Thursday, May 11, 2006

Beacon from the Past

Fun fact: long before the advent of blogs, I was keeping old-fashioned paper journals. I have diaries dating back to seventh grade, when each entry was basically an excuse to use purple ink and dot my i's with hearts.

In a fit of trying-to-avoid-my-second-sex-scene, I told myself that I needed to get out my old journals and look through them for writing inspiration. The high school years were too dramatic to face (I regret to say I used excessive capital letters like a Victorian novelist) but the college years have been hilarious to revisit. I'm not sure I'll ever use any of this for writing inspiration, but it certainly is fun to explore old angst. For instance, this entry is from the summer right after college, when I was living on the Jersey shore and working at a bed-and-breakfast:

I must admit, the day did not begin auspiciously. There are always one or two obnoxious guests at the Beacon House and this morning was no exception. It's always the bottle blondes, I swear. This one chastized me for the dust on the sideboard, admonished Theresa for not clearing the table quickly enough, and complained that her tea water tasted faintly of coffee. We had a great time in the service kitchen bitching about her. She was not as bad as the hungover aerobics instructor, however. She and her friends, I think, merely existed as a warning to me and Theresa. They were the early 30-somethings from Hell. Watching them, Theresa and I decided to perform mercy killings upon one another if we ever show signs of 1) living our lives to be hung over every weekend 2) yelling at service staff for such inconsequential things as not topping off coffee to the imaged appropriate centimeter 3) contemplating affairs with married men and finally 4) ever making a living off of Jazzercise.

This, dear people, is why we need friends. Gal pals keep us sane, whole, and in touch with that little thing I like to call reality. This is also why I feel that the friend characters in romance novels have to be absolutely excellent. Your heroine's best friend must be able to steer her away from crushes on men who a) are married and b) do Jazzercise.

In honor of best friends everywhere, I ask you: of the novels you've read, what novels contain the best "friend" characters ?


Theresa said...

Ah, good times.

As for the novels with good friends, I have to turn to the (yes, sometimes painful) Nora Roberts family series. The MacGregor Brides, anyone? Classics. What else? It seems more common in contemporaries for some reason.

On a totally unrelated note, I read the new Eloisa James. I don't know how she did it, but I didn't hate Imogen. I just don't think it's the same Imogen. She must have had a personality transplant.

theflitgirl said...

How can anyone compare to LM Montgomery (take your pick, but I nominate Anne and Diana/Phillipa/ Leslie, Emily and Ilse, and Pat and Bets)? I don't know if anyone wrote female friendship better than her.

In romance, historical authors at least tend to write more about male than female friendship, unfortunately. (All those companies of rakes, rogues, rapscalions and roues). But I'll go with Diana and Maddie in Mary Jo Putney's Dearly Beloved.

simone said...

I second the Flitgirl's pick of Anne and Diana. Also, having just had the pleasure of meeting up with Flitgirl and Terri in NY I nominate them (though they are not fictional) cause Kate called it right: when you are worn out and annoyed with existence the only think that looks right is your best girlfriends.

Dylan said...

Awww that was a fun post! I'd have to say my favorite best friends in romance novels is got to be Julie Garwood's Judith and Francis Catherine from The Secret. Their friendship was absolute from an early age, it's the stuff friendships are made of! =)

Kate D. said...

In some way, reading about a friend or a sister who will always be there for you is just as satisfying (though in a different way) of reading about a romance to Broody McTortured Hotpants.

Okay, I would never actually find such a character attractive. But lately I've become addicted to adding "Mc" to everything and I thought I'd give it a shot here.

Sigrid said...

I'm down with the L.M. Montgomery gal pals--I also have fun with the Travelling Pants series (yes, YA lit how I love you) and that they are modern teen characters who don't constantly stab each other in the back.