For the last three weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of writing columns for DearReader.com while Suzanne Beecher recuperated from surgery. I’ve enjoyed the writing just for itself, but the most rewarding thing has been the outpouring of mails from Suzanne’s readers. As my own readers do, Suzanne’s readers told me personal stories about their lives and families, shared memories that were both hilarious and sad, drew me into their circle of friends.
Every time I get a letter from someone who wants to thank me for something they got from reading an essay or one of the Dixie Hemingway books, I realize how truly revolutionary the internet is. Because of it, I now have a personal relationship with people all over the world, people who have shared a bit of themselves with me. And when I respond to their letters, I cement that personal relationship. It’s awesome that I know the names of a family’s cats in Berlin, that I’m on a first-name basis with people in South Africa, Canada, Scotland, and New Zealand. My photo album is crammed with so many cute readers’ pets that I could publish a book of them.
Even with all the horrors happening all over the world, I truly cannot think of a time in history that I’d rather be living in than this one. As human beings, we have a long way to go before we stop killing one another and attain the wisdom of elephants or dolphins, but we are doing one thing right: we’re communicating. Lines of email communication are crisscrossing all over the planet, linking people and ideas that have never been linked before in the history of mankind. And every time I join that massive network, I’m awed and humbled.