Thursday, June 13, 2013

Friends vs. Acquaintances

What is a friend?  How do you define one?  How many true ones do you have?  Are you a true friend to someone else?  What does this have to do with writing?  Bear with me and find out.

I was born the oldest of three into the family of an Air Force pilot.  My dad would retire a Colonel, and I would end up moving 14 times before college.  When you grow up that way, you are either an introvert or an extrovert.  I was an extrovert and made friends fast because I didn’t know how long I would have them.  Because of my upbringing, I cherish friends to this day. 

In my opinion, there is a difference between friends and acquaintances.  In my mind, the definition is simple.  When there are bad going on in my life, a friend is the person coming IN my door when everyone else is going OUT, including my acquaintances.

Beginning in 1987, I suffered from a form of 24/7 migraines, ending in January of this year.  I wasn’t a big fan of Doctors, until this year.  Science was not on my side back then. Tylenol would work to some extent, so I took a lot, around 14-16 a day for years.  In case you’re wondering, not good for you.  I have a very high tolerance for pain, so I sucked it up and kept going.  The illness changed my personality.  It made me very angry and depressed.  I chased away virtually every friend and acquaintance I had, except for the most important and best friend I ever had, my wife Lana.  I don’t know how she endured those 25 years of my pain, what it caused for her and my family.  I love her more than words could ever express.

In 2004, I began my dream of writing a novel.  I wanted to write a murder mystery.  I knew nothing about it.  I just started.  After the first draft was done, I discovered The Indiana Writer’s Center and joined it and found the writers group I belong to today.

Starting with my next post, I plan to take you on a journey, if you want to join me.  Personally I think it’s an amazing story, about this group of friends and acquaintances that surround me in the writer’s group.  

I joined this writer’s group with a manuscript of 205,000 words (yes, that’s right).  I would pop three Tylenol and walk into the meeting, hoping to hold my tongue for three hours.  The bottom line is that I quit the group three times, once for over a year because of the anger I had and the frustration of how to deal with what they were trying to teach me.  I kept coming back for two reasons.  The first was to finish the dream, to finish the novel.  The second had to do with the people who were investing themselves into me.  I couldn’t let them down.  They saw a great story and great characters, with everything else being crap.  They had to teach me about POV.  They had to teach me about passive voice.  They damn near had to teach me where to put the commas.  At this point, you may think I’m a lousy writer.  I used to be.  No doubt about it.  That can’t be said any longer, because of the education I have received at the Writer’s Center and with this group of people. The 15 people in the main group, some who have been there for years, are great close friends with others being relative newcomers.  All are dedicated to helping each other be better writers.

 The four dear friends on this blog, whom I love, have demonstrated they would walk IN the door for me and because of my love for them, they shouldn’t doubt I will walk through that door for them.   I sit next to a former English teacher in the workshop group.  The other night she dropped a dangling participle on me.  Well, pardon me, but I’m over 50, and at this point everything on me is dangling and I have no clue what the hell  a participle even is.  The last time I heard that grammatical term, I had hair on my head and it was not growing as of yet in other places.  She’s torturing me.  I may have to Google it.

Follow me and let me show you all the screw-ups I made along the way and continue to make.  It’ll be fun. Please send in your comments as we go through this journey from the idea of the of the story itself and the setting, right up to where we are now with me getting the characters wrong on a weekly basis, especially the lead female.


  1. Reading your blog post, the coffee spewed from my mouth.

    Er, wait, how about . . .

    Laughing out loud, the oatmeal snorted out my nose!

    No no no, let's try . . .

    Falling down the stairs, the iPad flew from my hands as I read your blog post!

    Lets hope dangling P's soon become something neither the writer nor the critiquer have to consider!

  2. Love your distinction between friends and acquaintances, I might have to steal that some day, but I'll give you all the credit! And I too hate it when she drops an annoying grammatical term so nonchalantly!

  3. Thanks for the comments to all. Thanks Meg for yours too, and yes, it is annoying about the grammatical terms, but I give it back to her as much as she gives it to me. That is one of the fruits of friendship. Keep reading and writing Meg.