Co-Authors and Friends

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Christine Manges, Dianne Tobias, and Kris McDermet at Longwood Gardens

After the recent braid in, Dianne and Kris and I went to the Chadds Ford/Kennett Square area outside of Philadelphia and stayed in a hotel together.  We did our usual post-braid-in review of the event, discussed thoughts of how to make it better, and hung out in pajamas and hooked and braided.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.57.28 AM.jpgWe also went to:  the Brandywine Museum, Longwood Gardens (we had lunch/dinner there, see above photo, it was delicious) and Winterthur.

The three of us are united by the common history of writing a book together…a book that, while the price ended up being higher than we would have liked (the publisher determined that, not us), we still are proud of.  Immediately after publication, though, there was some serious repair work to do on our friendship.

During the writing, illustrating, and editing of the text, it seemed we were an unlikely combination.  At the beginning of working together, Kris was the only one who both hooked and braided… and this was, after all, a book on COMBINING rug hooking and braiding.  Dianne at least had the grace to learn how to rug hook and has remained captivated by rug hooking as well as braiding.  I whined a lot about how I just didn’t like rug hooking and I couldn’t get my old loops to stay in when I hooked new ones.  (I continue to whine, just like that).

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Kris, Dianne, and me with the new book… 2012?

The book took a long time to write — at least two years, I forget exactly, I think I’ve blocked it out — and there was some friction among us during that time.  Dianne bossed us around a lot (which we needed, because she’s good at organizing and managing, and Kris is too nice to yell at people, and I procrastinate something awful).

But, every year since, we’ve tried to get together at either the Valley Forge braid in or the Methuen gathering, or both, to renew our friendship.  Dianne flies our from California and copes with jet lag amazingly well.  I still drive the same beat up old van filled with braiding supplies and fabric to pick her up from the airport.  After Methuen, we often stay in Boston at Kris’ apartment there.  The three of us even wrote together again:  two book chapters for the Finishing Rug Hooking book.  But I think that’s probably the last time we’ll collaborate on a writing project — I think we’re all afraid we’ll get too ticked off with each other again and lose our friendship if we do.

Dianne has asked me, “Do you think we’d be friends if we lived near each other?” and “Do you think we’d be friends if we didn’t have the book in common?” and the answer is, I don’t know.  I meet a lot of very nice people at braid ins, and while I greatly look forward to seeing them again, they don’t necessarily cross into day-to-day life the way that the three of us have.  I think, in some respects, that having a real friend is knowing their faults and liking them anyway… I try to protect most people whom I meet only at braid ins from seeing my worst flaws, but I gave up trying to conceal that long ago with Kris and Dianne.  I think our closeness is, in part, that they have seen what I’m really like and still put up with me.

In any case, the common history of writing a book together, with the difficulties and still with pride in the outcome, has united us… hopefully forever.  We make enough from book royalties to take each other out to lunch or dinner once a year… although soon I think it’s going to have to just be breakfast!  It’s not exactly been a lucrative experience, except in the friendship department.

6 thoughts on “Co-Authors and Friends

  1. Dianne here: WOW Christine, you could have asked! No, you have captured the friendship experience just fine….it was one of the ‘worst’ yet ‘best’ experiences I have ever had. The only thing you missed, is I remember one of us saying at the beginning of the book journey, “We will not let this book destroy our friendship”…and at that time it was a young friendship. We not only did not allow it to destroy the friendship, tho it came close, I believe we remembered that quote and we 3 became closer. I treasure the two of you in so many ways. And definitely think we would be friends if you (why don’t you) move to California?

    • Dianne again….another memory that we actually talked about last week, tho remembered a little differently. After the corrected/proofed galleys were sent in Our work was done, I decided to braid something (most braiding for fun had taken a back seat during book writing). I tore a Pendleton shirt up and begain to braid a small, tiny braid mat and found myself using some of the patterns from the book. At this point the book was in several files: photos, captions, diagrams, text on my PC. One of the innovative patterns that Christine came up with was the back and forth picot with one strand running through it like a ribbon IF you place the strands in a particular order on the enclosed end start pin. It was pretty late at night in CA, and I begain that butted row, but the directions didn’t produce the same result described by the text! I tried again, and then again and began to panic. I knew Christine and Kris were asleep with the time change so I emailed a SOS email describing the issue and hoping it was ME and not the directions, knowing they would respond by the time I woke up in the am. Sure enough, the directions were in error and we could change them before the book went to print…there are most likely another one or two errors that we didn’t find, but glad this one was averted. This story tho illustrates a challenge we had being in two time zones and 3 locations while writing, editing, discussing and proofing the book. Thank heavens for Skype and Dropbox!

  2. I love the way you describe your friendship, especially how you let your faults show with each other. It’s nice to have friends who you can be yourself with and who know you and accept you, warts and all. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Friends are so wonderful. I have many in the hooking and braiding world. I have friends as the Merry Widows at My church that I play Hand and Foot with on Friday nights. I have Mahjongg friends on Tuesday afternoon. My sister, Harriet is my friend too. My late husband and my children are my friends too. Thank you Lord for my friends. Anne Sent from my iPhone

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  4. One never knows what life will bring and this was one of the really great stories for we three. It all started with a chance meeting at Methuen where I happened to sit at the table with Dianne and Christine and here we are all these years later growing older and hopefully wiser with each other and all of you. Friendship is the best!

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