Ten years ago, I found the SouleMama blog. I was searching for a knit hat pattern, and stumbled across Amanda Soule’s website. She talked about crafting and raising three kids; something about her voice and demeanor spoke to me. I’d return frequently and watch her family and life unfold from afar. Occasionally I’d comment, and once I submit a piece to her. But mostly I’d just lurk and read and imagine how if I’d made different choices along the way – like a different husband, because my beloved guy is not a farmer – I could have lived a life like hers. My baby girl was born right before her fourth kiddo, and my bond with her grew watching our kids grow up together. Funny how that “kid the same age” bond works with virtual friends too.
Well, Amanda Soule is visiting Colorado this week! She’s got a new book out and her publisher is up in Boulder, Colorado. There are a host of events planed and I targeted the Horseshoe Market book signing and an open craft night as possibilities for me to attend. Luck would have it that Saturday between taking the kitten to the vet, a soccer tournament, and readying our yard for winter I had a sliver of time and was on the right end of town to meet this lady who had no idea who I am, but who I’d known for years. During the drive I vacillated between feeling like a weirdo for visiting this stranger and being excited about meeting the real live human being Amanda Soule.
After meandering around the market, I found Amanda’s tent and awkwardly waited while another lady chatted. When my turn came, the introduction went like this, “Hi Amanda, my name is Johanna and I’ve been following your blog for years and I totally feel like a creepy stalker but I wanted to come by and introduce myself and tell you how much I enjoy your work and watching your kids grow up, I mean Harper – isn’t it weird that I know his name – is the same age as my daughter and I’m so glad to meet you.” That was me. Spilling out every detail of my life without breathing in hopes that my oversharing would somehow made up for my creepy overly developed one sided relationship with her.
Amanda replied, “You aren’t a stalker. I put it all out there.”
True enough. The short conversation proceeded a bit more normally after that, especially as it evolved to commerce. She told me about the delicious lunch she’d had, and I renewed my Taproot subscription – Amanda is the editor – and bought a copy of her new book which wasn’t officially released until yesterday. With the magazine renewal I got a free totebag, which doubles as a cat toy. (Note below cat is not the new kitten who got an emergency visit to the vet this weekend.)
I wasn’t there for more than five minutes, but I did mention that I might bring my mama and kiddo to her last Denver event. It’s at Fancy Tiger, a nearby craft and yarn store I love. I confided in her, “Make a budget, because they have beautiful stuff and you’ll spend more money than you want if you aren’t careful.” United by the call of expensive yarns and notions she thanked me, and then moved onto her next stalker/customer. That last exchange felt completely real and friendly, and I was glad I had stopped to meet this woman whose writing I have so enjoyed the past decade. Hopefully, if I make it to the next event, my interactions will be a little more natural. After all, Amanda and I are real life acquaintances now.