I have been reading with great delight As Always, Julia, a collection of letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. DeVoto's husband was a journalist who'd written a piece in Harper's which included a rant about the lack of good kitchen knives in the United States. Julia read it and sent him a knife that she described as "a nice little French model." Avis, who often served as her husband's secretary (though an editor and book reviewer in her own right) responded. Thus began a correspondence that bloomed into a dear friendship--long before the two women had ever met. Their letters are a delight, and got me thinking about friendships-via-words. My aunt began a pen pal relationship with a young British girl when they were both children during World War II. As far as I know, they still write to each other. My sister has a pen pal in Kentucky to whom she's written for more than 40 years; they've only met twice, yet consider each other dear friends. These days, paper and ink has given way to emails, virtual groups, live chat, and forum postings. We communicate with strangers, and from some of those connections comes the spark of true friendship. We hear each other's voices and answer in kind. Two women I consider dear friends began as my critique partners; we've met only a couple of times, but we sustain our friendships through words. So this post is dedicated to all my virtual pals, the women in my life who comment on this blog, exchange emails with me, share their writing joys and sorrows, and offer encouragement and a laugh. To the friends I haven't met yet (and those I have)--it's good to know you're out there.
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