My friend John has a blog I enjoy and to which I wish he would post more often. This might get in the way of him having a job and a family, but really, shouldn't he be thinking of what I want? His entry from last Friday is a good one about the look, feel, and influence of mass-market paperbacks on who he has become as a writer. I stole the picture above from that post.
John often says nice things about me in emails and sometimes on his blog. I'm glad because I'm vain (he likes me, he really likes me!) but also because he's a guy who churns out whole novels and has agents. This sort of thing floors me. I've been writing forever and have hardly even sent anything out to be considered for publication, let alone worked with an agent. And John writes books. Not just essays, short stories, or poetry, but big freaking books. In other words, he has taken this writing thing to the next level. A level I imagine but have not done enough to achieve.
He's also an English teacher. We met at a summer institute for teachers years ago. I remember thinking then that he couldn't stand me, that my writing was absolute drivel to him. It surprised me when he said otherwise. We don't see each other much in person, but he sees my kids in the halls of that school, we follow each other's blogs, and we have kept a steady trickle of correspondence going.
Knowing John helps me feel like a writer by association. Maybe it works that way for him too,though I can't imagine he needs the reassurance.
Sometimes the power of association is what I need in a friendship. Sometimes that's what I can give in return. Though we hardly ever see one another, the friendship works and reminds me of times long ago when distance was so much more difficult to bridge and letters took weeks to go between.
We used to connect some on Facebook and Twitter, but I quit social media this summer. That may mean less contact with him and I'd be bummed about that but instead I'm encouraged to get together in person and buy him a beer. I've got a lot to learn and I want to know what he's working on now. We could talk a while maybe, to get things going, but pretty soon I imagine we would both be itching to get to our laptops and get back to writing. Writers have that effect on each other.
Go read John's blog. Follow him on Twitter too. Just because I'm off social media is no reason to miss out on his stuff. You can thank me later.