Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

When blogging friends become “real friends” May 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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IN THIS WONDERFUL WORLD of blogging, I expected to share my passions for writing and photography.

I never anticipated, though, the friendships and connections I would form with other bloggers and with readers.

Doreen, left, and I at Crossings at Carnegie.

Doreen, left, and I at Crossings at Carnegie.

Saturday evening, I met, in real life, my blogger friend, Doreen, who writes at “Treadlemusic.” She and her husband, Tom, drove 1 ½ hours from their southeastern Minnesota home to the small community of Zumbrota for Poet-Artist Collaboration XIII at Crossings at Carnegie. I read my poem, “Lilacs,” at the event which paired 26 selected poems with art they inspired. (Click here to read about that.)

I was impressed that Doreen and Tom would drive that far to support me. But I’m not surprised. Doreen, whom I’ve gotten to know through blogging and a few phone conversations, is that kind of caring person. Just read some of her blog posts (click here) and you will meet a woman passionate about quilting and about bringing joy into the lives of others.

She was everything I expected. Funny. Bubbly. Full of energy and enthusiasm and genuinely happy to be at the collaboration. She cheered me on, gave me two thumbs up after my reading. Doreen is the kind of friend you cherish.

And Tom is equally as delightful, albeit much more subdued than his wife. People would likely say the same thing about my husband, Randy. They are a good balance for their wives. I figured the two husbands would get along just fine and enjoy some guy conversation. They did.

Crossings at Carnegie, site of the Poet-Artist Collaboration XIII.

Crossings at Carnegie, site of the Poet-Artist Collaboration XIII.

Tom shared with Randy that, if not for the woman he married, he would not have attended events like the Poet-Artist Collaboration. Randy would say the same. Today both guys embrace the arts, for the most part.

As for Doreen and me, there’s no question we share a passion for creativity. She stitches hers into fabric. I stitch mine into words and images.

And now we’ve stitched together a friendship that goes beyond the exchange of blogger comments and the occasional email and phone call. We are real life friends.

IN ADDITION TO DOREEN, I’ve met four other bloggers whom I now consider friends:

Beth Ann, who writes from northeastern Iowa at “It’s Just Life,” also traveled 1 ½ hours to meet me for the first time in December of 2012. She and husband, Chris, came for my poetry presentation and reading at Buckham Memorial Library in Faribault. Since then, Beth Ann and I have lunched together, talked many times on the phone and recently dined together in nearby Owatonna with our husbands. She possesses great compassion and care, makes me laugh and has this wonderful Southern accent. I am blessed by her friendship.

Gretchen is the second blogger (“A Fine Day for an Ephiphay”) whom I met when she and her family drove to Faribault from rural Worthington to attend a play directed by a friend. We invited them to our home for supper. Since then, Randy and I have been to their home for supper. Gretchen is an incredibly gifted writer. But more than that, she is a kind and loyal friend who listens and cares. She has a wonderful husband and kids and we all feel like we’ve known each other for years. Such comfortable familiarity endears this family to me.

Jackie, who writes at “Who will make me laugh,” is the third blogger I’ve met. We share a passion for barns, country churches, gravel roads, Sunday afternoon drives and more. She’s one talented photographer. Jackie and I met last summer when my husband and I were in Rochester moving our son into his new apartment. She had scouted out apartment options for him and tipped us off to suitable options. For that I was grateful. Jackie and her husband, Rick, are also the type of individuals who make you feel right at home with their warmth and friendliness. A bonus of our meet-up was meeting their adorable granddaughter, Audrey. Within minutes of meeting, Audrey gave me a bracelet. She is sweet and kind, just like her grandma.

Sue, who lives in the metro (and elsewhere depending on the season) and blogs at “Ever Ready,” traveled to Faribault last fall with her sister for lunch at my house. She is among the most enthusiastic supporters of my poetry. I am so appreciative of Sue’s encouragement. She writes poetry, too, and heads up the Northwoods Art and Book Festival in Hackensack. My poem, “Lilacs,” was selected last year as a “Work of Merit” at that event. Sue is a real foodie and I’ve gone to her blog numerous times to find great recipes.

There you have it. Blogging is about so much more than writing and showcasing photos. It’s about community and friendship.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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22 Responses to “When blogging friends become “real friends””

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Doreen is EXACTLY as you describe her and that is such a great picture of the two of you! So happy you got to meet in person. Now we need to get the 6 of us together like we planned sometime. Seriously, we need to make that a priority because I think it would be amazing. Great to see blogger friends in real life. It is as you say—so more more than writing and showcasing photos. So much. I am grateful every day for you.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    It’s a small world after all. How great to meet those that you interact with online on a regular basis. You nailed it here –> “Blogging is about so much more than writing and showcasing photos. It’s about community and friendship.”

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    Audrey, I am still a bit euphoric from the Saturday evening event…….I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our time together. Thank you so much for your sweet sweet words!!!!! Hugs and blessings……………………………..

  4. Beautiful Post – have to agree in that blogging is about community and friendship 🙂 Happy Tuesday!

  5. Isn’t it amazing that we have this gift of online connection that really does spill over into non-digital life? I met my friend Oonah, who lives in England, face-to-face for the first time when she came out of the international terminal at the MSP airport, suitcase in hand and husband in tow, to stay at my house for two weeks after we had worked together online for three years. She, in turn, hosted Mick and me at her home last month. This year, I’m hoping to connect with two former Every Day Poets colleagues somewhere in the middle of the country since one is in Wyoming and the other is in Georgia. And your Saturday event was awfully special from what you’ve written.

    • Now those are remarkable connections, Kathleen. I bet you felt like you’d known Oonah and her husband for years, right?

      Yes, the reception and readings in Zumbrota on Saturday rated as pretty fabulous. It’s just so inspiring to be in the company of many other creative types and to have such work fully appreciated.

  6. Jackie Says:

    How fun for you to finally meet Doreen in person, sounds like you had a wonderful time! I know when I met you Audrey i felt like I already knew you… You are a sweet authentic genuine friend, it would be fun to connect again this summer, I like Beth Ann’s idea, a bunch of us meeting up…can you imagine? It would be so fun 🙂

  7. hotlyspiced Says:

    It sounds like you’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging. I love it when I get the opportunity to meet a virtual friend. Look out Audrey, one day I might just make it to the prairies xx


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