I was sitting at my desk this morning when my home phone rang. Ninety-nine percent of the time when I get a call on my home line it's a spam call (do I want to purchase solar panels for my house (I already have them, thank you}. Am I aware that my social security number has been stolen (Doubtful). Do I want to purchase an extended warranty for a car I no longer own (Not today). So, I usually I ignore the calls. But not this morning.
I recognized the name and number immediately. The call was coming from New Jersey, from someone who has known me since before I was born. It was Barbara was calling. Given Barbara's age (which will remain a secret) and the fact that she never calls me, I was immediately concerned. I picked up the phone right away to make sure everything was okay. But before I get to that, a little more about Barbara.
Barbara was like my second mother growing up. She and her family lived a few doors up from us and our moms were the best of friends. Both Barbara and my mom had children close in age so they had a lot in common. They spent many happy times together as young moms and continued to remain friends until my mom passed away last year.
Barbara's youngest daughter, Alison, was my good friend growing up. I would often run down the street. after school or on a weekend and we would play for hours. It was the perfect neighborhood friendship that we all hope our children will have. Like our mothers, Alison and have enjoyed a lifelong friendship.
Every morning, like clockwork, my sister and I would walk to the Melnick's house where they (Steven, Todd and Alison) would join us to walk to school. After school, we would play ball in the street well into in the evening, often until it grew dark. We were the best of friends.
So back to my unexpected call this morning from this magnificent woman whom I have known all my life. "Jana, I haven't been receiving your blogs," she said with great concern. "Am I not on the list anymore?" she implored. No Barbara, you are still on the list. Did you see the one about Miles recovering from his peanut allergies? The answers was yes, she had, but had grown concerned that no posts had appeared since. I explained that I had been busy and although I had a lot of ideas swirling around in my head on what to write, I had not put pen. to paper, so to speak, in a few weeks. "But Jana, you have your audience to consider. We are waiting for the next post and look so forward to reading them!" I was flattered, to put it mildly.
After Barbara and I finished catching up, I assured her that I would start writing and posting again, which made her very happy. That got me thinking about my blog. My blog stirs up a mixed set of emotions in me. Depending on when you ask me, you might get any number of responses on how I feel about it. I love writing my blog, it such a great creative outlet, I might say on a day where my post came easily to me or was received with great fanfare by my smattering of devoted readers. Conversely, on a day when I've written a post that seemed more difficult to get out than giving birth to a child or haven't gotten as many views as I had hoped for, you might hear something a bit less upbeat. That damn blog! Why do I keep writing it? It takes so much of my time to write and no one even reads it. Not to mention that it doesn't make me any money! What can I say? My blog and I have a complicated relationship.
But what I will say is that sometimes I forget about my readers, which Barbara reminded me of so aptly this morning. Typically I write a post, hit publish and move on with my day (or go to sleep as is more often the case since most are written at night). Most of the time, the only. feedback I get is how many people have read it, which I have come to learn, doesn't tell the whole story. That is to say that sometimes I will get a text or email from a particular individual who read the blog and was really touched by it in some way. That always makes my day. I don't care what any creative person says, most of us care about how our audiences receive our work. My guess is that there is hardly a writer, painter, photographer or chef out there that feels comfortable creating in a vacuum, without the input of those on the receiving end of his or her creativity. It's just human nature.
Barbara's call reminded me of that. Her call also reminded me to be grateful to all those who take time out of their day to read what I have written and especially to those who text, call or email me, from time-to-time, to let me know that I have touched their life in some small way, with what I have written.
With any luck, Barbara will awaken to this blog post tomorrow morning. I hope it brings a smile to her face like the one she brought to mine this morning with her most unexpected call. Happy reading Barbara and thank you for the loving nudge!
Thank you to Garin for taking this late night photo of a very tired me writing tonight's post.