As Julie Andrews sings in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”
I’m tickled to be writing this column alongside my friend Tina. The story of our friendship started about ten years ago, when we both had writing blogs, which I know she mentioned. This was a time when reading individual blogs was as popular as popping onto Facebook is now. Protocol dictated that you comment on blogs, and also that you visit other blogs if you wanted people to visit yours. The lexicon included words like blogroll (no relation to sushi roll) and blogosphere (sort of a relation to atmosphere).
When it came to the blogosphere, Tina and I were in the same orbit, except one thing was different. She was a published author and I was not. But that didn’t stop her from jumping in and being my friend. There was no line between us, as a matter of fact, we found along the way that we were more similar than different even though I was writing women’s fiction with Jewish characters and Tina, at the time, had a novel published with a Christian publisher.
So, what does a Jewish author do when her friend publishes a novel with a Christian worldview? She reads that novel. And then she writes about reading it. You can read that essay here, but here’s the gist of what I thought.
“In Rose House, the sisters, Lillian and Geena, remember growing up as pastor’s kids and have fond memories of church services of their youth. I have fond memories of synagogue services of my youth. I related to Lillian and Geena’s memories. The similarities outweighed the differences.”
That was a real revelation for me.
I likely only read Ruby Among Us and Rose House because Tina wrote them, but this decision and its subsequent results, seeped into other areas of my life. Isn’t that always the way? Stories send us messages whether overtly or not. Whether it’s part of the subtext or something we sense on our own. It’s our job as writers, listeners, readers, consumers of stories, to be open to these messages and to make them relevant to our lives.
This is how Tina’s novel became part of the story of our friendship.
I love it when stories overlap and run together. When an author can do this in a story, it makes for a rich and rewarding read.
And when it happens off the page—when you make that happen–it makes for a rich and rewarding life.
Where do the stories in your life intersect and overlap?
Amy Sue Nathan is the author of Left to Chance, The Good Neighbor, and The Glass Wives. She is also the founder of The Women’s Fiction Writers blog, named a Best Website for Writers three years in a row by Writer’s Digest. Amy is the proud mom of two grown children (her favorite oxymoron) the willing servant to one thirteen-year-old dog.
There are always threads of my life woven into my stories, but I’m careful to not identify those items in an obvious way to maintain privacy as much as possible.