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“When we’re writing, we try to give our friendship as much emotion, attention and tension as a romantic relationship.” Life partners and writers Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta talk about love and friendship in their first fascinating novel, The View Was Exhausting.
Words by Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta
Last year, after a three-month lockout in our Berlin apartment, we saw our best friends again. Of course, we saw the first huge wave of the pandemic: the problem with our poor connections with Houseparty in the short and obsessive flirtation of the world; Shaping a Zoom pub quiz was as good as it was real; sending bored selfies from our couch to them. But when the lock was lightened enough to meet us in a park in our separate picnic blankets, their faces seemed new to us, their gestures dazzling in vain. We were so excited to see them, and so used to being around other people, that he was basically excited to spit on us with every surprise, and the only thing that eased our embarrassment was that they were excited to see us.
There was something strangely moving about meeting our friends. It was a small shake of tender love when another friend brought us a sweet card and a candle after our cat died, or when a friend and her boyfriend baked a Mikaella’s dream childhood birthday cake from a 1980s Australian recipe book.
“In every friendship there is a little core of romance”
Because good friends love each other, there is a set of romance in every friendship, the same excitement and mystery that makes our hearts beat faster on a date or anniversary. When a friend arrives, we often have the same joy as a lover, without worrying about whether he will return you.
In Romcoms, the hero’s best friend is a basic one in the genre, so much so that Judy Greer wrote a complete memoir about her role. The most popular choice of the romcom is to be against your main character: if your hero is straight and tight (Katherine Heigl type), give a quiet beast with a straw cocktail between his teeth and his eyes on a boy. ; If your heroine is crazy and wild, give her best friend a desperate chase and “at least wear underwear!” shouting.
In any case, a very good fictional friendship (in a classic work of literary genius or a horror B-movie) should make you feel as alive and fleshed out as you and your favorite friend. And a romcom is especially ready for that, because love and care are at the heart of the genre, ready to express not only our main partner, but also our hero and his best friend. A good Romcom will show us why our hero and his best friend are so attracted to each other, the invisible chains that bind them together and the intricate stories. We may not see all this history, but the meaning of it should be there, pounding under the skin.
“We wanted to love each other and drive each other crazy”
As a writer, you almost mean that the lucky draw is just that your hero’s best friend isn’t, in fact, your hero. They should be as real as the person, as developed as the character; we should give our fictional friends the same respect and interest that we give to our real-life friends. An alternate best friend to cheer on the hero and explain the plot to the audience will do the trick, but rarely will anyone move. When we wrote it The view was tiring, we wanted our hero, Win, to be a friend with his own desires and intentions, which were sometimes contradictory to Win. We created Shift, adding to this tradition of our best friend in Roman comics, not only to help Win, but to challenge him. We wanted to love each other and drive each other crazy.
When we are writing, we try to give our friendship as much emotion, attention and tension as a romantic relationship. The focus of the novel may not be on friendship, of course, but this set of love at the heart of the friendship will turn the pages. yes the focus is on living. In the same way, most love affairs do well in the heart of a friendship: our main partner makes sure that they want to talk to each other, spend time, be interested in each other, even if they are not. arrests of passion or rage.
Last year, we got married (for the second time – it’s a long story). It was a long, beautiful, stressful day, as weddings usually are, blurry with family and friends and holding hands with each other. But one of the clearest moments that comes out of that is when someone spilled curry on Mikaella’s white silk shirt, the two of us staring at each other, saying ‘I’m going to look for Sophie!’ until he said. Our best friend (and maid of honor) came down on us like a dream, skillfully wiping the stain with hand soap and a paper towel, all smiling and knowing that it was another moment in the mythology of our friendship, true. doing here.