Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I have a great many friends. Unfortunately, most of them do not know about our friendship, since I tend to keep it under wraps, even from my friends. This rather secretive side of me, coupled with the fact that I've never met most of them, makes it impossible to say we have an intimate friendship (not that kind of intimate, damn it, be serious here) friendship in the traditional sense, but I think it's intimate. I think it's intimate, though, because I feel like I understand at least a part of what's inside their heads. At least a little.

Let me explain. I believe poetry and its cousin, music, reveal a great deal about what a person believes, feels, sees, understands, and cares about. Music, especially, opens the door to a person's soul (not in the religious sense...bear with me). It's not just the lyrics. It's the emotion carried in the tune and the way it's delivered. A person's humanity can be revealed in the degree of attachment he or she feels to music. Of course I can't measure the degree of attachment. But I can sense it. And when I'm right and I feel a deep emotional attachment between a person and music that creates that same deep emotional attachment in me, I feel attached to that person. Whatever communication we've had, whether via telephone, email, or simply comments on a blog or social media site, I feel that level of attachment.

Ideally, I'd break through the barriers of space and meet these people. Sometimes I do. But mostly I don't. Yet I have friends in them. Maybe our friendships are very, very close. Maybe they don't feel that way at all. But isn't that true of more traditional friendships, too?

I listened today to some music by a woman named Brandi Carlile. I encountered her by chance as I stumbled across an "activity" on Facebook of a friend I've never met. When I listened to the music, it evoked music of others I like and it made me realize I have a connection with the friend who inadvertently shared it with me.

What does all this mean? I suppose it means that the dimensions of friendship are changing. It's no longer necessary to have a physical presence with a friend to BE a friend. But, come to think of it, if we read the letters of poets and writers, many of their friends were distant. Maybe social media and the internet are becoming today's version of oceans and distance.

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