Saturday, November 26, 2005

Friends Near and Far

A very good friend of ours is staying with us over the weekend; she'll be back for a week or so over Christmas. She's been friends with my wife and I since grad school (in fact my wife was one of her housemates before moving in with me), so it's been really great to see her. She is also part of our extended network of friends who meet online to play games (mostly massively multiplayer games). What I find interesting is that while I met all of this group in person before we started playing online, some of the members of the group have never seen each other "in the flesh." And yet, they all consider themselves to be friends, and we all have the typical friendship dynamics that you would expect from a group that gets together for drinks once a week or so (falling outs, habits that annoy each other, new marriages - not to each other so far, ups and downs, etc.). I've experienced the phenomenon of building a mental image of a radio personality, only to have that image totally oblitherated upon actually seeing what the person looks like. I've often wondered if a similar reaction would occur if my friends actually met each other in person.

All of this is in my mind, of course, because it's a central theme in the short story I'm writing. It's purely coincidence that our friend has come to visit at the same time I'm writing this, but it's interesting to get her perspective. I'm not completely sure the idea is powerful enough to carry the story (see my previous post on the story for a plot synopsis), but I think it's strong enough to be worth the time for a first draft. I'm still working on the novel, as well. Oddly enough, I think this is the first time I've ever multi-tasked story writing. Normally I can't think about more than one story at a time, but I don't think this short story will interfere much. We shall see.

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