“Better than any book, [ ] is the communion that happens when you meet someone and have great rapport; someone whose existence makes your life better in myriad ways.” Susie Maguire
I thought I would choose an entirely different topic until I read Susie Maguire’s excellent June 11 post on Women Writers. These last few lines of hers reinforced my desire to carry on with my thoughts.
You are so right, Susie. That is the essence of friendship.
In the past ten months I have had the pleasure of receiving e-mails from women of all ages (the youngest being 24 and the oldest 82) writing about the valued connections they share with other women. They have written me in response to reading my novel The Bridge Club, relating to the forty-year friendship shared by the eight women in the story. It has been incredibly rewarding to hear what readers have had to say about their own experiences.
The premise for my novel (my first) was indeed the wonderful friendship shared by the 10 women of my real-life bridge club for over four decades. (Ten for bridge? Don’t ask. That’s another story!)
From our days in the psychedelic 1960’s as hip, liberated twenty-somethings, or so we thought, to our present day status as “zoomers”, vibrant, active sixty-somethings, our connection has been a constant.
Although we are all the same age, give or take a year, and share the same values, that is about all we truly have in common. We have very diverse personalities, opinions,” sizes, shapes, hairstyles, careers, bank accounts, and families. Yet, at the same time, we are one.
We share a history full of memories that range from deliriously happy to devastatingly sad and encompass everything in between. It’s been quite a ride, made all the more meaningful by knowing each one of us was “there” for whatever was needed. It hasn’t been everyone responding at the same time, but rather which of us has the best to offer the situation. No matter what, we are always all in the loop and ready to bring what we can to whatever the issue.
Not only did these women give me permission to access significant bits and pieces of their lives to build the foundation of my story, they have been among my most enthusiastic supporters and promoters since publication.
There have also been a multitude of friends, old and new, who have offered support and encouragement, or information and commiseration, throughout this crazy journey of writing and publishing.
As I talk to other writers I hear the same story: friendships have played significant roles in their writing experience.
Honesty, trust and reliability define the best of friends. We know when they are real. They are the voices that unselfishly celebrate your successes; pick you up when you are down; give you honest feedback (particularly on early drafts!); and make you laugh out loud when you need it most. You do the same for them. It all goes without saying.
Like Susie, I have connected with a multitude of women in the world of writing and publishing via websites, blogs and the like over the past few years. The community of women writers is inviting with an energy you can feel. Many of them I now feel privileged to call friends.
It’s the modern version of some incredible connections that writers forged throughout history by the exchange of letters. Some things never change.
A simple lesson learned very long ago is one that deserves to be passed on: to have a good friend, you must be a good friend.
I wish that for all of you, writing or not, and let the following quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson sum it up.
“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know.”
Author’s Note: With that great Beatle’s tune as my background music, I knew this was the post I wanted to write for Women Writers, Women Books. So I worked at it on WordPress before I inadvertently clicked SOMETHING (still don’t know what!) and the entire post disappeared, not to be found anywhere. How does that happen? I’m going to ask WordPress because you would think there would be some sort of warning that you are about to delete your work! Never mind … that will be another post for another day. It’s an excellent reminder to always write posts on Word or somewhere you can save them so you never risk losing them. The most annoying part of this is that I know that and didn’t do it!
I was really happy with that completed post too and know this one will be different – better or not, who’s to say?
Thanks very much for the opportunity to guest blog. I’ve been enjoying all of the posts on the site, in particular the post, Memoirs: Agony and Relief by Dr. Lav Chintapalli. The theme on my blog is that everyone has a story. Dr. Chintapalli addresses the privilege of reading the stories of others. Fiction writers may base story lines and characters on real people and yet share the stories of others in very different ways.
The Bridge Club is a Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Reviews Book Of The Year (General Fiction) and also is Finalist for the 2011 Next Generation Book Of The Year (First Novel over 80,000 words). Here are the links: Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.