Yesterday was our chance to show our love to the many wonderful book bloggers who didn't make the shortlists for the BBAW awards. Wow...the posts were wonderful, weren't they? And I don't even have to ask how many of you doubled the subscriptions in your readers, do I? All hands are raised, I'm sure.
But as I wrote my post yesterday, I couldn't help but feel a little sad. For one thing, there are just so many people who brighten my days on a regular basis...and if I read your blog, that means you're one of them! So I used the only method I knew to select out who to highlight..."randomosity." But the other thing that made me sad is that so many of the people that have honestly, truly become my closest friends were shortlisted...so I couldn't gush all over them.
Well, I'm going to do that today...
Ana a.k.a. Nymeth...Though I have never seen her beautiful face in person, she is undoubtedly one of the very best friends I have ever, EVER had! We've laughed together, and we've grieved together. She is a bottomless well of support. Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how guilty I feel about the crap I dump on her...but she never complains. She listens to it all, and then miraculously finds the words to make me feel better. And it's always so comforting to find someone who sees the world in the same way you do. I swear, there is not a single thing about Ana that I don't love. She is intelligent, and thoughtful, and generous, and open...and dammit, I'm starting to cry here because I honestly don't know what I ever did to deserve such an incredible person in my life.
Of course, she has been living hell on our floors...and when we go crashing down through to the basement under the weight of all these books, she had better fly herself right over here and help us rebuild. ;)
Chris...He's Ana, in boy form. :D Don't worry, they both know what a tremendous compliment that is! Of course, Chris and Ana are very individual people...it's just that the feelings I have for them both are so strong. Chris is one of the kindest, most genuine people on the planet! You know, with Rich and Ana and Chris, I think I could face any challenge that this world could throw at me...and that's a feeling I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. I got to meet Chris in person. :D Was it awkward or uncomfortable? Did it take us time to warm up and feel at ease? HELL NO!!! Because Chris on-line = Chris in person. There's no pretense there. It felt as if we'd known each other forever. And I will cherish those two days with him always! Of course, we'll be getting together again...there is NO doubt about that! Friends like Chris just don't come into one's life very often...and I am so very blessed that he came into mine!
Renay...I don't think I've ever been quite so intimidated by any blogger as I was by Renay. And you know, I almost hate using that word "intimidated" because I worry that it has a negative connotation, and I truly don't mean it to. So let me explain...I never felt I could possibly have anything to say that the incredibly awesome Renay would want to hear. Going the equation route again: Renay = fabulously cool, while Debi = total dork. But guess what! While these descriptions remain true, it didn't stop Renay from liking me. :D I was lucky enough to get to meet Renay in person, too. And holy crap, I just love her all the more! But for all this babbling here, I haven't really told you what makes Renay so special to me. Renay has one incredible voice! She doesn't pull her punches. She reviews books like no one else I've ever read. She makes me think...always. Even when I think my eyes are already wide open, she manages to pull them open even wider. I don't know quite how to thank her for that, because it's one of those gifts that is truly priceless. And don't let her fool you...sure, she's strong and she's opinionated and she's just too cool for words...but she's also got a heart of gold.
Eva...Eva is such a ray of sunshine in my life! I probably shouldn't admit it, but I feel almost maternal towards her at times. I'm guessing that's because she and Annie remind me so much of one another. And as I've told Eva before, I can't possibly think of a better role model. I worry about her incessantly, probably to the point that I drive her crazy (though she would never admit it)...but I can't help it, because I just cannot stand the fact that she suffers with such pain. But while I worry about her, it is she who ends up making me feel better about myself. She's so incredibly intelligent that at first I was definitely greatly intimidated by her. But she refused to let that stand...she somehow managed to make me stop degrading myself by comparison. Now, instead of feeling stupid around her, I take joy in all I can learn from her. Can I say it again, what a ray of sunshine she is...because warmth and light and happiness, that's Eva!
Carl...Talk about the epitome of giving. It seems like a lifetime ago when Annie and I met Carl through the first Once Upon a Time challenge. Because who could possibly believe that so much could happen in just a couple short years. Over this time, I have grown to love Carl and his family more than I can say. He totally won my undying friendship in his selfless gestures to a little girl. I've tried to tell him, but I'm not sure I've ever been able to convey the true extent that the impact his encouragement, and generosity, and respect, had on Annie. A little girl who always found herself feeling a bit different from her peers. But all that was just the beginning. The gifts I've received from this incredible guy are boundless...from the horizon-expanding nature of his posts both on books and on art to the reawakening of my long-buried love of horror, from the endless fun he provides us all through his awesome challenges to the encouragement he abundantly offers...but the most precious of all, is truly his wonderful friendship.
Trish...There is no possible way on earth that one cannot fall in love with Trish! Those of you who know her, I'm sure you'll agree. For those of you who don't, well, I dare to go meet her and see. Always, always, always, Trish makes me smile! :D And not just itty bitty smiles either, no, we're talking the ear-to-ear variety here. It's one of those ineffable qualities. Honestly, I can't describe it. She exudes warmth and friendship and positive feelings. She's so open and welcoming and gosh darnit, she's just as adorable as can be!
Amanda...I haven't known Amanda nearly as long as I've known these other friends, but already I can't imagine my life without her. Truth is, she sometimes reminds me of me, only in a much more polished form. :D Honestly, there's so many thing I love about her...her passion for her incredible family, her talent with a pen (or keyboard, if you will), her willingness to disagree with the "majority" about a book, her worldviews, her love of all things HP...seriously, this list could go on and on. But on a selfish note, there's also the fact that she has a knack for making me feel good about myself...she somehow seems to sense my insecurities and bolsters me just when I need it (and I have no idea if she's even conscious that she does this).
Okay, feel free to call me a major league sap here. I just read over what I wrote and I'm sitting here with tears flowing freely. I feel so undeniably blessed to have each and every one of these people in my life. Yeah, and don't ever try to convince me that on-line friends aren't "real"!
And to those of you above, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Dewey...You know how much you belong on that list. I still miss you so much it physically hurts. I guess it will always be that way. Because I will always love you.