Friendship….Plain and Simple.

I have a friend, Nick Nicholson in Canberra, Australia, whose birthday it is today.  I can call him friend because he has shown me over three years, what it means and what it entails.

We met on a writer’s website that long ago, and started exchanging our works.  He is a fierce and fine writer and someone I deeply admire.  He is also very modest and would blush at what I say here about him.  However, he is all this and more.

We grew as writers together on that site, and then went off that site and grew some more.  I’ve grown through this blog and with the help of another dear friend, Bill Penrose…..publishing now two books within a year.  They wouldn’t have existed, these books…without the loving attention that both of these fine men and writers gave to me.  They believed in me as a writer.

That is not common.  There is some fierce competition amongst writers, but sometimes there is incredible support, too.

But I wanted to write something about friendship….and the particular efforts of writers to keep the creative fires stoked and warming.

Nick has seen me at many different levels and stages.  I have been very depressed and lost emotionally, and he took me to task, asking in one instance if I would be able to afford the therapy to get through the dangerous nonsense I was involved in.  He didn’t parse words, but made me think.  Not that I listened, I had to fall to great lengths before I learned…but Nick was always there.  That is friendship.  He never grew tired of my complaints, ramblings, tears.  For some reason, he knew that I would come through.  I didn’t know at the time, but he did.  That  HE knew helped in some tangible way.

Every birthday, Nick sends a present…and ON TIME!  He calls on the important days….like when I published  “A Seasoning of Lust”, my first book, and bought it and read it.  He called on my birthday and that had to cost him mightily.  He didn’t care, he wanted to express his love and friendship.

Nick composed and produced an incredible cd about 10 years ago:  “Angel Factory”.  These tracks are all played by him and they are marvelous!! Nick is not only an incredible writer, he’s a painter and a very learned musician…conservatory trained in Melbourne.  It shows in this cd.

He sent it to me about two years ago for Xmas.  I love it because it is so good musically, but more….he gave of himself.  It’s not easy for someone to send a cd of your work, because musical tastes differ.  There is always the issue of ….”nice work”.  But his work is way beyond nice.

Bill Penrose is another dear and treasured friend, and not because of his wonderful production of my books.  He has shown a rollicking wit and a sharp intelligence and is there with love.  Abounding love.  True friendship which really is hard to define after all.

Perhaps friendship is the gathering in of a person regardless the idiosyncrasies, the peccadilloes,  the petty temper tantrums, the ‘weirdness’.  It’s an overall acceptance of all of that and a denial that these things mean anything in the long run.  It’s a sniffing of butts and acknowledging the particular tribe.  This weird tribe of wordsmiths.  LOL!

I am learning that true friendship isn’t cheap or easy.  It must be attended to like some rotten tomato plants.  Or they grow crooked and croak before the fruit develops.

Funny, but almost all my dearest friends are writers:  Bill, Nick, Margie (who is almost a relative by injection) shia, Steve Isaaks, Berowne  Malcolm and Katie.  A few  I have never seen or heard their voices, but they are there….in the real ways. They’ve shown up on this blog, and they have shown up in real time.

A few write everyday and I really benefit from their words.  I think they are afraid that I won’t ‘grow right’ if they don’t.  And they probably don’t know how much their words….in warning, concern and support….means to that growth.

These ‘guys’ encourage, cajole and support.  I’ve learned from them these issues and how important they are to friendship.  Friendship has to be a two way street.  Genuine interest in the other and the others interests make the foundations of friendship.  Without this, without the enthusiasm for what the other is doing in their lives…even if you don’t share that particular  interest…well, that’s the root of it all.  Without that two way street…it’s faking it.

There is a constancy in all of these people and it goes beyond the fact that they are writers:  they are solid and sane individuals with huge hearts.  I couldn’t have a better environment to learn the real issues of importance in life.  Of course, outside these folk there are others and they come forth with support and encouragement.  But these guys I write about are special.  They gather me in and make me fuller.  They make me understand what friendship really is, through their example.

Naturally.   Happy Birthday, Nick!!! With love.

Lady Nyo

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6 Responses to “Friendship….Plain and Simple.”

  1. Margie Says:

    Happy Birthday, Nick, indeed!

    Jane, your words re: friendship are really on the money. I think it takes some effort to maintain a friendship, but the paradox is – when it’s a true, good friend – it seems effortless. Give and take, good times and bad, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying – all a part of it!

    It’s a beautiful day here in North Carolina, and I’m in a wonderful mood! Hope you are as well!


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Ahhhhh…thanks, Margie!

    A few days ago this issue of friendship came home to me hard. Sometimes you pour a lot of energy into a friendship that is thwarted. Perhaps the person on the other end has too many issues….perhaps he/she doesn’t know how to be a friend and your constantly attending to ‘their’ issues becomes a question of diminishing returns. You don’t look for evenness, a 50/50…..but some people are so thwarted by nature and life that they become takers….and give nothing…or are very niggardly in the friendship. You can pour just so much into a ‘friendship’ before you see that ….it’s pointless.

    Sometimes you can feel pressured by others; family members of the ‘friend’ ….to continue to expend energy here…(so they feel better knowing that someone ‘cares’….sort of a long distance caretaker relationship for them…) and you finally realize it’s not friendship this person needs….it’s serious therapy! And you ain’t the therapist.

    Well, life is very short, really, and learning that not everyone deserves your friendship is something important. Also, when a person does NOT reciprocate in the enthusiasm that you find in doing something of importance to you…when they are mum, or snarly…not supportive at least to the extent of being ‘happy’ for you…then you have to look at what the character of the friendship really is. Sometimes we just put ourselves on automatic…and when you realize that you are uncomfortable with this person….that’s when you have to re-evaluate whether it’s worth the energy.

    Though this ‘friendship’ is passing out of existence….another one of a greater emotional bond is resuming. L. who just lost her husband, and I had grown distant. Actually, I take the blame here: becoming a writer made it hard for a couple of friends because I wasn’t attending to the friendship. She threw at me that I only wanted a friendship on My terms: And dammit! She was exactly right! I tried to make excuses for my own behavior, but her words rang true. I didn’t have many days before the death of her husband, and that probably as much as anything started me to think of how I had acted over the past three years.

    I am so glad that we have been able to resume our friendship, and I can’t talk to her without tears right now….for both it’s way too close. She has been an incredibly strong woman in the ten years I have known her, but more so….she has given of herself in huge doses. I am so grateful for her wisdom and for the chance to continue a very important friendship. Makes a huge difference in my life. I hope I can do the same for her. I think that part of the good role that women hold is our ability to comfort and succor.

    And the same from you, dear coz.

    Love and Hugs,


  3. Malcolm Says:

    The community of writers that you speak of is wonderfully supportive, and you are one of its foundation pillars. Acceptance, unconditional love, and non-judgemental scrutiny are fundamental to this group. For me, it is a very important part of my life in my ninth decade. It assures me that a number of us can meet in an atmosphere of creativity and affection. What could be better as a confirmation of our shared humanity?


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Malcolm!

    “Foundation Pillar”…..ROTF!! Well, some days I LOOK like a stout pillar! LOL!

    Well, that’s high praise, my dear friend, but I think I don’t really deserve it. I haven’t been that constant in my own behavior and we both know of what I am talking about.

    Malcolm…perhaps I had to be shocked into some form of acknowledgment. L.’s situation really threw me for a loop, but you know, it shouldn’t take a death to make me sit up and attend to these things. I think it did, though.

    So…we go on, and I am so grateful for those here ….and out there….who have not shuttered their hearts towards my own follies and misbehavior. You, especially.

    You are very right, Malcolm. Amongst the writers here….there is a wonderful steadiness and acceptance. And isn’t that what we crave in life? And it helps that we are of the same tribe/scribe.


    I think I really picked up some very bad and distorting influences over the past few years….these things harden the heart..and you know who I am talking about. The stink lingers….

    Life is endlessly teaching, right? And it slips by so fast….well, thank you, Malcolm, for that very affirmative crit on ERWA the other day. It really made a huge difference in my day. I left storytime because I just was thrown about this issue of ‘deadpan and dead babies’….You know what I am talking about.

    May you continue to live a longggg time, my dear friend.

    Love and Hugs!


  5. Nick Says:

    Thank you for the birthday wishes, Jane, and the very kind words, it means a lot to me 🙂


  6. ladynyo Says:

    You mean a lot to people here, Nick. And to me.

    Birthday Hugs!



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