My agent is about to go out with my latest WIP, FIERCE.
It’s about 2 punk rock girls in 1983 Northern California. And it’s about art and music and stage-diving and dumpster-diving and skinny-dipping and punk boy guitar players but mostly it’s about friendship.
The kind of friendship where you feel like you’ve known each other in a previous life, or that you’re twin sisters separated at birth.
It was important to me to write about since I feel female friendships are sometimes devalued in YA. (See my previous post Hos before Bros).
I’ve had a few of these special relationships at different stages in my life.
The first I remember was around age 10. Her name was Miriam and she loved animals as much as I did. We made up a secret language which only the two of us could understand. I wrote it all down in a turquoise fake leather phone book which has since been lost.
Then I went to school in England for a year and when I came back she had gone to another school.

There was always (and always will be) my sister. She’s younger with older kids, and far away but we can still finish each others sentences sometimes.

In my late teens there was HER.
We were determined to hate each other because too many people had told each of us that we would love each other. She could put on the mean face as well as I could. Our first meeting would have ended up in a fight but instead we stayed up all night talking.
Afterwards our boyfriends nursed seething jealousy but they were the ones who pushed us together.
For ten years we fought for each other and sometimes with each other. We also shared a stubborn streak, and a certain aptitude for wildly crazy dangerous escapades. We were fearless and we needed no one else.
She died.
But I don’t want to talk about that.
I had other friends too but I wouldn’t let them close for 3 or 4 years afterwards.
They are still my good friends but I moved to the other side of the country, and one of them went to China to teach.
So we are heart friends but I don’t see them these days.
It seems that the older I get, the harder it is to make connections. Everyone is settled in their own hives. Everyone has a wife/husband or boyfriend or girlfriend, children, absorbing job.
It might just be that it’s hard to sustain a friendship. It takes work, I guess.
I like people a good deal more than I used to. I meet lots of people and enjoy them. Every once in a while I’ll really feel a connection to someone. I like them, they like me, we share some of the same interests. A friendship just happens…it’s nice.
I’m worried that I expect more from a friend than most people are prepared to give these days. Some of their time.
Not in a needy or clingy way. But just in a ‘hey we both have fun talking about books and taking walks by the sea’ sort of a way.’ No big deal. Fun, mellow, relaxed.
It seems harder and harder to find compatible friends or people I can count on in the most basic ways.
Maybe it’s more important to me, since I lost my very best friend all those years ago.
My husband and I are close but I need female companionship as well because women talk about things.
My dog takes walks with me but she’s more interested in sniffing than discussing the new Philip Pullman book.
I adore my kids but basically kids are ego-centric. They like to do all the talking.
I spend so much of my time alone, hunched over the computer, talking to myself, arguing, cursing words, yanking on my hair, wrapped up tight in my own head. I get tired of listening to myself. I want to know about someone else. It keeps me balanced. It gives me perspective.


10 thoughts on “Friends

  1. A moving post, Jo. There are a few great friends in everyone's life, it seems to me, who are as important as partners and family. I have two – and made a few almost as good in the course of moving around the world. One is still in the States and we haven't met since 2002 – still miss her!

  2. Not too mushy then, Kath?
    I think it stems from leaving a few very good friends in NY and moving to a town where we know no one…
    My husband doesn't seem to ind or is happy with making acquaintances. He says men don't really discuss much of importance between themselves. Maybe it's because he's american?
    But I definitely need female companionship with someone who gets me.

  3. Man, oh man, could I have written this post! I get this totally. I’ve got a friend that we meet a couple times a month, and it’s great. But, writing stuff…I’m on my own a lot with that. I would love to have peeps to bounce plot ideas with. I do have a great online critique group and we do that sometimes, but real brainstorming and chatting about books is so hard to do online!

  4. It’s so lonely, Elaine (sob) and no one but another writer could possibly understand…
    Thanks for commenting.

  5. Well ditto, Elaine. I’m about to delve into the new WIP so I’ll definitely need bolstering. We are comrades in arms, after all.

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