It can be hard to read a friend’s work.
It’s hard enough to try and read like a reader while simultaneously reading like a writer. Whenever I give feedback – whether it’s for my students or for a friend – I try to bob in that place on the surface: letting myself sink a bit into the story while also looking at it from above and outside.
When you love a friend and are almost as wrapped up their success as they are, it’s an even weightier, tougher place to be. Sometimes I simply can’t. I can not separate the story from the heart enough to read objectively.
But then, sometimes, I get the most amazing gift. I read my friend’s words and get lost. I fall in, head over heels, head down, bottom up, sinking sinking sinking. And then there’s a whisper, somewhere behind a familiar phrase or view and I think Oh, there you are. I know you.
And then I go back to reading. My friend is there beside me, but I am somewhere else at the same time.
Her and not her.
Reading my friends’ work can be hard. But it can also be an exhilarating inspiring gift.
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK