And I've now met a ton of them, thanks to the conference happening at my university right now. The "Friendly Green Conference," as jo(e) calls it, is here at UVic this year, and this afternoon I was able to put a bunch of faces to pseudonyms. I've been trying to piece together the day I've had, and it's late and so I don't expect to put together anything eloquent right now.
I'm glad that I studied the pictures of jo(e) and the Dandelion Diva on Facebook before I went to the university. jo(e) had told me that I should drop in and have lunch with them one day, and that she was arranging to have all the bloggers meet up at the reception this afternoon. I don't think I'd processed the fact that there would be hundreds of people milling around campus, carrying the conference cloth bag and wearing name tags. I became That Person who is peering at everyone's name tags (and is clearly not wearing a name tag herself). The positive result of this was that I ended up acting as a tour guide to several conference-goers, shepherding them to their buildings.
But as soon as I saw jo(e) I knew it was her. I recognised her hair first, since I've been seeing the back of her head for years now. And she was exactly as you'd expect jo(e) to be: lively, brilliant, friends with everyone in the room, at the centre of every scheme. She asked the Dandelion Diva and I if she was anything like we expected and we both said "Yes" without hesitating.
So, I ran into jo(e) as she was walking to the cafeteria with two conference friends (one of who is the husband of another blogger), and they invited me to have lunch with them. I'm sure glad that everyone was so kind and friendly, because it took some work for me not to be as shy and awkward as I sometimes felt. I had so much fun that it was a lot less scary crashing their reception later that afternoon, where I got to meet up with the rest of the bloggers.
I had barely gotten in to the reception when I recognised the faces of Keri the Dandelion Diva and her partner (I'm really glad that I was studying Facebook photos that day). It's funny to say this because I was just meeting them, but it was a relief to see some familiar faces in that hot, noisy room. It really did feel like I'd known Keri for years (which I guess I have now, looking back and seeing that I was reading her old blog three years ago). After that, we managed to track down jo(e) again, and then Rana, Kathryn of Adventures With Ari,* and Julie Meloni.
And that's how I ended up at a supper table full of brilliant "prof bloggers" (as I've always found myself referring to them), in the University residence's cafeteria, much earlier than anyone else was thinking about supper (certain others in the group are still on Eastern Standard Time), constantly realising that we'd just said the word "take a naked picture" a little too loudly for this public place.
On Saturday I'll be attending a round table session with all of them, in which they'll discuss blogging and academia. This is all very cool, and now I'm going to spend some time looking over everyone's blogs again, adjusting the way that I read them to accomodate the voices and the faces that I know now. (It's kind of like meeting book characters in real life.)
* Note to Bronwyn: you need to check out this blog. It's framed around the walks she takes with her dog Ari, and she has a book about it, with the same name. I got to talk about dogs with her and it was delightful.