Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pajamas in Washington DC

I've been in DC since yesterday and busy, busy, busy, although one of the things I've not been busy with is writing and blogging. I should be returning to my regularly scheduled program of blogging shortly, but for now I'll just briefly describe the events.

One never knows how these things will turn out, but this one has been wonderful, although a bit of a whirlwind. So many bloggers and/or journalists in one room makes for a heady experience. The official panel discussion is the centerpiece, and last night's distinguished itself by being fascinating, substantive, and entertaining. But the panel was only part of what people come here for (they really come for the appetizers, of course--and these were not too shabby--and the bar).

No, the main deal is talking to other bloggers, and to the other assembled luminaries. Among the bloggers I got to meet for the first time were the mysterious Baron Boddissey, as well as Fausta, and the globe-hopping Michael Totten. Then there are literary and journalistic luminaries such as the petite and charmingly French Nidra Pollner, the petite and charmingly American Claudia Rosett, both of whose work I admire greatly; it was good to be able to tell them so in person. Likewise Michael Barone (looking exactly as he does on television--although that's what one expects, it's always a little bit unexpected, as well), the pajamas-clad (well, for part of the evening, anyway) and entertaining Richard Miniter, and the witty Cliff May.

There were so many wonderful bloggers there that it would become a tedious laundry list to mention even half of them. But there was nothing tedious about the experience of meeting them--or, in many cases, renewing what's now becoming an old acquaintance and even a friendship. As I've said before, blggers in person are a highly energized and intense bunch, and we sure can talk. And talk and talk and talk, into the wee hours of the morning.

I'm about to do some more talking--and a bit of sightseeing and eating as well. So I'll cut this short by simply recycling a piece I wrote from the last Pajamas meetup back in November of 2005.

The cast of characters is a bit different in its details--and another change is that Roger Simon no longer wears a fedora (the shaved head is the current look). But it's still true that:

I find it an extraordinary experience to meet people backwards: that is, to meet their minds first and their bodies second. You get to know people in a totally different way as, day after day, you read what they are thinking without ever having met them in the flesh.

You don't even realize how many preconceptions (and perhaps misconceptions) you are building up until you meet the person him/herself. Sometimes the meeting shatters those preconceptions utterly. Far more often, however, the person you meet is both similar and somewhat different from the one you had expected: younger, older; livelier, shyer; more fidgety, calmer; funnier, more solemn. Then you superimpose the new template on the old and merge the two, and now you know the person in a fuller, rounder sense.

And so it is that I am very happy to have met these and so many other old friends (and new), and to have made the pictures of them in my mind's eye more complete.

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