Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Tale of Two Friends

Do you remember the old Bette Midler song? I think it was called "Friends" and the first lines went like this:

Oh, you got to have friends,
the feeling's oh so strong.
You got to have friends
to make that day last long.

Yeah, I know. Nothing earth-shaking and even kind of hokey but what can I say? The words have been stuck in my head for days now.

Do you have close friends? I hope you're nodding, thinking, "Uh huh. I've got 'em." Do you have one really close friend? You know, the one you call for--well, everything? Again, I hope you're smiling, nodding and thinking, "Oh yeah. I've got a friend like that."

Why do I ask? Recently I got a wonderful email from a reader who wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed Vineyard Mambo. Of course any nice reader mail is always appreciated but this one really made me think. One of the comments was about the strong female relationships in my stories. This reader liked the fact that most of my heroines have a tight connection with another woman. It made everything more realistic, she said.

I smiled. What a great observation! I thought about what she'd said. I realized she's got a point. I do generally have a strong friendship in almost everything I write. Why? Because friendships are important to me, plain and simple.

I believe in women supporting each other, through good days and not-so-good ones. I believe in female friendships that, hopefully, last a lifetime. Similar to a marriage, having a close friend is something that makes the ups and downs of this crazy ride we call "life" much more interesting. In some spots it can turn the unbearable into something tolerable, a grin into side-splitting laughter and even the most mundane into something extraordinary. A best friend can bring laughter from tears, and that's a gift not everyone in your life can give.

Me? I could tell a tale of two friends, talk about a bond that's lasted nearly--eek!--three decades. I could share moments of joy and heartache, go on about shouldering burdens and celebrating success. There are stories of motherhood, godmotherhood, gardening, Christmases and countless every days, but I'll save those for another time.

I certainly won't give away any long-held secrets. Talk about drinking green beer and losing a car? Nope, won't let that one out of the bag. Giggle over midnight runs from fraternity houses? Ha! You won't get that info from me! Not today, at least...

There's an immeasurable comfort that comes from sharing a close relationship with a dear friend. It's a good feeling to know, deep down inside where it really, really counts, that you're not alone. Not now. Not ever. No matter what life flings at you, there'll be someone to share it with. What more can anyone ask?

So this reader was very much on-target with her observation about friendships in my stories. I know there has to be a hero and a heroine in each. Sometimes a murder victim, and a killer--or two!--as well. But I also believe there has to be a friend. A real, thick-and-thin, lifetime friend.

I'm lucky, because I know someone who fits that bill in my life. It's said it's easiest to write what you know and the experience of having a dear friend is one I understand. It's an experience I try and gift to each of my heroines because I know it matters. A lot.

This morning, with that ridiculous song bringing a grin to my face, I am thankful for someone special. Someone who runs when she needs to, brings depth to the funny times and helps find clarity in the scary ones and just really, truly makes my life richer with her existence.

So, even though I know she knows who I'm talking about, I have to credit my friend Annie for being part of every "friend" in my stories.

Thanks for yesterday, Annie. And all the yesterdays before yesterday. And thanks for today. And for tomorrow, and all the tomorrows after tomorrow. You're the best.

Which brings me back to my original you all have an Annie in your life? I sincerely hope you do. One other thought...when was the last time you let your friend know how much she means to you? I ask because I think that sometimes we get so busy we forget the importance of actually telling people they are special, that they have an impact on our lives. I know I do but hey, that's a topic for another day.

Sort of like the green beer story. Now that's something to write about!


Marianne Arkins said...

What a lovely post...

I, too, am blessed with a friend I've known since junior high (!!) -- 28 years. wow. I wouldn't trade her friendship for anything, because that kind of friend is a rare thing.

I'm glad you have Annie.

Dru said...

oh man, this was a beautiful post. It's amazing how strong the friendship bond can be.

I don't have too many friends, but the few that mean a lot to me, I know will be there for me as I will be there for them.

Have a good Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. It really got me thinking. I have close friends, but none as long as Marianne! (though my best friend from high school, when we get together every few years, it's like we'd seen each other five minutes ago), but in my day to day life, my friends are spread by distance and time zones, so most of our communication is done via phone and i-net.

The Divine Miss M and I are going on 9 years as friends, ever since our kids wandered onto the same soccer field all those years ago. We've kept strong through a LOT of changes in our lives...I know who's on my To Call list today ;)

Melissa McClone said...

Great post!

I do have a couple friends that have been around for a long time. They live in other states though so we hardly see each other though when we do it's as if no time has ever passed.

I also have a couple local friends. One who is my closest friend right now who is moving to London next month (boo-hoo) and another who is one of my daughters godmothers. We're having breakfast together tomorrow. I haven't seen her in a couple of months and can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Wow...what an amazing post. I'm writing with tears in my eyes.

I do have a good friend, Jenny, who I've known since we were in grade school. It has been way too long since I spoke to her.

Alright, I'm going to call Jenny tonight. Thanks so much for reminding me I should be connecting with her more.

Really wonderful post.


Unknown said...

Fabulous post! Really makes me think!

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant post. I have a handful of girlfriends but probably only two that are REAL friends. Someone I can spill my heart out to, someone who sticks by me thru thick and thin. In one of my rare stories I wrote that friends are like precious stones, something to be treasured forever. So there you have it!

Aussie Jude (in a nostalgic mood)