This one is for E.
This blog adds yet another channel through which E and I can communicate during our temporary (physical) separation. The list currently includes, but is not limited to, phone calls, texts, postcards and letters, the occasional sensual selfie, Google docs, and our shared Instagram and Twitter. I have limited this list to modes of communication that exist in this dimension as E and I believe an open channel or, dare I say, a tesseract exists between our two minds that allows us to be in a constant state of unity.
E and I have worked on many projects together. Those projects include this blog, its previous iteration over at NE x NW, our play, our prank war with some of our male friends from college, and our decorative pursuits, to name a few. And every time we have worked together, I have found E to be an ideal partner. She inspires and challenges me in equal measure.
When you find a collaborator like E, it’s not a matter of holding onto them, but rather an exercise in gratitude and self-discipline. I don’t ever worry about losing E as a friend or as a creative partner. I am grateful that I have earned the right to be in this relationship and am constantly striving to be worthy of her. I am reminded of other great artistic pairings like our dear friends and artists Ashton and Clare over at the Quilt Story Exchange or Vivienne and Dave of Babbling April.
So here is my list to counter the one that E made for me last week. Narrowing the qualities of E that I most cherish down to just five was a challenge. I managed to cheat a bit by allowing each point to be expansive. Darling E, this is for you.
- Positive Affirmations of Selfhood: I am going to echo E here as this one is just so true. E supports me unconditionally. I am entirely serious when I say that my pursuit of certain life changes, from graduate school options to the decision to also dye my hair, have been grounded in her support.
- A Reader: Last year, Michel Faber revealed that he would no longer be writing novels after the death of his wife, who was always his first reader and editor. Writers need readers. And we desperately need those first level readers with whom we trust our work in its earliest and most tenuous stages. E is my first reader.
- A Critical Mind: E is endlessly curious. She reads voraciously and with a keenness of mind that I have rarely encountered in another human being. I have been on the other side of a debate from E and let me tell you, it is tough.
- An Aesthetic Companion: We used to joke in our house that when certain pairs were left alone for the week, certain habits or impulses would be heightened. Whenever E and I were left alone, we became rabid decorators. The weekend we moved into our house, E and I were left alone. At this point in our history, we were friends, but our relationship was still in its nascent stages. That weekend was the first time we spent any significant time alone and that first Ikea date, followed by the many hours of furniture arranging and decorating with pieces scavenged from every Goodwill and dollar store in the vicinity, drew us together. Fast forward a year or so and we’re carrying a very large and very solid church pew several blocks in the rain during Alexandria’s annual spring clean day. We needed it for the screen porch, okay?
- A Model for Kindness: One of our favourite writers, George Saunders, made a case for kindness in that famous commencement address that circled the internet a few years ago. E embodies his plea for kindness to a fault. I like to joke that, much like Fitzwilliam Darcy, once E’s good opinion is lost, it is lost forever. But, conversely, once you are her friend, she is the kindest, most loyal, most giving friend you could imagine.
E, I miss you. This post also announces my return from museum exhibition-induced blog hibernation. I have built up so many blog post ideas over the last few weeks; I can’t wait to dig back into the Tonic.
Addendum: I also consider it a great gift from the universe that E and I share a shoe size.
p.s: The photo at the top of the page was taken at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.