“Some Possibilities for Narratives of Friendship”: I’m at Spiritual Friendship

readin’ books:

I loved Wes’s post on writing about friendship, and figured I’d throw some specific examples out there to see what actual novels and movies suggest about the nature of friendship. These are very much first-draft thoughts, as I hope you guys will riff on them.

“The Body” & Stand By Me–friendship as childhood. This heartbreaking Stephen King novella, which was turned into probably the best adaptation of his work for the screen, tells the story of a group of boys who go on a journey to look at a corpse. Friendship is their haven from violence. It’s also their lost idyll. We know from the beginning that they will never again be as close as they were on that summer day long ago. Friendship is a place where you can be known in a way that lovers and spouses–the people you will end up binding yourself to in the adult world–will never know you.

I think a lot of friendship stories are about whether we can know another person. Stories of eros, whether marital or not, often play on the contrast between the physical union of the lovers and their unbridgeable distance from one another. You can “know” her in the Biblical sense, be inside her body, and yet have no idea what she’s thinking. Friendship stories sometimes suggest a deeper, more intimate harmony of minds: almost a shared consciousness. Other times, stories of friendship are about how even the friend remains as unknowable as a lover.

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