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Friendship Between Women

When I was at my father's funeral in England, I began telling stories to my small nephews. It seemed to me perhaps I could turn this interest in storytelling into an energizing way of making my living. My job as a chemist no longer satisfied me. It never really had. It paid the bills though. How hard could it be to write for children, I mistakenly thought? I became convinced my words would be worthwhile enough for people to pay me money, enabling me to live freely, roam the world, and never again have to work in a nine-to-five job! Success would surely come, but perhaps what mattered most, though I did not see it at the time, was not money but a deeper life.

Like many women, I’ve been ingrained to always give rather than receive but part of my journey towards authenticity has been to accept help. We need friends and mentors to encourage, teach and lead the way.

My life as a writer never led to money and fame, but it did lead me into some awesome friendships, such as the one I share with Eddy Pendarvis who was my first editor of a published short story. She, like me, is a big fan of Pearl Buck's work. It aggravated us that in spite of winning a Nobel Prize in literature, Buck’s work was strongly criticized by the male literary establishment. We wanted to find ways to promote her best works and to acclaim this woman of high achievement and high-principled altruism. We were strongly interested in promoting her as a role model for other women. Because of our interest, commitment, and friendship we co-authored Between Two Worlds: a Biography of Pearl S. Buck, which was eventually published by the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press in China.

Naomi and Ruth, in my novel Naomi and Ruth: Loyalty Among Women, share a lasting friendship, surviving and ultimately thriving in a man’s world. The important friendship of these two women bore lasting fruit, a child ancestor of biblical King David, but the story is much more than a woman becoming a mother to someone important: it is about the strength and ability and power of friendship between women.


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