Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Writing Buddy

I have a funny habit. I sometimes become better friends with people right after I have moved far, far away from them.

The first time this happened was with my dear friend Q. In our senior year of college, we got along famously as roommates. But we hadn't been especially close in college (more like friendly acquaintances) and the fact of our cohabitation was by fluke (both of us returning from abroad) rather than by design.

Still, there was no one I missed more after graduation. Thanks to a then brand-new thing called "e-mail," and our eventual proximity in the midwest, our friendship grew. Now Q is my dearest friend. I know we will be old ladies together.

I mention all this because, ten years on, a similar phenomenon of distance-equals-new-closeness is emerging. This time, I find myself sorely missing my neighbor, J., with whom I now communicate more regularly via email than I did when she lived two doors up the street. (Although we did have a few quality in-person visits just before the move.)

And I have been surprised that E., a woman who once intimidated the hell out of me, has faithfully kept her promise to stay in touch. I long ago realized what a dear and funny person she is. And yet I never would have foreseen what a pleasure it is to talk with her on the phone. (Normally, I hate phone calls with people I don't know well.)

I surely didn't expect that I would confess to E. my recent writing blocks. Or that she would, kindly and non-judgmentally, offer a solution.

We've become writing buddies. She phones in the morning and we each state a writing goal and one unnecessary activity (e.g., midweek laundry, errand that can be put off) that we will avoid. I phone in the evening and we each report on how we did. Such a simple concept, but one that has helped me enormously so far.

So tonight I raise a bloggy glass (blog goblet?) to surprise friends. And to friendly surprises.


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Benedict said...

I feel more confident in text than in person, so this makes perfect sense to me.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger academic coach said...

This is wonderful.

I too have just made a new friend (who has just moved away) who I feel hopeful I will stay close to as I grow old.

Writing buddies are what I recommend to every academic I coach:
"tenure buddies"

At 11:03 PM, Blogger Camicao said...

A few weeks ago (2?) ABD MOM wrote about her fears about forging friendships when she knows she will be moving on after graduate school god knows where. But I agree with what you write... I haven't lived anywhere for more than 5 years since I was 9 years old and the friends I've made through the years, the good ones, stick close, regardless of the f2f distance. And technology does facilitate the contact.


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