My New Friend

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As I was joining the co-author team at Two Writing Teachers, Stacey said to me, “I think you and Melanie have quite a bit in common.” I was intrigued. I “knew” Melanie from her Slices and her comments on TWT posts. I’d been a fan of her blog for a long time. But it wasn’t until the phone rang one afternoon, and it was Melanie, that I thought back to Stacey’s comment and chuckled.

And it wasn’t until our second phone conversation which happened as she was making a longish drive late one evening to pick up one of her children, that I understood that I have a new friend. Lucky me.

My new friend Melanie and I have quite a bit in common.

We have daughters starting at the same university later this month.  We have mothers with the same birthday. Our mothers are gardeners. We have daughters, not sons. We have have daughters with the same name (different spelling). She was born and lives in the state that I think of as my second home. Our favorite spots to be in the summer are just a 30 minute drive apart. We both like to play tennis and do yoga. We both enjoy cooking and wandering into bookstores. Both of us have fathers who are no longer living. We both write. I could go on.

But the best part is we are also incredibly different. She’s the sort of friend from whom I will learn a lot.

A few weeks ago we took a long walk on my country road and she told me about her love of horses and riding. I’m petrified of horses, but I loved hearing the passion come through in her voice. And I loved noticing how she could look at a horse from 10 yards away and know that it needed brushing.

Yesterday, we spent time together on the beach- talking, laughing, and enjoying the warm sun and big waves. People were coming and going from the circle of chairs and towels- some of her children, a nephew, and her sister-in-law. Melanie is the kind of person who takes hustle and bustle in stride. Her summer spot is bursting with activity and family and friends. There are 13 bikes leaning against the back wall of the house, bait eels swimming in a bucket in the garage, and easily 30 pairs of shoes on the shelves just outside the door. All afternoon I was thinking about Cynthia Rylant’s The Relatives Came. I loved noticing how she embraces the living all around her. And I loved seeing how adored she is by her 12 year-old nephew.

Finding a new friend has been a happy surprise. Discovering  so many connections with her has been great fun. Knowing I have a new friend from whom I’m likely to learn a lot is exciting. Lucky me.

 

10 thoughts on “My New Friend

  1. This post simply makes me so happy for both of you. It’s so refreshing to read about building connections and relationships that are based on embracing each other’s similarities and differences. How wonderful for both of you!

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  2. When we write and talk, we learn so much and find commonalities in our lives. I love the connections we make through our writing. How awesome you are that close to each other!

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  3. I love to read stories like this. It’s pretty amazing all that you have in common but all the differences you have and can share with each other. I guess it’s fate that the two of you met!

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  4. The rich description in this slice made me feel as if I, too, had a chance to meet Melanie! In the middle grades novel, Masterpiece, Elise Broach describes friendship as, “…a happy, lucky accident, finding some kindred part of yourself in a total stranger.” Your slice reminded me of that quote!!!

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  5. This is a sort of tribute, to Melanie of course, but also to you both for making the time, taking a little extra effort to be together. You could have stayed just connecting online, but you both went further. It’s a grand connection, and fun to hear how much you really do have in common.

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  6. I have to say I’m a bit envious that you and Melanie have had walks together. I met her at NCTE 2014 and we’ve been in a writing group together ever since. But even so, I wish I knew the lover of horses and the bustling beach house. There’s only so much you can get on Google hang outs. I hope you and I can meet someday, too. I also have only daughters, but I think by this time next year I’ll have two sons-in-law.

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