When I finally set out to write a book I, like many others, decided that I would ‘write what I know’. For most authors, myself included, this meant that my story would involve elements of my family, friends and the experiences I had undertaken in my life up to that moment. I’ve had the amazing and extraordinary experience of making and keeping a friend since before I had the ability to recall cognitive thought, which is a fancy way of saying that I have been lucky enough to maintain a friendship with my oldest buddy for one hell of a long time. In fact, our friendship grew to include one another’s families so that now, 25 or so years later, we act more like a family than friends with one another; this is something beyond special.
The book I originally set out to write was meant to be a twisted version of the friendship that my buddy and I now share. I wanted to write a present day scenario in which we, the two friends, had lost touch with one another, but our families maintained the same friend/family contact we had grown up with. The raw emotional tension and literary possibilities were endless, but I struggled enormously when trying to devise ways in which we, the”characters” would have failed one another so enormously that we wouldn’t speak to one another for over a decade.
Luckily, when writing my morning pages, another, albeit a vastly different, idea for a novel to write appeared organically on the page in front of me and I decided to move forward with it. I felt odd leaving the fictional versions of myself and my friend behind, but I knew I had to follow my creative mojo and scrap my original story.
Fast forward to me being three months into writing the first draft and my wife and I are visiting my buddy and his wife in their home. As we amble about the city streets having one hell of a time, I finally tell my buddy about my original idea for my book, how I abandoned it and why I abandoned it. He, like me, found it difficult to imagine a way to create an antagonist/protagonist relationship between us, even though the characters would have been fictional versions of us. However, that night my buddy offered to edit the book for me when I had completed my draft. The moment he offered, I realized I could’t think of anyone else I would rather have edit the book for me.
The first printed version of the book was sent directly to him, and as I placed the pages in the package I realized that neither he or I could have written a more fitting story about how I came to write my fist book, and he came to edit his first book. His name is Andy Bird, and he and I have been friends for one hell of a long time.