Don't listen to the haters. EmacsLisp is a real Lisp. You can use it to do solve real problems. It gets better all the time as people add stuff that has worked for years to the package archives (see elsewhere in this elnode thread where someone adds a redis client).
What I would say is you need to reach out more, come to #emacs and ask lisp questions. Play with Emacs (it's SO easy) and check out all the videos that people have been doing recently (http://emacsrocks.com/ and the one from me today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR7DPvEi7Jg).
Elnode is a good way to get into Lisp because it's easy and it's in Emacs which is just a great Lisp environment.