. Not that I don’t love being around my boys most of the time but it is fantastic to be ‘footloose and fancy-free’ for a weekend!

view of the shard

The view from my hotel window – much more impressive than I’d expected!

And what a weekend! I set off with my younger boys (six and two) after school on Friday, leaving the eldest (eight) with my husband for some father/son bonding time (good plan – they both loved it), and headed down to Yorkshire to stay with my parents for the night. First thing the next morning I left the boys with my parents and hopped on the train down south.

As I watched the beautiful Yorkshire landscape whizz past the window it occurred to me that there was nothing I needed to do that moment – no demands on my time, no small people to entertain, no deadlines to meet (or not ones that couldn’t wait) so I… *drumroll* read a magazine! A really crappy one! I learned all about Botox (it may smooth out your skin but often causes muscle wastage that hollows out your appearance thus making you look older in the long run… oh, and recent research suggests that overuse when young affects you psychologically since mirroring other people’s facial expressions helps develop empathy… interesting eh?) and also about who’s dating who, celebrity diets and whose body I’m supposed to wish was my own. Hmmm.

Anyway, before my brain was even half filled with fluff (it was a three hour trip but my head has a large fluff-capacity) my train arrived in Kings Cross and I was off to meet my gang.

What I'm Writing lunch

L-R Reneé from Mummy Tries, me, Rachael from Honest Speaks, Rebecca Ann Smith, Nikki Young Writes, Emily Organ and Sophie is…

It was SO fantastic to meet them all. It felt a weird mixture of completely surreal and utterly normal. These were people whose faces I’d only seen in FB profile pics, whose voices I’d never heard and whose lives I only knew about through words on a screen… and yet they were also people who I’d chatted with online and read and shared so much with through our blogs that I felt I knew them well. Conversation, laughter and wine flowed freely over a delicious four hour lunch and over cocktails afterwards. We talked about real stuff – who could be bothered with small talk? The only downside was that we didn’t have longer – so we’re already planning a next time!

Having had a wonderful Saturday, the next morning I rounded off my London experience with a leisurely brunch with my oldest friend. We first met before we were born (well ok, our mums met in antenatal class) and we’ve been best friends ever since, but seeing her was an all-too-infrequent treat. With my new-found freedom though I’m hoping to change that.

On getting back to my parents’ house later that afternoon I was met by two delighted boys who’d had a fantastic weekend with their grandparents. My six-year-old then gave me this story which he’d written (and illustrated) for me on post-it notes. I didn’t think he’d paid attention when I’d told him where I was going but clearly some of it had sunk in, well, the location anyway:

trip to London story

It’s rather prosaic for him (his stories usually involve castles, trolls or flying pigs) but I rather liked its blunt, straight-forwardness. He’s wrong about one thing though – this isn’t the end. It’s just the start of the story.

Writing Bubble
Little Hearts, Big Love

anticipation

Last week I was wondering about whether holding back, trying to find a middle ground and not wanting to be controversial was making my blog bland. The post seemed to strike a chord with people and I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who commented and for all the support – it was interesting to hear all your thoughts on the matter and very affirming too. I now feel stronger in my certainty about only sharing what I’m comfortable with and, funnily enough, I also feel that maybe I will be able to share more in future without scaring myself silly.

sparkler

Mostly though, your comments reminded me of the most important aspect of blogging to me –the connection to a community. I may not be blazing an exciting trail to blog fame, fortune and immortality but I have made some lovely friends and that means so much to me, SO much.

When I started Writing Bubble the blogosphere was pretty much unknown to me – the world of writing too. It felt like walking into a party and not knowing anyone and having to hang out by the snacks nervously sipping slightly-suspect punch.  But then I got chatting to one or two people and wandered out into the room a bit. I met more people –  lovely, like-minded people. Then someone handed me some decent wine and I chatted some more. Had a laugh. When the lights went down I even had a bit of a dance. Now I’m happy at the party and feel like whatever goes on (and unfortunately it’s not always lovely at this particular event) I have my friends. They rock. You rock.

Which brings me to now. And it’s all very exciting because this weekend the party gets real (kind of) – we’re having a #WhatImWriting meet up! It’s been months in the planning and I’m so looking forward to meeting some of the lovely people who I’ve got to know in blog-land over the past year or so. So often I’ve read posts and commented “I wish we could sit down and have a big chat over coffee!” and now, finally, we are!

I’m a little nervous too of course. This is a whole new thing. Apart from a long ago meeting with Rosie Scribble (back in my previous life when I had a whole other blog) and meeting Sadie Hanson at the Writer’s Festival last month, I’ve never met online friends. I’ve certainly never met a group of them at the same time. And it’s not just popping along for a chat over coffee either, it’s a weekend away from home and a trip to London which, for someone who lives on a Northumbrian hillside and is mostly surrounded by a herd of small boys, is quite a big deal.

But I know it will be fab. I get to talk writing with other writers: what could be better than that? Oh, I know – talking writing (and much more besides) with writers who I’ve come to think of as friends. Friends whose lovely words have inspired and motivated me over the last few years.

I can’t wait!