Friends...what need has a writer for friends? Don't they just try and tear you away from your work? Aren't they either too gushing or horribly silent when they read your newest work? It must be better just to crawl up to your lonely garret in the fifth arrondissement of Paris, and type away on your Underwood, dreaming of the day when you'll wear that beret with pride! Mustn't it?
Me, I couldn't do without my friends. They keep me real - they believe in me but not too much - they understand when I can't play - and play with me when I can. They forget which work I'm working on, except my writer pals, but that's ok. They shouldn't take me too seriously because that way misery lies. And they tell me the truth. When they are my first readers, and they always are, they say 'couldn't figure out what you meant on page 73' and 'the ending made me cry' and 'I hate your protagonist's name'.
And they have their own real lives with real kids or none, or real husbands/partners/pelvic affiliates or not. They have work and mortgages and aging parents and grandkids and hobbies and gardens and... They are friends here, geographically near me, or not. Ones I visit for tea or chat online with. They argue with me, cajole me when I need cajoling and provide me with lots of stories. Ah yes, they do. I do steal their stories. They know I'm a writer and that I will steal their stories (as long as they aren't writers or the stories aren't too raw and as long as I just take a seed of them, a graft, and grow my own spidery plant from them).
My friends (and I include my partner and my relatives here) are the most important things in my life. They make my life, the rich wonder it is. They're first and last in my heart, and when I write, I dedicate everything to them. All merit, all joy, all sadness- to them.