21 October 2009

Friends Old and Cyber

It's an interesting thing to surf these cyberwaves and suddenly find a friend, isn't it? It's almost like reading a book and discovering that you can see yourself or a loved one in some of the characters.

A week and some back, I was polishing off a third reading of a favorite book by a favorite author when I spotted a food blogger posting about that very same writer. She had recently read Jan Karon's "At Home in Mitford," and written a blog about it.

As I've explained here before, a friend loaned me a copy of that very same book over a year ago. Since then, I've read the entire "Mitford Series" and kept them for months at a time until my sweet friend bought me the paperback set for Christmas in order to get her own copies returned. (Thanks again, Lynn, for one of the most thoughtful gifts ever!)

Back to our story. The food blogger was posting about butterscotch pecan pie and "At Home in Mitford" and her mother and, well, let me clip her description of Cynthia, who is one of her favorite characters:
"It seemed to me anyone who can breeze through a witty list of things
they don't love was exactly the sort of person I'd like to grow into."
Well, yes, there's that. The character that she was speaking of is Cynthia, the wife of Father Tim, who is the central character in Karon's Mitford series.

By the way, in the book, Cynthia is a well-known children's author. Perhaps that's why she's the character that I like to think is modeled after the author herself, shown in the picture to the right.
That's right. I mentally ascribe many of Cynthia's great characteristics (including her pink sponge rollers) to Jan Karon. So the idea that the blogger wants to grow into having a few of her witty and positive attributes makes complete sense to me.

As I continued to read the blogger's post, she seemed to feel many of the same things I felt about Karon's writings. I could hear her rather, well, cheeky voice, coming to me across the internet, expressing the same feelings of wanting focus on happier things, send out happier tidings, and generate a happier countenance for everyone around her. And when I saw her pictures, it all seemed to fit together perfectly. (By the way, Brooke has a talented photographer friend who I actually swiped this picture from, at this blogsite. Go, look, and be quick about it!)

I jotted a quick comment on her blog, mentioning that I had just posted a blog the day before about Jan Karon's writing, too. I wasn't expecting her to respond back. It was just nice to feel a little emotional connection in an often disconnecting, jarring world. Then I went on my way.
What happened next surprised me and my new blogger (that would be Brooke) friend, too, I think.
First, Brooke backtracked from my comment to my blog. We swapped a few notes privately and then each got our own separate and collective days made by a note from (someone we presume to be) Ms. Karon's asssistant, telling us she'd read our blogs. Here's the comment made on my blog:
"Just a note to let you know that Jan Karon enjoyed reading your blogspot,
and your comments about the Mitford series. She sends her warm regards and
wanted you to know that her daughter was a journalist..."
I'm still not sure if Ms. Karon ever noted that her two blogger fans connected, but who cares? JAN KARON WAS READING OUR BLOGS!
One funny thing for me was that I received the above note while checking email on my PDA during a break at a work day "Basic Business Grammar and Writing" seminar. I mentioned this to my charming teacher, who cocked her head to the side and said her mother had been nagging her for years to read those Jan Karon books. Perhaps now, she said, it was time to find out what this (20 million copy selling) author was about?
A few blogs back when I was describing my absentminded efforts to fill a need within myself by surfing the Internet, I didn't think to make a new friend in this way, but it has happened. The writer of that cheeky little blog and I have now swapped several notes and connected on levels that I could never have anticipated.

In tribute and appreciation of Jan Karon, she has made these beautiful marmalade cupcakes, which are her own individual take found here at Tongue-N-Cheeky blog on a particularly beloved treat in the fictional town of Mitford: the diabetic coma inducing (that's nearly true, but mostly an insider comment for Mitford readers) stupendous "Three Layer Marmalade Cake."

Have you ever seen such a wildly energetic blog in your life? I'm in awe. And I truly believe that the reason that Brooke of "Tongue-N-Cheeky" wears yellow shoes in many of her pictures will be revealed to her in about another six Mitford books down the long, charming, literary trail that Jan Karon weaves.

She'll find a little of herself in "Sissie" and be delighted all over again.
As for myself, I continue to surf... the real horizon. I'm looking for that next bit of human candy to bring you. And if I was to consider which Mitford character I most resemble, well, certainly I've got all of Father Tim's foibles. But I'm most wishing to resemble Hope, the owner of Happy Endings Bookstore.
To understand why, you'll have to read all of the books or, well, be Jan Karon herself, who seems to understand a great deal. Thanks again for all the help your books provided last year, Jan. They were everything.


Kathryn said...

I'm also a Jan Karon fan and I would be so tickled to find out she read my blog!
Also, I love the pics of DC, we live in the Shenandoah Valley and got up there for a White House Garden Tour last weekend and the colors where just getting toward peak, it was beautiful!
Glad to have found your blog and look forward to many more visits!

Marti said...

Enthusiasm and kind comments like yours will have me looking forward to seeing you here, Kathryn. (Eight boys and THEN you have a girl??! Good for you, Woman! No one can say you give up easily!)

Michal said...

alright, alright! i'll read the books!

i wandered over from brooke's blog, intrigued by her story about your virtual connection.

i'll be back!

Marti said...

They're a very sweet read, Michal. I can promise that you won't be disappointed. Good luck!