Friendship and Books

Warning: This blog post might induce extreme envy.

When I arrived home yesterday, I found four bulging Express Post bags on my bed. I knew immediately: my dear, darling friend, RedBec had been at it again. Redbec is one of my oldest friends and most treasured artistic comrades. We met at four year old kindergarten, then played on the same tee-ball team and went to high school together. I do not just love Bec, I deeply admire her. Artists need GRIT to endure the highs and lows of the creative life, and Bec is one of the most tenacious people I know. She studied acting at NIDA, and she now acts, writes, produces, and teaches. She is the co-founder of Red Rabbit Theatre Company. In her rather limited spare time, she manages to read at least a couple of books per week and engage wholly in political affairs. The woman is a machine, and I am always in awe.

I’m trying to be a writer, and yet, I find it near on impossible to represent RedBec in a paragraph.  She is dynamic and assertive and engaging. Actually, if she wasn’t such a humanist, she could probably be a cult leader; she’s that charismatic. RedBec is like someone you’ve never encountered before- statuesque, almost regal in appearance, with her fine facial features and long russet hair. I can’t believe that she hasn’t been cast as a queen yet. All in good time…

But, back to the parcels on my bed…

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Go on, count them. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12…13 beautifully wrapped book-shaped presents.

Is there any better gift than a book? Is there any better way to show your understanding of a friend’s character? To honour the deep connection that you share? Each and every title shows that Redbec understands me, she knows me. She has communicated something valuable in every single choice that she has made. And this is the real gift.   I’ve wondered if the desire for this type of connection and understanding is the thing that really drives human beings.  I’m trying to remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and where ‘love and belonging’ sits in the pyramid. I think it should probably be at the top, but who am I to argue with Mr Maslow?

Bec wrote: ‘All of these made me think of you for some reason.’ I’m going to unveil the books, one by one, so that you can have some sense of my experience yesterday, as I prised off the paper. In one word: delicious. And there was a little bit of girly squealing too, particularly when I opened this one:

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Funny, I’d only been thinking about Judy Blume on Monday, when I was wondering if I’d be able to share my early love with my boys when they’re a bit older. I’m a Blume reader of old; I probably read most of her YA books at least five times.

I gasped when I opened the next one; I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time.

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Now, Bec is an atheist, and I am safely straddling the fence, agnostic through and through. But I can’t wait to read this one. Hitchens and his insane intellect should provide an entertaining and thought-provoking read.

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Bec has always encouraged me in my writing. In an earlier post, I referred to her as my ‘pushy mum on the sidelines’; indeed, Bec and my mum are the biggest champions of my writing and I’m very grateful. It’s a great feeling to have a friend cheering you on. The books I’m about to reveal are a gentle push. They say “Kristen, I know life is full with work and family, but you must not forget to write. Others have been where you are, and here is what they have to say. Keep going.”

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Bec and I are on the same page when it comes to politics. I’ve been trying to convince her to become the next great red-haired politician for years now. Australia needs her, especially at the moment.

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It’s not all over-thinking and analysis- Bec and I love ripping yarn, a page-turner. I’m so excited about this one:

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And, of course, this one is high on the agenda:

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Bec often directs me to great TV series and films. I’m looking forward to finally watching this old classic:

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I know nothing about this novel, but the first sentence is beautifully written.

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Now, I have a dilemma: which to read first?

Bec, I know you’ll read this: Thank you my dearest old friend. xoxo

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9 thoughts on “Friendship and Books

  1. Yes, loads of envy here, too. I’ve only read two of them — the Stephen King and the Kate Grenville, and loved both. I have Gone Girl in my bedside drawer. As for the rest, can I borrow after you’ve finished?

    What a wonderful friend you have but I’m sure you’re a good friend in return and deserve it …

  2. I love your posts, Kristen. ‘Negotiating with the dead’ is magic, and I found ‘Making stories’ strangely comforting.
    As for your friendship, to have such a special friend, you must be one yourself.

  3. Wow, what a brilliant friend! I love King’s ‘On Writing’ (I just love his tale of how Carrie was published!) and Grenville’s ‘Searching for the Secret River’. Gone Girl is brilliant too, and The Luminaries is high on my to-read list. What an awesome gift!

    Dawn

  4. Hi Dawn,

    I listened to to King’s ‘On Writing’ on audio-book and, I hate to say it, but I started to find his voice a bit grating! Grating, but with great content! I’ve finished Atwood’s ‘Negotiating with the Dead’, and I could hear her delightful Canadian cadence throughout. I love Atwood’s conversational style in this book- it was like she was talking to me directly.
    ‘Gone Girl’ is up next… I’ve decided to alternate between ruminations on writing and fiction to keep things interesting.
    I hope SA is treating you well. 🙂

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