Henry has it all: he’s the jock, the genius and the brooding bad boy all in one. Which sort of explains why he’s on his sixth girlfriend in two years. What it doesn’t explain is why two of them—two of us—are dead.
As you may recall, one of my two best friends for over 20 years now, bona fide genius, and absolutely cracking human being all around, had her debut novel picked up several months ago, and it’s due to drop next year. I’ve been impatiently counting down the days until I can shamelessly plug it…and good news, that day has arrived!
As someone who had the enormous privilege of being an early reader of multiple drafts, and with whom the author has shared literal years of inside jokes about which wife of Henry VIII we would be, trust me when I say that anyone with any history is YA, history, the Tudors, kickass teen girls, murder, or mysteries is going to gulp this down with a spoon.
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” ― Charles M. Schulz
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, American kittens. This past week was amazing, my best friend X came into town with her boyfriend to celebrate Friendsgiving with us, and we had a blast! We brunched, we shopped, we stayed up late talking about life–pretty much our MO for the last twenty years. Most importantly, we watched the news together. She’s a woman in media and is one of many dealing personally with the ripple effects of the various sexual harassment revelations and exposes which kept rolling this week. I’m very glad she was here this week.
I’m also very glad it is now socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music! The holiday season is in full swing and I am ready for a bit of good tidings and joy right about now. We could use ’em. Here are your links let me know what you’re up to this weekend in the comments.
This limited series podcast about the US Civil War is interesting, but this episode on how the narrative came to be framed as a fight for states’ rights against an encroaching power hungry government (only true if you concede that the war was about the right of states to have and spread slavery) is required listening.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
Excuse me while I brag, but one of my best friends in the world has sold her novel and I’m thrilled! The Dead Queens Club is coming your way in 2019! Believe or or not the concept for this came out of one of our (many and varied) email chains, and if that is my only claim to fame ever, I can shuffle off this mortal coil with honors. I will be plugging this left and right over the next couple of years, so it’s only fair to warn you all now.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
We had next to no agenda in Paris, except to enjoy the company of Caitlin and her darling husband Jose, see one museum, and eat as much French food as possible. I’m thrilled to say that by this account, our trip was a stunning success. I gained about a million pounds (all due to cream and butter, so zero regrets there), and I was so pleased to spend time with friends who are so generous not just with invitations, but with wisdom, humor, and GREAT stories.
On our second day, while Caitlin shopped til she dropped (go check out her blog for some of her posts on Paris fashion, where to shop, and general notes from the road–she’s on a full travel campaign this summer!), Jeff and I took in the Musee D’Orsay and wandered some streets for some beauty therapy.
Apparently Hemingway loved this place, so of course we had to wander by–for Jeff’s sake.
This place was a bar, wine shop, library, book store, and “literary salon” all in one, which is about the most French thing I’ve ever seen in my life!
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
15 years ago I met a girl in an airport bathroom (a story that I wish I could say was more scandalous than this auspicious beginning implies). We were on our way to a week long political youth conference in DC and New York, along the lines of model U.N. but I maintain cooler, that turned out to be a great time and we stayed in touch afterwards. A decade and a half later, we are still in touch and make time to see each other whenever our travels take us into one another’s orbit. She’s come to London a couple of times in the last three years, including this past weekend, when she arranged a fab dinner party to introduce Jeff and I to two other couples as well as the guy she’s dating. No surprise, we loved them all.
It got me thinking about friendships, specifically friendship in adulthood.
Growing up military brat, there was always a fluid nature to many friendships. Depending on where I lived I was surrounded with and went to school with other brats and, given the nature of the work, it was likely that one of our parents would be shipped across the country or the world in less than two years from the time we met. As a result, I and many brats I know tend to be able to make friends very quickly. We are more likely and able to progress through the phases of friendship quickly–we need to! The emotional intimacy and sustaining fun of friendship is a requirement of life, but we didn’t always have time to spend years and years cultivating relationships. We tended to single out the people we would get along with quickly, join forces quickly, and stay bonded until divided by circumstance.
On the flip side, when a friendship was broken up by a government directed move, it was often the case that it simply came to a successful end and didn’t continue. There has been an uptick in thinking and writing in recent years about “friendship breakups” but I’ve not really experienced this phenomenon in a negative way. Most of the friendships I’ve had that ended came to a natural and organic close as a chapter in life (shorter than most civilians due to the nature of our parents work) ended. I grew up partially before the internet and finished university before mobile phones became the pocket sized universes of information they are now, so this undoubtedly contributed to friendships winding down too. In an age of Whatsapp I imagine things are different now; they certainly are for my siblings–my 11 years younger than me sister seems to be operating in a totally different world than I did. I dread to think of the disconnect if Jeff and I have kids!
I don’t want to suggest that I grew up with a “disposable” attitude towards people, because that’s not accurate. But I am used to the idea that not all relationships are supposed to be or need to be permanent. Sometimes you need certain people at certain times (and vice versa), the need ends, and you both move on positively.
In adulthood, however, without the crucible of adolescence, school, sports teams, or other social tools made to get people together into groups, I don’t find as many opportunities to forge new friendships. I’ve stumbled into a few incredibly rewarding ones through blogging (hi, Caitlin!), work, and travel, but it’s a rarer thing now. It takes more work and effort than it did in a Department of Defense high school scene, and of course these days I have a partner, a full time job, errands to run. So do they! Adulthood is busy, and it can be hard to find the time to grown and nurture new friendships. On the plus side there are now more tools than ever to stay in touch with the people I already have in my life–it’s a rare week that doesn’t include a transatlantic call of some type. In my childhood, that would have been an expensive and complicated thing, these days it’s the touch of a button.
Alternatively, I have a handful of friends that I made years ago that were and remain the vital relationships of my life. My two best friends I made in middle school and, scattered as we are, I plan on them being in my Girl Squad until the day I die. One has asked me to be the executor of her will, she’s also been slated as godmother to any hypothetical children since before Jeff and I got married–before you ask, he’s 100% onboard. He refers to X. as his sister-in-law because he knows she is family to me and has been since I was 12 years old. Katarina is my other squad captain. We are the guardians of one another’s secrets, mutual cheerleaders, and constructive critics. We’ve been reading each others’ writing for the better part of two decades and one of the proudest friend moments of my life was being asked to be a first reader of the manuscript that landed her an agent. I am a ridiculously fortunate woman.
But I still appreciate the opportunity to meet new people and check in with pals who may only flit in and out of my city once every few years. We may not talk every day or even every month, but we bonded for a reason and can find a lot of joy in circling back to one another.
“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.” – Aristotle
“This test is important, take it immediately.”
“Huh. George Washington, apparently. Let’s face it, could be much worse.
“Amazing and…accurate? I got JFK because I’m basic af.”
“God, we are both hilariously predictable sometimes because…yeah…totally accurate for me. I like them principled and relatively scandal free.”
“And all I want is the drama and the glamour and the tragedy and exceptional, inaccessible privilege.”
“You like the guy who dies dramatically after a couple of years in office, I like the guy who retires quietly to set a historic precedent…and then goes back to his/our ridiculous estate. Fine with this.”
“We did pick the two wealthiest presidents, so…”
“We may be predictable/basic af but we are not cheap.”
– Katarina and C.
“No, no writing accomplished last weekend, you may scold me accordingly. I came home from the march feeling like absolute crap and went to bed early and slept through the night and a chunk of Sunday as well. I’m fighting something, I think.” “The PATRIARCHY.” “Damn straight.” – C. and Katarina