"In the 1934 book "Beyond the Mexican Bay," British author Aldous Huxley observed that "the natural rhythm of human life is routine punctuated by orgies." He was using the word "orgies" in its broadest sense - not to refer to wild sex parties, but rather to cathartic eruptions of passion, uninhibited indulgence in revelry and spirited rituals of relief and release. That's the kind of orgy you're due for, Leo. It's high time to punctuate your routine."
I don't know if I'd ever thought of an orgy in these terms, but when you look at it that way, it was precisely what my Chicago weekend was. And, it was very sweet indeed!
I met up with two friends, friends I'd known for several years and "punctuated my routine!"
The comments our families had before we met ranged from "How do you know these people?" to "Mom, it's going to be a 40-year-old man with bodies in the basement."
But I liked Diana's husband's name for us best -- the bloggies.
I was meeting with Diana (aka Oh) of The Writing Life (and for old timers as Oh, Books! Oh Paper! Oh, Life!) and with Kerry (aka Qugrainne and now Kerrylee.org). (And that's the order of us above, with me in the middle!)
We have been following one another's blogs for at least two years, when Becca started "Write on Wednesday" and for all of us, writing and books play a major role in our lives. We also share an artistic streak, appreciating art and creating our own.
What better place to connect, then, than in a city midway that is filled with art, life, beauty and music! (And bustling city streets with traffic! This enthusiastic woman danced on the street, almost as though choreographed!)
We met on Friday and while we'd never set eyes on one another until that day, we felt as though we'd been friends for a very long time. As we walked the city that first day (and we walked a lot!), we talked about writing and books, our families, our career plans, our travels, our lives.
We'd mention fellow bloggers in conversation as though they were neighbors -- "You know, Ruth, don't you?" "Oh, I love her!" "Anno's sure had a lot going on!" "Linda has a good system -- one long post a week." "You read Bella, right?" And when someone said "Do you know Carl?" I knew I was going to come home and check it out.
To kick up your heels and meet up with friends you've never met was interesting -- I've traveled with people I know far better and with whom there have been more travel challenges: "I want to go here" or "I want to go there." Our group all had some similar interests -- we knew the art museum was a must -- and we were all game for anything.
No one was conceding to be polite. We were simply up for it. And if anyone had said, "Gee, I don't think so," we all would have agreed, knowing there were plenty of alternatives.
All of us have a passion for photography so no one was impatient when one stopped for photos -- usually, we'd all pull out our cameras and shoot! (And I confess, I'm excited to see everyone's photos to see how shooting the same images differ!)
In moving along in an unscheduled, unplanned way, we discovered beauty when we least expected it (like this stained glass exhibit at Navy Pier.)
We spent the day doing what we liked with people we liked, whether it was at the museum...
The Blues Fest...
Walking the city (with a little shopping and photography thrown in!)
Or simply doing what we did best -- talk, compare notes, share stories, talk about things that made us angry or sad or concerned.
If we wore on each other's nerves, I couldn't tell it. I know no one was on mine, and the only disappointment was saying farewell.
There's more to say, to share and show about this wonderful city -- but I've rattled on long enough. Except to say this...
I think you can tell from reading a blog if a person is a bit of a kindred spirit. We share how we live, our passions, our lives, our talents. We may or may not agree on every topic, yet we can tell when one is being authentic.
I think all of us were curious, but none of us really believed that we'd come to Chicago and encounter a 40-year-old man with bodies in the basement. Or if we did, he wouldn't be one of us!
To connect face-to-face merely adds a third dimension to the person we see in a rectangular format on a screen. Sometimes the warmth leaps off that screen, we might even see a movie so we know what the voice is like. But that third dimension is icing on the cake -- and we all know, frosting is the best part!