Tag Archives: friendship

Stories and Stuff’s Top Posts in 2013

Three years in and this blog is still going strong! And that’s all thanks to all of you, my dear readers, who keep coming back and reading, commenting and sharing. Virtual confetti, balloons and champagne to all of you! Here’s a summary of the top five most popular posts Stories and Stuff had this year:

 1.) Creativity is the Residue of Time Wasted

Creativity – we all want it, we’d all like to know how to have more of it. This was clearly a pithy little quote that explained creativity in a way a lot of people liked.

 2.) Ranking Jane Austen – Is It Possible?

Jane Austen – an ever-fresh topic, no matter what the year. My Jane Austen vignettes were popular this year as well, even though I didn’t get around to publishing a new one in 2013.

 3.) Abusing Punctuation: The Ellipses…

I guess everyone loves rule-breakers, and here’s my post about my addiction to this piece of punctuation.

 4.) Tolkien’s “Take That!” to Shakespeare

We all remember being forced to read Shakespeare in school, and hating it. So clearly this post about one of our favourite authors, J. R. R. Tolkien, taking a stab at bettering Shakespeare struck a chord with readers.

 5.) “You Too?” What Friendship Is, and Why It’s So Hard to Find

That “moment of connection” that’s so necessary to friendship, as C. S. Lewis explains it, and my own take on how I fail sometimes when it comes to this area of friendship. And anyway, we all wish we understood this whole friendship thing better.

So this list features Jane Austen, J. R. R. Tolkien, AND C. S. Lewis… regular readers of my blog will not be surprised! (And, oh look, I abused another ellipsis in that last sentence!) The rest of the list covers aspects of good writing: how to be creative, how to write on friendship, and what a good long sentence without an ellipsis might look like.

In conclusion – thank you so much for supporting this blog in 2013 (and buying my ebooks too – I know some of you did!), and I wish you all the very best in 2014! Happy New Year!

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“You Too?” What Friendship Is, and Why It’s So Hard to Find

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’ ”

C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

 I’ve always found friendship a tricky thing – I’ve watched other people quickly and easily slide into friendship in a matter of days, and wondered why


“Friends,” by Jerry Weiss (CC BY-SA 3.0)

the process of ‘becoming friends’ always appears so daunting to me. It’d be simplistic and easy to blame it all on ‘extroversion’ and ‘introversion’ (me being the introvert, of course), but it’s more than that. I simply place too much emphasis on that magical moment of ‘connection.’

 Look above at that quote. When I read that I realized C. S. Lewis had put into words what this ‘connection’ feels like in a way I’d never managed to myself. You know what it feels like when you’ve been acquainted with someone for years, and done all sorts of activities with them, but still don’t feel like you really know them? And then there are others you feel connected to right away? Because with some people you reach that ‘you too?’ moment right away, and some people you never do.

 And that’s why some books feel like friends! We all want some evidence that our experience is not completely abnormal, and when an author can reach out and connect to us through the printed page, we might decide the book is a masterpiece. This, incidentally, might also explain why some of us absolutely love some books, while others cannot see what’s so great about them. All our lives are different.

 I realized I found this ‘you too?’ moment so important in friendship because I was writing it all the time – when I wanted two of my characters to like each other, they had to find a moment of connection at some point during the plot. (They say introverts value this type of connection in relationships, and I guess I’m just more evidence of that!) And it irritated me in other books where characters were ‘such good friends’ or ‘so in love,’ when nowhere in the book did the two of them ever really talk.

 Now, why did I say ‘too much emphasis’ on this connection up there at the beginning of this post? Because it’s easy to think I don’t have anything in common with someone, before I reach this ‘you too’ moment. When I’m staring at a stranger, I can’t imagine I’ll ever find anything in common with them. It’s too easy to give up on ever reaching the stage of a relationship known as ‘friendship.’ But most people are worth the effort – and the human experience is meant to be shared with others. I’ll end off with another C. S. Lewis quote:

 “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”


So there you have it – what do you think of this definition of friendship, and do you think it rings true? Do you find it easy to make friends, or difficult?


Filed under Quotables

Love In Friendship*

Good Friends, by Hermann Kern. Public Domain

Today is Monday, so it should be Quotables Day, but I am writing a longer post because I’ve been MIA for about three weeks now. Nice to be back, by the way!

While I was travelling, I came to the realization that friendship love doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Sure, people go on and on about ‘the power of friendship,’ or insist they love their friends, but when push comes to shove, it is romantic love that is clearly talked about more, written about more, and sung about more. Name one song about friendship (“Thank You For Being A Friend,” maybe), and you can probably come up with five hundred more gushing about how great romantic love is. Romance novels are a complete genre of their own. Friendship novels–sure, many novels are about friendship, but they don’t have a whole genre all by themselves!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. During this last trip I took, that worked both ways. I realized how much I value the friends I have in Canada, who support and encourage me, and I discovered how much I’d missed my friends in Brazil (and how much I will miss them again, until I see them again someday!) It felt weird to say that I loved any of them, conditioned as I am to think of love as referring to romance, but maybe love is the right word. Somehow the word friendship is not quite strong enough to cover this feeling by itself.  There are many people I like, and enjoy being with. But there has to be something more, something that describes this strong feeling of connection between people, and desire for the other person’s happiness. I can’t really put this into words, and I’ve always been bad at talking about emotions or letting others know when I care about them. But I know what the pull in my heart feels like.

Love is such a strong word, and almost everyone immediately jumps to the conclusion that it is romantic love you mean when they hear it. Sure, everyone will admit more than one type of love exists–love in families, love in friendship–but the focus is all on the romantic. To the point that every time a novel presents two friends of the opposite gender as friends, readers insist they HAVE to be in love. (Okay, okay, whether guys and girls truly can be just friends or not is a whole other topic, and I’m just going to say here that I think it’s possible but different than same gender friendships). Remember the outrage over the fact that Harry Potter did not fall in love with his friend Hermione by the end of the series? The possibility of romantic love overshadowed the real, genuine love of friendship they had for each other. I think sometimes when we insist on searching for the thrill of romance in everything around us, we miss out on what’s actually there (and yes, I’m guilty of this at times too).

Because friendship love is the kind of love that spills over to many people, can be shared between many people, can be enjoyed by many people. It can grow as the years go by. You can always find room in your heart for more of it. I’d never say romantic love isn’t important, or that we should ignore it completely. In fact, romantic love is probably better if the two of you share friendship love too. I just mean it wouldn’t be a bad thing if we had more books, songs, films and honest conversations about how joyful it is to have friends you love.

*Not to be confused with Jane Austen’s delightful work, Love and Freindship (intentionally misspelled)

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