Posted by: jeannineatkins | February 20, 2011

Crossing the Borders of Blogging: A Happy Afternoon

On a day when we New Englanders were celebrating slush, water dripping from frozen eaves, and air with a scent, what a thrill it was to meet Melodye  who’d left hummingbirds nesting among green leaves to attend to family needs in New England. She found it hard to understand why we were gushing about fifty degrees, and in fact it was snowing later that day, but she heroically drove over potholes and parked on an icy slope to meet me for lunch.

It’s wonderful to get to know people through their blogs, but what a treat to get a smile not far from yours, to hear real laughter bubble, and pour not-virtual vanilla and cardamom tea. I like turning a bit of life into words on a screen, and Melodye and I bonded over our commitment to taking our time choosing words, but what a joy to let words spill and scatter. Eating tomato soup and melted cheese over artichokes on toast, we mentioned some of the craziness that works its way into all lives, and things interesting and mundane as favorite kinds of tea. We could expand on some gritty edges or darker times, delve a bit into struggles and triumphs with craft. Tell a few secrets, like how I don’t understand much of Emily Dickinson, which made Melodye laugh. Whoops, now you know, too.

I’ll likely forget much of what we said on a shared window seat, but never my sense of great good fortune to have met across a few thousands miles for a conversation based on knowing each other’s written words, then shimmying between the lines, snuggling into some of the stories in the margins.



  1. 🙂

  2. Aww, it makes me happy the two of you met in person!

  3. This post made my day! Beautiful picture, beautiful people. 🙂
    P.S. Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t get much of Emily’s work.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful meeting. Thanks for sharing it and the photo.

  5. Thanks, Laura! And for all you do making this winter brighter with your flowery art.

  6. Thanks for the 🙂 Jen. Hope your transitions are still feeling hopeful.

  7. Love our community here, and always such a treat on the rare face-to-face meetings. I hope your warmer winter is going well.

  8. Thanks, Jama. Now I just need you to have relatives within a two hour drive — or something. It will happen. Look forward to tea someday and talking about the many things besides ED I don’t get. But keep trying, or shrugging, depending…

  9. Thanks, Barbara. This was a February highlight for sure, with a memory that’s keeping me cozy.

  10. How neat 🙂 It’s so wonderful to meet writer friends in person…it always amazes me how it’s like finding family!

  11. Your beautiful smiles light up my Sunday morning! I’m so happy you could spend time together. Those face to face get-togethers are such a treat–and fly by altogether too quickly. Wouldn’t I just love to meet up with both of you for a leisurely tea and chat! xo

  12. : )

  13. I wish I could have been there! BTW if any of you are ever in Florida, I live just north of Gainesville off I-75 and I have 2 guest rooms. It is about 2 hours (south) to Disney from here, and this is an eco-tourism area, springs, bike riding, canoeing, a butterfly house in the Museum of Natural History which is full of butterflies and beautiful plants and you walk through it…
    That was a sweet picture.

    Melodye was in Mass when I was in Mass? I was there on the 50 degree day!
    Jeannine, I was so busy with my daughter and I knew I’d be back so I didn’t worry about getting in touch on this trip, but if I’d known Melodye would be in from California, I would have squeezed in the time to see you both.

  15. Wait–just googled Chaiwalla and I think you drove to CT. I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

  16. Oh, finding family: what a perfect way to put it. Without the baggage!

  17. Thank you, Lorraine. Someday we will have tea and talk. That’s not just a wish, but a promise.

  18. Thank you for your most generous offer in what sounds like heaven! Even if the temps hadn’t gone back to below freezing. Mmm, I’m trying to hear the paddles and smell the trees. Melodye asked me about one with a pretty shape and I said there would be pink blossoms on it in about two months. And heard her slight, polite choke: two months! And we’ve been waiting…

  19. You’re right, it was a field trip for me, and Melodye’s time was not her own so there was some last minuteness to everything, so you can retract some of your DANGS. How amazing if you could have joined us though, a meeting of points south, northeast, and west. One day in our LJ Dream Meet-up if we’re all very lucky or someone discovers a convenient way to collapse space.
    Glad you were around to enjoy the smell of slush and old road salt!

  20. What a lovely day! I’m glad you got to meet Melodye.
    And Emily is sometimes completely opaque – to everyone, I think. That said, there are some of her poems that I’ve found mean quite a lot to me, even though my interpretation is off on its own and not necessarily the “usual” one.

  21. Jeannine, my heart’s still glowing in the aftermath of our cozy luncheon last week. Would that we lived closer, so that we could meet up again, and soon. But I’ll carry that memory in my heart forever, a treasure to unpack again and again. I find myself smiling whenever I think about it–and you! xoxo

  22. How much fun would THAT have been? I’m sorry that our schedules didn’t allow for that, but I’m smiling at the thought. xo

  23. I’ve kept that picture up on my screensaver, so I’m smiling a lot! That visit was a highlight of this too-long winter. That you for making the time from within your many important chores! xo

  24. Lovely day indeed!
    Of course just because much of Emily’s work is hard to comprehend, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy their music and mystery and once in a while a glimpse of understanding as a layer peels away. I love that they contain so many interpretations.

  25. How wonderful that you had a chance to meet! Thanks for sharing the day in words and pictures that put us right there with you.

  26. Lucky Melodye, getting to spend an afternoon with you! Send her my way and bring yourself with her. We have no snow, lots of robins, daffodils just beginning to wake up…

  27. What a lovely afternoon. I can’t stop looking at your two smiling faces. Just beautiful.

  28. Thanks, Amy. I can so clearly the day we first met in person. Seconds in I asked you to help me with my luggage (back when the NESCBWI conference was at Nashua). Even fonder memories of wandering around Concord. All are special and sustaining.

  29. Daffodils, sweet tea, and you: sounds like heaven. Just wish the drive wasn’t quite so long…. someday!

  30. Thanks, Tracy. These meetings are so great. I still carry pictures in my head of the Blue Raincoat girls which has us all beaming.

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