Monday, November 14, 2016

The Value of Girlfriends

by Jo McNally

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold. Joseph Parry

In my debut novel, She’s Far From Hollywood (February ‘17), my Hollywood diva heroine discovers the difference between true friends and “people we happen to know.”
Friendship is a recurring theme throughout the book, and that’s not a coincidence. I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a huge number of close friends (it’s a Capricorn thing), but the ones I have are absolute treasures in my life. Yes, of course, my husband, Himself (it’s an Irish thing), is my best friend. But more about him some other time. I’m talking about girlfriends today!
When I moved South from upstate NY to North Carolina four years ago, I left some much-loved friends behind. But thanks to the wonders of Facebook, email, texting and telephones, our friendships are as strong as ever. One of us can send a text saying “I really need to talk,” and within minutes that phone call is happening, and it’s as if we’re sitting in the same room again, laughing and listening and caring. When I’m visiting up North, we always make time to get together. These gals knew me when I made the surprise announcement that I was writing a romance novel. Each one of them reacted in the same way--not with worry and warnings and practicality, but with “Oh, wow! That’s amazing! You’ll do great!” Some have even been beta-readers as I figured out what I was doing, and their cheerleading and advice has been invaluable. Long distance friends rock!
Moving to a new state was really scary for me. I’d lived within a few miles of where I grew up for...well...let’s just say it was long time, okay? But Himself and I were so fortunate to end up living in an amazing new town, and most importantly, an amazing little dead-end street. I have dear friends here who don’t happen to be my neighbors (including a special gal who actually flew as Mary Poppins this month in our local theater!), but my neighbors are incredible women.
And did I mention they were crazy?
We have different backgrounds, we all moved here from different places, and yet we were instant friends when we met. The type of friends who can send a group text saying “wine night tonight, my porch, 7PM” and we’re there. The type of friends where we can sit and talk about anything without fear. Jobs. Family. Husbands. Health. Whatever. And speaking of husbands, our husbands are such good friends they go out for “guys wing night” every week--talk about lucky!
We’re the type of friends who can call and say “Hey, wanna help me plan a….” and the answer is “yes” before we finish the sentence. Golf tournament? Check. Valentine’s Party? Check. Wine tasting? Check. Murder mystery Halloween party? Check. St. Patrick’s Party? Check. Surprise birthday party with half a ton of confetti? Check. And my favorite party of all? The dinner party (we have a lot of those) that ended up being my surprise book contract party.

There were stacks of books everywhere as decorations. We
played “Guess the Author” as an icebreaker. And the cake? Well, the cake was awesome, even if the advance amount was slightly exaggerated (and the book title changed before publication!). They have been with me on this writing journey every step of the way. They understand when I have to decline invitations to meet a deadline, and they understand when I need a break for a drink and some laughs before getting back to my computer.
I’m not sure about that silver and gold quote - how can anyone really determine which friends are most valuable in our lives? Perhaps the point is that they’re each precious, just in different ways. What do you think? How important are girlfriends to your life?


Tammy Y said...

Jo - Congrats on your book. Cannot wait to read it. I am in Charlotte, NC originally from Southern California. So, NC was a big change for me too. I still have friends from High School. I keep telling my daughter who is high school now, to treasure her female friends. Luckily, she has some great ones.

Colleen C. said...

Congrats... what a lovely cake! :) I truly appreciate friends that stay by one's side... someone to vent with, to talk with or just have a relaxing laugh filled day with.

Unknown said...

Tammy - I was really nervous about making this move, but instead of shrinking my circle of friends, it expanded it. Just this morning a dear friend from up north sent a text and we had a quick chat. Thanks for the congrats, too. :-) I hope you enjoy the book.

Unknown said...

Colleen - It's true that reliable friends who "stick" are so important in our lives. And wasn't that cake great? That party was so much fun!

dstoutholcomb said...

Girlfriends are there for us when family isn't! They're everything.

(talking friendship, not religion y'all)


Laurie I said...

Hey, I moved from NY (NYC) to NC too!! But I moved in 2003. It's a beautiful state and I love living here. I am so grateful for the technology that allows me to stay in touch with dear friends too. Girlfriends have encouraged me, advised me, uplifted me, guided me. So valuable and cherished. Congratulations on writing a novel and having it published!! I hope someday I'll get around to writing one too. ( :

Jo McNally said...

Denise - What's the saying? Friends are the family we choose for ourselves (or something like that...). :-)

Jo McNally said...

Laurie - I was up in Central NY (Syracuse area), and as much as I loved it there, I also love NC and have no regrets. We're near the coast, and it's great being so close to the beaches. I think it was the uncertainty of the move originally that pushed me to start writing, as it gave me something to focus on when my living situation, career and everything else was in such upheaval. No regrets on that, either!

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