on the interwebs again, my friends!

When I showed my husband the new gigantic interview with yours truly, “Breakfast with Leslie,” at Creative Construction: Life & Art, he said, “Yeah, so you’re on the Internet again.”

I’ve made a lot of contacts over my four years on Flickr and various discussion boards. I learned when I was fourteen and had a lot of pen pals that knowing people from all over gives you a place to stay when you travel. Seeing the world was a goal of mine in the olden days, when I slept naturally, all the time, and didn’t have to think about it. My husband still likes to go, though, and I like that I’m able to hook us up with Stewart Green, a writer and climber living in Colorado; or Penny, who lives in the West Kootenays, off the grid in Canada (she has a pet crow); or cybergeek and runner Steffen, in Vienna; or the lovely Gabi, who’s trying to be in Rotterdam most of the time; or the insanely funny Martin, in County Cork.

And I love that Fran stayed with me and has sent me her book. I love my friend Derek, who is so thoughtful that has sent me cards for every occasion, including my birthday, Halloween, my book, and no reason at all. And I love that I can visit Sarah Bloom an hour and a half away in Philly (and even take in a Bahhhhhhhb show together in November). And one of my best friends in the whole wide world is Jennifer König, who thinks all my thoughts at the same time; we have visited each other, with our families, and we work in virtual cubicles next to each other—and next to one of my all-time favorite humans, Patrick T. Power.

This cultivation of friendships with faraway people is selfish. I feel like I get everything, even when I’m commenting on blogs and photos, emailing them when they are sick; celebrating with them when something cool happens, like when Cory got her new tattoo; and supporting them in times of crisis, like when my Jackson Heights friend, Jodi, lost her beloved Molly, or when Susan in Jersey and David, a Canadian teaching English in Korea, lost their fathers. Being their friends is rewarding, and I spend a lot of time doing it.

My husband works hard at his job. He’s a middle-school teacher, and sixth grade is his homeroom. Do you remember sixth grade? It was the worst year of my life. I had breasts. I got my period. The boys at my table called me “Moose Miller,” after the comic, and I was teased because, well, I guess I had “it” goin’ on. The hormones are insane in sixth grade. Marty teaches Catholic school, and many of the families are conservative, so add that wrench to the psyche of the unreligious, left-leaning, peace-loving man. Then throw seven preps a day in math and social studies on top of the mix, and you have an overworked dude who’s not going to be too thrilled when you show him the gigantic interview about you, which appeared because others felt your Internet presence.

This morning, I gave him an example of why it’s so important and why he should be pleased about this news. Fellow Goucher Gopher, and now Flickr friend, Kimberly Hosey, told me that she was so excited about my book that she would buy 100 copies. I reminded her that even on Amazon it would cost her $1,700. She agreed she’d probably only buy one or three, but she’d make 100 others buy the book.

My husband thought this was a good thing. He’d like nothing more than for me to be a successful writer and sole breadwinner, while he home-schools our daughter and takes her on field trips to Korea. (It’s not likely to happen. But that will be our little secret.)

In the meantime, though this may just sound like the politics of P.R., I want everyone to know that when I talk about my 120 Flickr contacts or my twelve Square One-ers or the people on Facebook, 37 of whom wrote me Happy Birthday greetings the other day, I start every sentence with “My friend….”

And, my friends, when I say, “my friends,” I actually mean it.*

*Unlike that other one.

P.S. Thank you, my newest friend, Miranda, for the awesome interview at Creative Construction.

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