I got the idea to write about female friendship after I saw a play at the Blyth Festival the summer of 2014. Set in 1968, Kitchen Radio is a story about Eleanor who lacks female friendship due to her husband’s latest transfer. She fills her loneliness by listening to the local country radio station. Until, that is, the ladies of the small farming community they’ve moved to, make themselves at home in her house and in her life. From there we become embroiled in a common struggle among women as they attempt to overcome their male dominated society, and find their voice. And so begins the story of Eleanor’s transformation of a lonely housewife controlled by her husband, to a strong independent woman who knows her own mind.
Sound familiar? I hope so. That means that you too, know the pleasure of having a female friend who will be there for you no matter what. So what is it that brings women together in friendship? A single word popped into my head: Solidarity.
I looked up the meaning of solidarity in the dictionary and it said: unity; or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group. And then it went on to use words like: harmony, cooperation, cohesion, followed by an example – “Our solidarity is what gives us the credibility and power to make changes.” There it is – credibility, power, and change. Perfect.
When I think of the word credibility I can’t help but think of my writing career – I say career where once upon a time I would have said life. The terminology is significant to me. It has taken me many years to feel credible as a writer. Because I write at home and don’t get paid, I haven’t felt validated as a writer. Because, let’s face it, society today tends to pay attention to people who make money. Having said this, I recognize that I have to take responsibility for my own thoughts, but it’s been hard. That’s where my female friendships come in to play. It is to my female friends that I gave the first draft of my novel to read and they each took the time to make comments for me. It is my female editor who believes in my story enough to help me to make it better. It is through the encouragement of my female friends that believe in me as a writer that I have felt that it’s possible to keep moving forward and get my book published.
Feeling like credible as a writer is powerful. Now I am ready to take things to the next level. After I shared the last chapter of my novel to my Paris (Ontario) Group of writers, I felt ready to take my book to an editor, who in turn, is going to help me get it published. This has given me such a boost of confidence. In the years that I’ve been writing, I never dreamed I’d have a book published. It was always a nebulous thing, somewhere in the future, but not now. Because of the support of my female friends, the time is now. Where I once hardly talked about my writing, I feel pride in sharing my vocation. I no longer feel apologetic because I don’t make money – yet.
From feeling credible and powerful, change naturally comes. I am in the process of editing my novel and learning about publishing options. I also feel ready to take my writing to the next level. By that I mean being open to different types of workshops, networking with other writers and attending activities that have a writing/author focus. As a woman with a hearing loss and a fear of travelling alone, this is a big deal. All of this I owe to my female friends.
This is but one example where my female friends have played an important role in my life. There are, or course, many more.
What about your female friends? Look around you. Who are the people in your life who have been there for you during a crisis? Who are the people who have had a major impact your life? I bet nine times out of ten, it was a woman.
I don’t want to suggest that it is only women who have impacted on my life. There have course, been a few men who have supported me on my journey. But it has mainly been women.