Monday, November 26, 2007

TO WRITE: An Old Friend. . .
During a Thanksgiving trip to my state of origin, Wisconsin, last week, my husband and I had lunch with one of my dearest old friends. Julie and I have known each other since we were in the sixth grade. We walked to school together, since we lived only a block apart, played in the high school band and orchestra together, roomed together for a year in college, and traveled together to Europe. Although we're half a continent away from each other now, we still manage to keep in touch with email, birthday cards, and a visit every now and then.

The three of us talked incessantly and laughed loudly during our entire couple of hours together, as though we'd been apart a few days, rather than a year and a half. And it occurred to me that perhaps the reason this relationship has stood the test of time is not so much the history we have in common, but the way we interact. Each of us questions the other intensely, and we are all good listeners. We genuinely care what goes on in the life and the mind of each other. We spent time brainstorming ways for Julie's new business idea to get off the ground, but my husband got to tell of his latest work adventures too; I got to discuss my writing and we all lamented the slowness of our pending adoption.

While some old friendships have, of course, faded over the years, I feel blessed to have several of these rewarding relationships that have matured over time. They bring joy and a sense of solidity to my life -- these friends are people I have chosen to have relationships with, and our shared history provides comfort and a sense of place.

Play with this. . .
Write continuously for 20 minutes about an old friend -- whether or not you are still in contact. Was it your first-grade jump-roping partner? Your high school best buddy or prom date?

Describe your relationship as it was then, and what you gained from it. If you still know the person, how has the relationship changed and how has it remained the same? If you no longer have contact, consider whether he or she is someone you'd like to look up and talk with.

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