i've met a lot of people since i've been on the net. of course, i also was very active, particularly with my involvement in the site fights and net sisters early in my net addiction, and managed to make staff positions in both - which tends to put you in contact with a lot more people than you can ever remember meeting. i've also been involved in a number of other groups, but none so extensively as those two and my own dreaming in ink writers group. some of these people came and went so quickly i barely had an opportunity to get to know them. others became very dear friends, but we eventually went our separate ways, and many of them i miss more than they will know. some have stayed around, but our relationships have changed drastically and we rarely talk any more.
but a few have hung around. we've had our moments, of course, but somehow we weather the storms and remain friends. while i enjoy the friendship of many, and appreciate the richness each and every person i've met has added to my life, there are a few of these friends whom i would call my "best online buddies."
i've known kel, aka quietsong, since my tsf days, making her one of my longest standing online friends. i wrote her a letter here once before, and everything i wrote then still holds now, and then some. she is the first one to slap me when i get down on my writing, the first one to give me a virtual hug when life seems to be falling apart. she has grown in so many ways, and i feel so privileged to have been one of those people to watch her do so. she is probably one of the most balanced, even tempered, healthy people i know. she accepts people as they are, makes no demands other than what a person is willing to give, and gives of herself with few, if any, reservations. perhaps my only complaint is that she's not around as much these days. ;)
eveninghawk is one of my newest friends. i met her at dii about a little less than a year ago, but it feels like we've known each other next to forever. she's one of the most straightforward, honest people i know. there's still a lot of discovery going on between us - she probably knows more about me than i do her, but it doesn't seem to be a barrier for us. she's my "night owl friend." few of my friends are online late at night. being the social creature i am, it's a situation that can have me going crazy, especially when i'm trying to work on something and have the distraction of no distractions (it's an adhd thing). alana is also one of the critters of my writing that i value the most. she's honest without being harsh, let's me know the good and the bad, and is always encouraging. her own writing is very different than mine, which would generally indicate that fantasy isn't a big genre for her, but she always seems to "get it" anyway. there is probably only one person whose input i trust more, and that has more to do with the length of time we've known each other than either of them being better or worse than the other.
my next two buddies i met about the same time as a part of the del rey sff online writing workshop (now known as the online writing workshop for sffh). elandryn and i have been through a lot since our first meeting a little over 3 years ago, and, for awhile, our friendship suffered for it. i missed her incredibly during our months apart, and was very surprised when she contacted me again. since then we've been healing. am i still a little cautious about some things? yes. but that's changing, and i like the fact that it's changing. and even with the healing still in process, there are so many things we understand with each other. we've been in the same place as mothers, as writers, and as people trying to make it on a budget that would make most people cringe (heck, it makes us cringe too, but we both just buck up and deal with it - what else can you do?). i miss her when she's offline. and even if we're not talking, it's like being in a room with a friend, working side by side on different things, and being comfortable with that. sharon is probably the one person i most want to meet and have coffee with one day. *g*
then there's saronai, who is much more than just an online buddy to me. she is . . . a friend, a confidant, my biggest fan (well, next to the hubby, of course), and, probably most of all, a sister. kel may be the first to thwap me when i talk bad about my writing, but saronai is a quick second. i don't think anyone has ever made me feel so unconditionally accepted, so loved, so appreciated just for being who i am. she's a gift. i miss her being online on a regular basis, and hope she gets a connection at home soon. (hear that, woman! get a connection, ANY connection!) she's got a wonderful sense of humor, always has an encouraging word to say. words truly cannot express how deeply i feel for her, her support, and her friendship over the years.
so, there are my buddies. these aren't, of course, my only online buddies. there are still some i hold near and dear to my heart even if we don't talk much any more, and those i miss who i don't see at all. but these four are the biggest part of me. i hope you'll stop by and visit these wonderful, strong, and talented women. they are all women who are not afraid to be who they are, and to share themselves with others. they'll tell you like it is, but always find a way to soften the blow. they are women worth knowing.