Left: 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.