Monday, October 01, 2012


Thank you to the Smashwords reviewer who wrote about Stacy Juba's collection of essays, 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back:

I really enjoyed this book of essays and there is one for every taste or mood. I especially enjoyed Friend in Need as it points out how time passes and lives change course.

The essay in question is mine.  Read an excerpt below!

Originally published August 28, 2012

An essay of mine appears in a newly published collection by Stacy Juba, 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back.

When Stacy first contacted me about contributing, I had no idea what I was going to write about.  The only criteria was the theme: 25 years ago.

Twenty-five years ago, I graduated high-school (Lowell High, class of 1987, that's me).  Unlike a lot of people, high-school was actually a pretty great time for me.  But, in thinking about it, and writing about it, I ended up contributing an essay about one of the most painful things that ever happened to me.  I'd never written about it before, and I'm still not sure if I did the right thing writing about it now.  The subject is still too raw and too painful for me, not to mention somewhat embarrassing.

An excerpt is below:

In high-school, I find made friends with people who were engrossed by the same things as I was.  There was a whole bunch of us “A” English students, budding writers all.  We read books and we discussed books and we wrote our own books.

My best friend and I even wrote our own novel, in the vein of our then favorite, blockbuster writer, Sidney Sheldon (we were seventeen years old.  You can guess at the book’s quality).  But, it was our passion, and we worked on it diligently all through our Senior Year.

We went to different colleges, but we kept in touch via marathon phone conversations, working on the book, among other things.  I majored in Writing for Television.  My friend, at the insistence of her parents, chose a more sensible field.  But, we still clung to our dreams of completing and publishing our book together.

Eventually, I took over the bulk of the writing, but she continued to read it and proof it and offer ideas.  It was still ours, and it was still going to happen, we were sure of it.

The proposal complete, I armed myself with that mandatory tool of aspiring authors everywhere, “The Writer’s Marketplace,” and proceeded to send our baby out to those New York City publishers who’d produced our favorite novels.  The book got repeatedly rejected.

But, a funny thing happened along the way.  Editors who didn’t think this particular manuscript was “right for them at this time,” saw something promising in my prose, and asked me to submit other works.  I did.  This lead to the publication of two Regency romances with AVON, and a pair of contemporaries for AVON and DELL.

But, all along, I kept working and re-working that original story.  Because I loved it and believed in it.  And because it was something my best friend and I were doing together.

And then, in November of 1998, I introduced my best friend to my fiancĂ©.  The three of us had lunch together.  Everything seemed to go well.

She never called me again.

At the time, I thought I was the only person this had ever happened to.  Since then, I've learned that the abrupt termination of friendship with no explanation (especially among women) is such a common thing there's even a book about it, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Break Up With Your Best Friend.  Though people still tend to keep it a secret, for a variety of reasons.  As a result, when it happens, everyone feels like they're alone.

I've tried writing about it, fictionalized (most notably with Sarah and Allie in Another World Today), and, when I was at P&G, I pitched the story repeatedly, arguing that this was a woman's medium, and this was something that affected women's lives, something a majority of women could relate to.  It would be a fresh, new story on a seemingly ancient and perennially perplexing subject (and no, it wouldn't be something as simple as a case of two former best friends fighting over a man.  I was talking about something subtler, and much sadder).  Nobody bought it.

So now, I've written about it for real, torn off the scabs and opened myself up for more pain.

Like I said, still not sure this was a good idea.  But, hey, you can read the complete essay at:

And, in case you're wondering, that story I've been developing since high-school eventually became the Counterpoint interactive series.  Initially, I was going to write it with my best friend.

Now, I'm writing it with all of you....


Stacy Juba said...

I'm so glad you contributed this essay as I think just about everyone has been in this situation at least once in their lives, and they probably took it really personally as they didn't realize how common it was. It happened to me, and I still think about it from time-to-time with regret and confusion. I guess friends just drift apart, but it's hard when one friend would still like to have lunch now and then, or have an occasional phone call or email chat; while the other friend wants a complete, total break.

Claudia Karabaic Sargent said...

I just bought it and can't wait to read it!