Kathie, Wolfgang, Becca.

I used to think - pre-marriage and kids- I could be happy living in an Alaskan cabin 300 miles from civilization filled with books and music and a good typewriter, but I realized at a certain point how much I actually enjoy people and would miss human interaction. Then my buddy Mark invented Facebook (I take slight credit, but very little, it was mostly him), and began reconnecting with old friendships and making new ones, and I know this holiday season there will be a lot of posts urging people to forgo electronic friendships in lieu of in real life #IRL ones, and...

…I think there is a healthy place for both. I have some friendships existing almost entirely online that I am so appreciate of - looking at you, Wolfgang Rickwalt (not pictured) and others that largely exist on these shared media spaces, with occasional sightings in real life.

Kathie Huffman is one of those. My piano teacher from far back and organist extraordinaire, hers is a friendship that has come to mean a great deal, and the many kind words she has had to say about my writing and photography have meant a great deal. My face still shines red when she throws me into the same sentence as Mark Twain, but I am not so-secretly honored. I’d like to think I’m immune to needing approval or feedback or nice words for what I make and write, but I’m also human.

It feels good to have someone appreciate, over time, what you create. Most, if not all artists and those in the creative industries - probably every industry, actually - can relate. It feels good to have work acknowledged and can sometimes be an impetus to keep going, to keep creating. Kathie has been an enthusiastic fan, proponent, supporter, and friend for a number of years now, and I would like to say thank you.

And be glad for those occasional times when our paths converge and I can introduce my children to a wonderful person in real life.

So now that we’re at that time of year where people are getting reflective of their relationship with technology and social media and its impact on real-life relationships - worth thinking deeply above year-round - I would like to put in my small gratefulness anecdote for why I value and appreciate the role Facebook can have, in the best of circumstances, to connect people and build friendships.

Thank you Wolfgang, for our almost-entirely virtual friendship.

Thank you Kathie, for our mostly-virtual friendship that supplements the occasional times we meet. It was great to see you this weekend.

Thank you, Countess Becca, for our almost entirely physical friendship. Does that sound weird? Oh well.

And thank you, all of my people with whom I share all different varieties of relationships, for the diverse array of friendships possible. I am grateful for you all. And I would still like an Alaskan cabin, if any of you have one to part with.