I read a passage in the book, “Crow Planet”, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, this morning that caused one of those frequently occuring experiences for me; it made me want to converse with the author. I wanted to say, “Hey! I do that, too!”
Such connections with writers and musicians have long been a constant in my life. I am influenced greatly by the words of others that come through pages or songs. Over time, if I read enough of their writing or watch the collection of their CDs grow on my shelf, I begin to think that they are my friends. And in some ways, they are.
I have spent many a serious, quiet morning with Karen Armstrong. I have laughed out loud with Mark Salzman. Recently, I have spent hours on end listening to the words of Bridget Kearny (Joy Kills Sorrow), wondering where and how such simple, beautiful poetry comes from. I imagine myself asking her over coffee, “How do you write a song?” Such are the gifts of friendship, be they real or imagined.
After reading the passage this morning, I remembered that I am a fan of Haupt’s Facebook page and decided to visit it and share my, “Hey! I do that, too” thought. I don’t know that she herself maintains this page or sees the things people post there. For all I know, these new social media outlets are nothing more than the fan mail P.O. boxes of an earlier time. Still, the idea that I can so easily connect with the person who put those words on the page of the book that sits on my lap and gives me joy reading it… well, I find that an interesting and somewhat comforting thought.
Haupt writes of being an urban naturalist. Her writing, in some ways, reminds me of my most favorite author ever, Annie Dillard. I cannot imagine the reclusive Dillard, who point blank says she neither reads nor answers the mail of strangers, having a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Part of her genius, I believe, is born of that character. I imagine her such an intense personality that I’m not sure I’d ever want to meet her, yet there will always be a part of me that wishes to offer her my thanks for the many, many mysterious and wonderful hours we have spent together. If she ever did possess such a virtual, social space, I’d take advantage.