Nerves plummeted in her stomach as the glass elevator rose upwards, lifting them closer to stores in the Myer Centre sky as other Earthern stalls sunk beneath them. Outside, sunlight seeped through the centre’s transparent ceiling of arcs, lunes and deltoid curves and invisible children sung of Good King Wenceslas and deep, crisp snow…
The pealing of church bells snaps me away from my storybook world and I glare at my impertinent iPhone: Di Wills, a friend I’m not going to ignore even when Shahkara’s about to face a gang of leather-clad Taloners while her conscience grapples with heart-lust and all sorts of non-human desires…
“Hi, Di.” I try to squeeze enthusiasm into my voice as I search my thesaurus for that impossible word that’s been plaguing me with hide’n’seek for a full three minutes. Superfluous adjectives? Why not?
“Hi, Stranger. Are you coming to the arts dinner tomorrow night?”
Arts dinner? Epic hang out with epic people? Yes, I’d love to – if I wasn’t grappling with publishing deadlines… “Sorry, hon, I’m only halfway through my books edits.” It’s not a big deal, just the tweaking of 90,000 words… I should be finished by midday – 2014! Can someone please nudge my Muse? Or drown him! “It’s been crazy between the floods and non-fiction deadlines. I haven’t even blogged for 2013!”
“That’s terrible.” Di sounds as if I’ve failed to wear underpants in public and she’s about to drag me all the way to Target to buy some. “What are you going to do?’
“Just keep working on my book.” Because that is the dream and it’s being published this year. And after spending so much love and time on it, I’m allowed to be nit-picky.
“How about I blog for you, explain what it’s like being a writer’s friend?”
“That would be fabulous!”
Today is Di Will’s birthday and instead of downing margaritas with me, she’s blogged about the tapestry of living in a writer’s world: Being a writer and being friends with a writer. Because even though we’re always there for our friends, sometimes our story worlds interrupt our social lives, and I have no qualms admitting that. Every dream comes at a price and I’m lucky enough to have friends who bolster me up when that sacrifice gets tough, not whinge about the Invisible Girl. Happy Birthday, my Beautiful Di, and thanks for sharing your love with my friends and fans…
Di’s Guest Blog Begins…
“There are easier things than being friends with a writer, although I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Worse though if they are signed with a publisher.
“Before, you saw them at odd times, and always involving coffee or wine, offering Tim Tams and gorgeously presentable. If they were willing to discuss their work, they would talk of their characters like their own children, although, not in a normal way a proud parent would. Gone is the gushing of the child’s achievements. With a writer its more like: ‘She’s in a bind really. The chopper is her only exit strategy but there is a ticking bomb on it that she can’t disable. It’s either take the chopper and get out and jump at a safe distance with a damaged parachute, or get taken by the Natives and hope they aren’t cannibals… and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m leaning towards the cannibalism’.
“Don’t be confused though, the writer doesn’t want your opinion on this. They are merely talking out loud to see if the plot presents itself. Should you offer your opinion, an amateur folly a lot of ‘friends-of-writers’ succumb to, you will find after publication the writer went in the opposite direction and named the slutty-maid-who-gets-her-comeuppance surprisingly similar to your own name.
“Now with a contract – that piece of paper most aspiring writers only dream of – the previously sane writer friend becomes another creature* altogether.
“It’s best again to remain quiet until the signed copy is paid for**. Please understand, I only say this to protect you. Deadlines are imminent, editors are shortsighted and illustrators developing the cover of the book hold omnipotent power to make or break their publishing empire. You will know this if the writer tears their eyes away from the computer screen and craves human companionship to tell you. Hopefully, they’ve showered, brushed hair and teeth and are wearing sunglasses.
“Even though you might be happy to see them and are busy updating them on your life, the writer is actually listening to the arguing characters in their head and wondering if it’s too late to kill someone off, and how to do it. Your life, your feelings and achievements are important to your writing friends. Not only is it potential fodder for the next novel, you are a real and tangible connection to life that they genuinely treasure. I’m just saying, wait until the final manuscript is handed over to share any of it.
“I state a lot of the above with tongue-in-cheek and a broad-sweeping smile of personal experience both as the writer and as the friend. I am lucky to have writer friends in my life including all genres and even peppered with poets and playwrights equally. It is a wondrous experience to start a story and finish it, then in an amazing feat, finding someone willing to pay you for it. To my friends, whether they be published or almost-there, I get it.
“I’m just saying, call me when you’re done because its been a crazy few months and I have amazing new material for you.Di xxx”
* When I said creature, I wasn’t referring to something natural. It’s hard when your success relies not only on your writing but a lot of very busy people to do their job and be as passionate about your work as you are. For the less experienced, this is an anxious time. It turns you into something like a vegan vampire who walks into a blood bank by accident. Nobody make any sudden moves, that kind of thing.
** Yes, I said paid for. Do not expect nor ask for a free copy, even if you are acknowledged in the front cover It is your job as the friend to see this adventure through, so buy a damn copy. Ask your friend to sign it and tell them how proud of them you are. Writing is exposing a large piece of your conscience, psyche, heart and soul to the world to be judged, and at the end of the day, your support matters the most. Plus your writer friend might become a millionaire. Think about it.
(End of Di’s Guest Blog)
Cheryse Postscript: I love you, Di. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day. HUGS, Cher xoxo
8 thoughts on “If I haven’t dropped by lately…”
You’re a brilliant lady, Di, and a fabulous friend. All writers should have friends like you.
We’re very lucky to have Di in Bundaberg, Mrs Curtis, and we’re very lucky to have you, too! I love that photo of the three of us, even if I look like I’m gritting my teeth ‘cos a hippo’s squashing my toes. I’m looking forward to hearing you talk in Brisbane this week, Sandy… http://www.rowena-cory-daniells.com/2013/02/12/sisters-in-crime-event-killers-crims-cops/ You, Rowena and Lindy always make for killer entertainment 🙂
Te he he… I know the writer/artist with deadline/friend feelings well. Hmmm better get out of my PJs and brush my teeth now that you have so ever politely reminded me.
Well, the fruits of your labours are always worth it! Here’s to more unbrushed teeth, J. HUGS xoxo
Ha Ha Ha. This is hilarious! If you think being a friend to a writer is hard, try being her sister – especially when I only pick up a book once a year (Don’t get excited: I’m meaning a textbook to check on a patient diagnosis or treatment option, LOL).
Boy, I relate to Di’s Guest Blog and it actually helps me understand writers a little more… “Even though you might be happy to see them and are busy updating them on your life, the writer is actually listening to the arguing characters in their head and wondering if it’s too late to kill someone off, and how to do it”
So that’s the reason she only ever half listens to me LOL. I thought it was just that I was boring – ha ha!
Okay, so today’s blog forced me to read the first chapter of “The Blood She Betrayed”, my big sister’s book (she’s been sending me back-ups of this thing for, like, forever). It had never crossed my mind to read it as, like I said, I don’t read books (and I’ve been joking to her that I’m waiting for the film), but my dear Cheryse, I have to say, it got the better of me and I read the first chapter and it left me hanging for more. I love it!!!
Would it surprise you to know that I may even be tempted to read the whole thing? 😉
Congratulations and keep doing a great job as it’s going to be a fantastic story xoxoxo
Oh, *HUGS* Sweetheart! I’m rapt that you loved the first chapter – it might even entice you to read A FULL BOOK (fiction, even)! You have so often been the inspiration behind my smart, courageous heroines, and I love you heaps. PS: I’m always at least half-listening! PPS: The film’s always different to the book so you need to devour both! Love you! Cher xoxo
Add to that marrying a writer and the hilarity is extrapolated no end. There are good and er, interesting sides to that arrangement. Compound with many writer/singer/art friends and is a full on ride. Wonderful post Di & Cherie, hope the wrangling is going well.
I think being married to a writer would be awesome, even if you’re never quite sure if you’re Alice or the Mad Hatter. At least you always have Whedon/Whoism debates for kicks 🙂 The wranglings are going great, thanks, Nicky! xx