It's a tricky thing, navigating the treacherous waters of high school social life. As I sent my eldest off to another day of grade nine today, knowing that she's in the midst of a tough patch with her best friend, I was thankful not to be doing that anymore. I was even more thankful for my own best friend, whom I met in French class on the first day of grade nine, almost (gasp!) 29 years ago.
Susan and I have talked in some way -- by e-mail, telephone, Facebook or notes passed foot-to-foot in History class -- most days since. (My kids refer to her as my 'phone friend'.) In this season of my life, when I have lots of 'proximity friends' from the school or neighbourhood or dance studio, Susan is one of the few people who knows me deeply and well.
Susan is a writer. Writing isn't just her job -- it's her vocation and to some extent her identity. She can't not do it -- that's how I know. And she's really good at it. Sue writes all kinds of things, from newsletters to press releases to articles, but her first love is to write fiction. She's had one of her novels published, called Seeker of Stars, and it was a treat for me to have her as the first author to visit our Book Club in person a few years back. Several of the metaphors so beautifully described in that book still come back to me each Christmas. More recently, Sue has written a gorgeous trilogy, set in Metis, Quebec. She has been diligently looking and patiently waiting for a publisher to pick up these books, and has received some very encouraging rejection letters!
Recently, a new opportunity presented itself to have one of those books reviewed by a skilled team of editors and exposed to some new agents and promising publishers. There is a cost involved in this refining process, and Sue invited me to consider being a "patroness of the arts."
Although that piece of work is quite exciting, other pieces of Sue's life have been really difficult over the last couple of months. Calamities have ranged from the serious to the ridiculous: a sick child, job disappointments, a newborn nephew with daunting special needs, an injured Granny, saying farewell to a cat of 17 years and being bitten by a neighbour's dog -- all within a very short period of time. It feels rather Job-esque, and I'm conscious of not wanting to be as unhelpful and misguided as Job's friends were at times. But, like them, I'd like to be present with Sue through this challenging season and to encourage her in the midst of it -- literally, to impart courage.
This week is for honouring an inspiring individual, and I'm inspired by Sue. By her gift as a writer, as a fellow traveller on this journey with me, and as someone graciously figuring out how to walk with God through whatever life brings. I'm thankful for her influence in my life and on many others', and I'm hopeful that this money will help to get more of her books published. She'd write them anyway...but it's even better if we get to read them too.