Final Page of 2011: Bulldogs and Friendship

January 9, 2012

111231BulldogLeft: The final page of 2011 was in my 6 x 8 inch Gutenberg journal. The tab at the center of the spread is where I cut out a page when I started the journal. (To make room for potential collage material I pre-cut pages throughout the journal the first day I use it.) Staedtler Pigment Liner .1—which the lovely laid texture of the paper breaks up nicely.

Sometimes the day's events seep seamlessly into my drawing. It was late on December 31 and I had one page left in my journal to fill. I took a moment to sketch a dog park "friend." But as often happens the sketch looks less like the dog friend and more like a self-portrait.

Earlier in the day I had received a very touching note from a good friend. In part she said:

It has been so comforting to know that you have my back—and that you're not afraid to challenge my front. I think everyone needs a bulldog, and you have been mine. 

The dog analogy will not be lost even on non-dog people. And for regular readers it will come as no surprise that later that day my drawing turned out the way it did.

Friendship is to my mind the greatest gift you can give to another person—greater than love. It isn't clouded by pheromones. It isn't driven by desire. It is not bound up with some self-centered rush to loose one's self to ecstasy, to isolate into a created world, or to follow a biological imperative. Even when it is at its most sappy, friendship is clearheaded. Out of that comes understanding.

I am always extremely grateful that people find my friendship bearable let alone fun, helpful, supportive, etc., and not annoying! I am pretty intense, OK, by that I mean the other "intense"—I'm abrasive. (If you've read the blog at all you also know I'm bossy.) Because of that I am deeply touched that this friend actually celebrates the characteristics I contain which make me an unsuitable friend for 99.9 percent of the population.

We are all fortunate when we have a friend who really sees us. It inspires us to try to be even better at our job—because I believe friendship is a job, something we have to work at. Perhaps it is even an artform.

Be sure to let your "bulldog" know how you feel about him or her. Life is very short and you really don't have as many opportunities to do that as you might think.

    • Louise
    • January 9, 2012

    Roz, I agree with you about friendship being the greatest gift people can give one another. Years ago, I read a quote attributed to St. Augustine, who is said to have written that ‘friendship is the highest form of human love.’ I agree with that. For it is the voluntary unconditional acceptance of the other, where he is on his personal journey, that strengthens and supports continuing growth and becoming.

    The fact that 99.9% of people might not be a good fit for real friendship has nothing to do with your being bossy or being intense, IMO. I think it has to do with the fact that individual personality structures are very different and not everyone has the character for friendship. Even the word ‘character’ has an old-fashioned aura to it today; it seems to have gone the way of good manners which appear to evolve with what is easy, convenient, and feels good.

    People generally don’t like it when someone goes beyond them. You are accomplished and know a lot about your subject in addition to having many interests. You fill your time productively and selflessly encourage others to make the most of their time doing the same. You contribute so much to the community of artists who blog on the web, posting their work and writing about what they do. There are several I read first thing every morning. I can’t wait to see what’s new! I love it.

    So, you’re bossy and intense. Good for you! I don’t think we would want you to be any other way. You are perfect just the way you are. Here’s to the bulldogs of friendship and to all they help us become.

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