From the words of C.S.Lewis
‘Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”‘
This afternoon I had a visit I had been both looking forward to – and dreading. For some while I knew a fellow writer was going to call. Someone who set out about the same time as I did, who is talented and committed, and who wanted to talk about writing.
The gap of time allowed my maungy, sad little twin demons of envy and fear to whisper at me. They blew sleet-cold worries down my neck.
I bet he’ll have been published already.
You’ll have to admit you’ve got nowhere yet.
How will you feel when he gets out a book with his name on?
What exactly have you got to show for over four years’ effort?
It didn’t help that it’s close to my least favourite time of year – Mothering Sunday – when I always feel insecure and vulnerable. Nor that I am waiting to hear if any agents are interested in my Selkie novel. It took some arm twisting from my Chi-SCBWI friends to put it out there again.
My unarmoured head feels so exposed above the ramparts.
He came. And over time and coffee, his honesty dissolved my mask, just as surely as his daughter’s marshmallows disappeared from her little cup in the cafe. I could see the same kind-ness of hard-won understanding in his face. The empathy of time served and mutual frustration.
No need for me to hide. We’re more siblings than rivals.
That broke me open, let the old warmth out and sent the two stony nasties back into their cave. And what rolled the boulder across their threshold was his absolute need to write. The imperative, regardless of sense and logic and all the will-it-make-a-living questions to get the stories down. How the breath of his ideas filled his canvas, blew him onwards.
I hope my friend reads this.
It’s not ‘you will get there‘ I want to engrave on maps of the future, surrounded by mermen and whales. There is no need when you have already left land and certainty.
But we already have successes to share – and there will be more.
We are both writers.