I thought I knew what I was doing when I began a new career in my 70’s. I am retired. My income meets my needs. What better time to explore new terrains? Though I felt confident about this new direction, as I reflect back, I realize I was, and probably still am, something of a child. Thus far, my experiences vary from my expectations. I thought writing would be a solitary venture, just me and my computer. The opposite is true. There is more to being a writer than turning out passable prose. I am required to market my work and that means reaching out to the world through the internet. Joining Facebook and Twitter was obligatory as was having a blog so that I could acquaint myself with fellow bloggers. Truth is, I’ve spent more time promoting my books than writing them.
Having been a politician, reaching out is almost as natural as breathing. But I hadn’t counted on meeting so many remarkable people. Ric makes me laugh. Ani is young and so in love with love that I have to smile on occasion. And then there the several women nearer my generation whose humanity touches me, some of them living as far away as Australia and Canada and in far corners of the United States, most of whom I shall never see. John lives near me. We used to work together. But if I thought I knew him when we were colleagues, I was mistaken. Through the internet, I’ve come to admire his character. Never beaten or bowed or bloodied by challenges, he teaches me how to live with grace. The same can be said for many of my newfound friends. I read of the diseases that afflict them or the pain they’ve suffered in losing a loved one. What can I say except, “I’m sorry.” Still, I hope they feel my insubstantial hugs. I’m grateful to them. They are teaching me about courage.
That I should smile or grieve with friends unseen and unknown to me, except as electronic impulses, comes as a shock. But there it is. The heart makes no distinction between real and virtual worlds.