I describe myself as a gregarious loner. In this realm, many things only exist in contrast, so an oxymoron seems appropriate as a self label. If you met me—and it's unlikely, given my reticence about people—you'd probably find me to be a witty, engaging and delightful person. I am, to a point, but I am not comfortable around people, less and less so as I get older. I especially avoid crowded places. I have that figure/ground hearing thing. Hello, is anybody in there?
I think it would be odd to meet a writer who is a glad handing extrovert. Our craft involves introspection, observation, the creation of other realities. We need separation. A touch of melancholy serves me well.
To paraphrase the professional golfer, Fred Couples, I hate the sound of my phone ringing. Inevitably, there is someone at the other end and they want something from me. I like texts. Send me a text anytime.
My standard of friendship is my partner in failed business ventures, John Young. Among his many talents, he was (too disabled now) a skilled DIY'er, having restored several turn of the century homes. He loved them and loved the craftsmanship. When my wife and I bought a Victorian home sadly in need of repair, John loaded his tools and drove all the way across the country to help me and infect me with the DIY bug. A friend knows what you need without you asking, and shares what they have without diminishing themselves. While we failed in business, John's gift to me has been a great source of security for my wife and I, and part-time cash to support my writing jones. I am Homo Habilis Rex (The Handyman King) You should have a friend like me. I can fix stuff. I have shared my partner's gift to me by always making time for widows and single moms who don't have anyone for those annoying household repairs.
Facebook has distorted the meaning of friendship. I embraced Facebook at first, as a way to connect with long lost family and friends. Lately, in the real world, I've been unfriending as much as friending. I'm really not interested in your latest rant on guns, abortion, or your definition of a patriot. You're not my friend, you're just someone who has my address. Go away.
As an emerging author however, under a pen name, I have frequently wished I had 50,000 friends who could be urged to read my book and pass it along to ten friends, qualifying them for the blessing of angels, fairies, or what ever—and don't break the chain. Not. I hope you don't want that kind of friend either, no matter what dimension you occupy.
For all my grumbling, the web has brought me the opportunity to participate in a community of writers, that is both engaging and helpful. Writing is a solitary craft. I'm happy with that. I write my best stuff when I am simply entertaining myself like a kid in a sandbox— piles of dirt become castles, sticks are spaceships, ants are invading armies. My wife is kind enough to let me play there. She only requires that I wash my hands before eating. She doesn't particularly like my stuff, she prefers the bodice ripping romance of Bertrice Small. But I knew I was getting somewhere when I had her down on the floor laughing at my send off to the undead, "The DVLZ Do". She's not much use as a critic or editor.
Then the day comes when you get this absurd idea that you'd like to try to publish. That's when you realize you need lots of people—people who can see the blatant errors in spelling, grammar and construction. More people who can tell you if your characters and plot are working. Still more people to offer suggestions on how to achieve your dream.
When I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to write erotica, I went searching for resources. The Erotic Readers and Writers Association was the first or second item returned in the search. I clicked the button and like Alice falling into the rabbit hole, I fell into a different reality, full of helpful and supportive people, many mad as the Mad Hatter, dedicated to advancement in the art of storytelling. There are many days when I don't want to return to the real world.
I don't know what it's like to be an addict, but I got a whiff of the experience the first time an editor said 'yes' to my anthology submission. The idea that someone, a professional no-less, was entertained by something I wrote, had me as high as I've been in many years.
Today, Spencer Dryden has more Facebook fiends than the guy who adopted the pen name of the first drummer for the Jefferson Airplane. Many have been friends in the truest sense—people who have helped me without expectation of repayment, people who have listened without judging, people who have rejoiced in my success and patted my hand during disappointment. If there was more of that in the real world, maybe I wouldn't be such a misanthrope.
So please feel free to 'like' Spencer Dryden and pass it along to your ten thousand closest friends, then angels, unicorns, fairies, mermaids, shape shifters, even zombies will shower you with blessings.