September 3, 2008

Getting Coaxed Out of Blog Sabbatical

Well, folks, I still don't feel like addressing the most immediate issues in my life, and I still don't feel comfortable blithely talking about other things either.

But there's a voice out there in Blogdom that won't let me sink into complete silence. Bless her.

In a recent posting, Hellibrarian placed me among the ranks of people she wished to thank for various things, referring to me as her "blogger conscience." I decided to talk a little about the history of our writing relationship, but when I sat down to the computer, I quickly checked my feed reader and discovered that she'd (quite synchronistically) already alluded to our early "writing buddy" days in her posting today. And she claims to not believe in "psychic dialoging."

Hell and I met back in the autumn of 1992, when Budapest was still "The Wild East". We were both on the founding staff of The Budapest Sun, and shared one of the most amazing experiences a beginning writer could ever have. We got paid peanuts, and had more fun than most people can possibly even imagine. There was something about the times and about the mix of characters who worked at that paper that made the experience nothing less than magical: every day we wondered what would happen next.

We both moved onto other jobs (her with Where Magazine, me with The Hungarian Press Agency) but we continued to support each others' creative endeavors, which can quickly get buried in the day-to-day spade work that makes up ninety-nine-percent of all journalism work.

Hell and I would meet at the Astoria Hotel (pictured on her blog), which has a cafe with the most amazing Art Nouveau interior, and for the longest time had very affordable coffee and pastries. And it was the kind of place where they didn't mind if you hung around for hours. We would get comfortable, order coffee and pastries, shoot the breeze for a while, and then get out the notebooks. We'd choose a topic and (Natalie Goldberg style) decide how long we'd write (anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour). And then we'd just let our pens race across the pages with no inhibitions. No talking. No pausing. Just writing. After the session was over, we'd read our essays to one another.

Ah! Fond memories.

In that spirit, when Hell has lagged in the maintenance of her blog, I've prodded her some, and reminded her that people with the writing bug just can't be happy unless they're doing a certain amount of writing. And now, when I'm lapsing into silence, Helen is there to remind me of the same.

Bless you.