|Photo by Kara Sherwood of her cats, Midnight Jane and Albus|
Names of these duos roll off your tongue in clichés like salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. Popcorn and M&M’s. (Okay, maybe the last one’s just a pair in the Sherwood-Gray home. But you should try it!)
Jonathan and David. Thelma and Louise. Laverne and Shirley. Lucy and Ethel. Harry and Sally. Kirk and Spock. The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. Turner and Hooch. (Come on. Hooch, really? Well, some say dogs are a man’s best friend.)
The list of best friends in movies, books, history, and your life could go on and on. We need people. Even castaway Chuck Nolan needed Wilson.
My first best friends.
I started school in a magical place called Camp Lejeune, N.C. in the late 1960’s. I don’t think our cul-de-sac of eight houses on the Marine Corps Base was special to anyone but my friends and me. In fact, I think our parents hated the neighborhood parking lot far from our individual houses, but it gave us a safe field in the center to play baseball, "Red Rover," "Mother, May I?," and any other game of our imagination. Back then bigger families meant more children were your age in the neighborhood. So, out of those eight houses, four little girls started first grade with me. My first four best friends. After three years, we moved to Florida, where I made a new best friend. As my sister grew older, she became a best friend too.
Even when I married Jack, I still had girl friends in my life, who showed me how to become a better wife, a better mother, who laughed with me or cried with me, whichever I needed at the moment. I've had friends celebrate victories. And I’ve had friends talk me down from the ledge. I’ve had precious friends who’ve prayed for me and with me when I lost my husband and felt so alone. I’ve had writer friends who embraced me and helped keep my dream alive when I couldn’t on my own.
Face it. We all need friends. I am so thankful for mine. (You know who you are!)
Our heroes and heroines need friends too.
A book without characters just isn’t much of a story. Beyond being a side kick or providing comic relief, secondary characters can play important roles as the voice of truth or the voice of passion. They can be mentors. They can be a sounding board. Their journeys can mirror the hero’s journey in some way. Don’t waste your secondary characters. Make them as rich, as well-developed, as possible.
If you’re a writer, are you making full use of the secondary characters in your story?
If you’re a reader, who's your best friend? How does that person enrich your life?
|Roxanne and Steve Gray|
Today, I want to wish a happy anniversary to my best friend and husband, Steve. I love you and appreciate you more than I can say. You still make me laugh every day. You give the best hugs and kisses on the planet. And no matter what jam I’m in, you’ve always got my back. I savor the romantic words you whisper, yet want to give them to my heroes. Thank you for a wonderful year. I’m counting on many, many more to come.