celebration for a friend

It's really nice when good things happen for your friends. My friend, Joe not only published his novel, Stealing Ganymede, this year but the novel was also just nominated for a Lambda Award.

Joe and I have been friends for about 10 years now. We've been roommates, confidantes, travel companions and fellow graduate students together. When he first decided to apply to Illinois State where I was already working on my Ph.D. Joe expressed concerns that having him here would cause a conflict between my past that he was a significant part of and the life I was trying to build in Illinois. But who we were is always part of who we become whether we like it or not and I always thought having Joe here would be a good thing because there would always be someone who knew me, who really knew me. Besides, I knew how he operated; he's never been a needy or clingy person and I had no doubt that he would very quickly find his own way. We lived together his first year in what can only be described as a very strange apartment with hella steep stairs and two slumlord type landlords whom we rarely saw. I was hardly ever home, spending most of my time shuttling back and forth from Champaign. But when I was there, it was nice to be there with Joe. And even after I moved to Champaign, I tried to keep in touch, to be supportive. Sometimes, I wish we'd been closer during his time here but the great thing about old friends is that you always feel close even if you don't see one another often. I feel that way about Maria who is halfway around the world. I'll always consider many of the people I met in Mobile my friends. Facebook and IM chat also help bridge the distances.

Joe and I met during my time at South Alabama; I can't remember if it was during my Master's or undergrad. We spent a lot of time together, workshopping poems, talking, watching movies and eating pizza at Gran's house. He's the type of friend I always learn from, our conversations always give me new perspective, or help me work something out. I hope he knows how influential he's been in my life, how important. He helped me put my Master's thesis together and so much more. The years blur together.

When we were in Creative Writing classes together, I remember how his work impressed me. There was such depth there, so much beneath the surface but most of all what impressed me was the edge. Joe's writing always had a distinct edge, twists and turns. My father always said if Joe could find an audience, his work would soar. Well, I think, that finally my father's prediction has come true. I am so proud of my friend. I thought he should know.