'Dega and the Importance of Friends

Can't wait for the Talladega race today. Hope it's as exciting as they come and that the best car wins. However, at 'dega, that's not always a given. It's who your friends are that count for more than horsepower at the restrictor plate races. Witness Kurt Busch and his teammate, Ryan Newman last February at Daytona. Busch came through at the right moment, just when Newman needed him the most.

Writing friends are like drafting partners. They tell you, with unvarnished honesty, when your idea for a new book is so far-fetched, you may as well waste your time washing the kitchen floor. They push you to finish the monster that just won't end. They buck you up when the writing is mired in six feet of storm muck, and when your agent doesn't like a single idea you've pitched for the past six months. Best of all, they understand what writers do and the cost it exacts. Sometimes, it's a choice between retreating into the fictional world and the one that exists outside your office door, and they let you know when you're making the wrong one. God bless all writing friends. It's a tough job, and no one has to do it.