"You have a new email from Manuela," so says the little message thing that pops up on the bottom of my screen. "Oh, my," I think, realizing that the boss wouldn't be writing on boxing day if it wasn't important. I rush to the email and it says "Went to your blog this morning and nothing was there, are you OK?" Well, as it happened just before I got the email I was staring at a blank screen trying to think what to write and wondering if it would be OK to take the day off from blogging. What the heck, it's the holidays.
But this blog thing is an odd one isn't it? It's a way to connect with other lives. When I was overseas I had a woman, a regular blog reader, come up and give me a hug in thanks for all the stuff she'd read on the blog, her "daily ritual" and at that same event I met a guy with a disability who had just made a movie about his life and he titled the movie based on something said by the self advocates at Essex and that I had recorded here on my blog.
In a couple of months I have a date to meet a fellow blogger, Elizabeth, who writes the blog 'Screw Bronze' which is a favourite of mine. She has blistering intelligence and a fierce wit. Her description of how, for her as a lesbian, wheelchair user who's house is full of skulls, Christianity, or her father's explanation of Christ, shaped her life is wonderfully faithfull and incredibly irreverent at the same time - a style of writing that she has mastered. So we've chatted back and forth between our blogs and are now arranging to meet. Strangers not long ago, sharing a bevvy in the not too distant future. Coolio. (Though I can't imagine what Elizabeth is going to make of someone who can say, without blushing, Coolio.)
Out of the blue a month or two ago I got a comment from neice Shannon and then bam a letter from her brother. I haven't talked to these kids for years. Not that we were fighting, we just lived in very different worlds. Now I'm feeling a little more attached to the world of family and was amazed to find, in Shannon's writing the same incredible charm that I'd noticed she had as a child. Her blog about animal's kneeling on Christmas eve inspired me to remember the Christmas plays I used to write for St. Paul's church. Mark too writes an wonderful letter and is obviously fond of words. He mentioned my "Walking on Robson" blog in a letter and I grinned at the idea of sharing that moment with him and not even knowing.
On my birthday someone from England wrote and said that 'Chewing the Fat' and my writing had helped them develop an acceptance of their use of a wheelchair, or the transition from cane to chair. That they had discovered an increased mobility and a kind of defiance for the reaction of onlookers. They couldn't have given me a bigger birthday present. That's exactly why I started Chewing the Fat. I wanted to bring a stinging slap to those who 'oh poor you in your wheelchair.' Affecting someone like that is very, very humbling.
Then my friend Joan, who is still my friend even if we only talk on birthdays and major holidays, tells me that she drops into Chewing the Fat just to stay connected. She's busy in her world, I'm busy in mine. But we share memories of bizarre times we spent together - like the night that she, a straight woman, won the Arnold Scwartzenegger (can't spell it and can't be bothered to find out how) look-a-like contest in a gay bar. We've known each other since we met in university. She's quite a lot older than me, 14 months I think, and I like her presence in my life as a, kind of, elder.
It's an odd kind of connection, somewhat real, somewhat not, here in the world of blogging. A kind of intimacy happens because we human beings have a drive for intimacy and connection. We need to feel that we matter, we need to let others know they matter. I'm going to get slaughtered for this, but, many people with intellectual disabilities have a knack for intimacy, a skill at seeing beyond the obvious, "You're not fat, you're Dave," was once said to me by a chubbly little girl with Down Syndrome.
So, besides all this, besides Manuela's concern for my health (by the by Manuela, I can't send you an email on your other email address because I only have the Vita one) I'm going to take the day off today. I'll blog again tomorrow.