I stood at the top of the steep staircase that led to the second-floor banquet room of The Galley in my hometown of Marietta, Ohio. It was only just dawning on me how strange my mission seemed. Several men and women milled around me, dressed in in jeans and vests and sparkly scarves, some carrying instruments, some sipping water from plastic bottles. I was waiting for Sasha, their bandmate in Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, to emerge from the men’s room. He stepped out and someone said something in a hushed tone to him, probably, “I think some deranged fan tracked you down,” and he walked toward me and introduced himself.
“I have a gift for you from…” it was at that moment that I had no idea what this twenty-something musician called my “Twitter-friend,” Delia. In her posts she always referred to him as “Rob’s son,” but perhaps she didn’t like the term stepson. Perhaps she did that out of deference to his mother. Perhaps they were on a first name basis – how long had she and Rob been married again? I know they celebrated their anniversary recently, but what number was it? So, I went with “…stepmom,” and handed him the wrapped package that had arrived at my house a week earlier.
The look of confusion that crossed his face was one that actors would kill to nail.
“Delia?” he asked, tentatively looking at the thick envelope and squeezing it slightly, probably feeling for powder or wires.
“Yes!” I said too loudly. “She’s my Twitter-friend.”
I could tell by the nervous way he looked towards his bandmates standing behind me that my revelation didn’t settle his mind one bit. But then, he tore into the package to reveal a matted photo of himself at a much younger age holding a guitar. His demeanor completely changed – the tension eased from his shoulders, he smiled broadly and then held it up to show his bandmates. “How did you get this?” he asked.
I can’t remember when Delia Cabe and I became friends on Twitter – or “Twitter-friends,” as I like to say – but it’s been long enough that she’s moved houses once and I, twice. We’ve explored new career paths, we’ve lost loved ones, we’ve commiserated over sick cats, losing (and winning) baseball teams and our mutual fears about the future of the country.
What I love about following Delia, on Twitter especially, is that she regularly shares quirky and interesting newspaper and magazine articles, often digesting the meat of the piece down to a quick phrase that tells me way better than the headline ever could whether or not I want to read it. Most often I do. If I read nothing but the articles she retweeted, I’d be more well-rounded and better-informed than most people.
As a writer, Delia is a wealth of knowledge. From sharing things others have written about writing; updates on the publishing industry; insights into what she’s learned upon publication of her book, Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink to just empathizing with those of us banging away at the keyboard (and occasionally our heads against the wall), she’s a light in an often dark night. She’s also a reader – as all writers should be – and we share a love of gripping suspense novels. We’ve shared many a tweet convos about Tana French novels and are eagerly awaiting the release of The Witch Elm this October.
When we talked for the Light and Love profile (read it in Harness Magazine HERE), I was surprised by two things: her positivity and her voice.
It’s pretty obvious from her Twitter feed that Delia is worried about things. It’s pretty obvious that the political turmoil in our country makes her angry. But it’s also pretty obvious that she’s a genuinely happy person and she works to stay upbeat. She told me that she isn’t interested in bitterness and negativity. Sure, she’s snarky – but that’s part of what makes her fun. But there’s a vast difference between the occasional snarkfest and the vitriol that’s invaded the internet. She’s aware that what she’s saying on Twitter is going out into the world, and she’s doing her part to use the tool to educate and build people up, not the opposite.
As for her voice…it has an eternally youthful element to it that inspires enthusiasm. I’m not sure what I expected her to sound like, but I was surprised. Her voice exudes radiance and hope and happiness. It’s invigorating. She’s probably not going to be recruited to read any of Calm’s Sleep Stories anytime soon – but she could definitely have a side career narrating motivational books for audible. I’m not a musician, so the concepts escape me, but there’s something about the tone or pitch or tenor or some musical term I don’t know, that cues the happy centers of my brain just to hear her talk. Now, every time I see one of her Tweets, I read it with her voice in my head and IT’S EVEN BETTER!
I meet a lot of people via social media and interact with some of them regularly. That we connect “virtually” and never actually sit across a table from each other sipping cocktails make the friendships that form a true representation of how much technology is part of our lives. But the impact that those “Twitter-friends” can have is no less important than that of the group of friends you see for post-school drop-off coffees every morning. They can keep you sane and keep you laughing.
In a world that for all of its “connectedness” feels more isolating every day, its nice to have a “tribe” that strives to elevate the conversation, has a similar moral compass, loves the same things, can motivate you to be better at your craft and who brings light and love in every post. Delia Cabe is one of those people for me. That made her the perfect choice to profile for the Light and Love Project, but even a better choice to follow yourself – @DeliaCabe on Twitter.