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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Friendships and Meet-Up with Julie Hughes & Co.

In the next couple of days, I hope to capture friendships - old and new! Our first foray into friendship is probably with our siblings, then maybe first cousins, and then the neighborhood kids. We learn so much from each other and then how to operate in the big bad world into adulthood (I am still learning, by the way).

On Friendship

As the Girl Scout camp song says,

Make new friends, but keep the old,

one is silver, and the other's gold.

A circle is round, it has no end.

That's how long, I will be your friend.

….Honest friends are doorways to our souls, and loving friends are the grasses that soften the world. It is no mistake that the German root of friendship means "place of high safety." Mark Nepo

The Stoic philosopher Aristotle's framework makes this pretty clear. A true friendship is one that is not based on utility or pleasure but rather on mutual respect, admiration, and gratitude of the other person. This type of friendship is one that must grow over time.

Mark Nepo's eloquence on friendship is spot on, but Arisototle's meaning of friendship, which is based on mutual respect, admiration, and gratitude, is exactly how I think. If we can mix in people we've never met but have come to know them intimately through their writing, aren't they also friends? I will answer this with an emphatic YES!

During the Cevennes writing retreat in France this past spring, hubby Bill and I met 16 people we've "known" only through the written word and many Zoom calls in the last three years. Once we met in person for the first time, those bonds truly deepened and blossomed. And those friendships are growing since our mutual respect and admiration continue each day - exponentially.

Over the past two days, Bill and I met IRL, Julie Hughes (WIC Alumni), and her two children, Brindsley and Delaney. They are cute as buttons, polite, and have excellent manners!

Yesterday, we played board games, enjoyed the Annapolis Harbor area - complete with a boat tour around the Naval Academy and lunch at Chick-n-Ruth's deli (an Annapolis landmark!), and dinner back at the house with Bill's identical twin, Don (who was en route to Crofton from Ohio). We had stellar weather, not too hot or chilly, with brilliant sunshine to whisk us around Annapolis on the Harbor Queen with a warm breeze and happy people on board. We basked in the friendship we've made online and brought it, finally, to real life. That is the blessing.

While Don and Bill won the kids over with their wisdom, or shall I add, antics as only these twins can do and get belly laughs out of an eight-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, they also suggested we film a Twinztalk about how we leaned on each other in Writing in Community which ultimately led to publishing six books amongst us: Julie, 3, Bill, two and me, 1. I'm inspired by Julie's tenacity and grit in running long distances and marathons, raising her young family, and writing poetry and prose daily. She is a force of nature!

It's been my most incredible honor to write beside the people I've met through the various writing platforms I've participated in over the past three years. It has all been done in a safe environment (honor code to never share without permission); many folks write personal, perhaps even disturbing, prose or information that may never see the light of day. They flesh out all kinds of stories. Generous feedback, if wanted, also plays a large part in getting better at the craft of story-telling - fiction or nonfiction. Julie and I feel the same way about how the writing community helped us immensely in getting our stories out into the world. We are thankful beyond how words can convey our feelings about how far we've come, individually and within a group.

As the Hughes family heads back home to upper-state New York today, I've been floating high on our in-person meet-up, strengthening it by putting an exclamation point on our already-established friendship for today and into the future!

Finishing the Girl Scout song:

A fire burns bright, it warms the heart.

We've been friends, from the very start.

You have one hand, I have the other.

Put them together, we have each other.

Silver is precious, gold is too.

I am precious, and so are you.

You help me and I'll help you

and together we will see it through.

The sky is blue. The Earth is green

I can help to keep it clean

Across the land, Across the sea

Friends forever we will always be

The song is attributed to a poem by Joseph Parry, born in 1841 and died in 1903.





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