20 May 2014

Guest Post: Beth Hoffman on Women and the Power of Friendship

Looking for Me by Beth HoffmanWhat can I tell you about Beth Hoffman? She is not only an amazing author but a warm and generous woman whom I proud to call a friend. I loved and have written about both her novels and even hosted a guest post in honor of Oletta Jones, one of my favorite characters in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.

Today I'm celebrating the recent paperback release of Beth's second novel, Looking for Me, which I reviewed when it first came out. I concluded my review by saying that Beth "writes from the heart and with such an authentic voice, we come by our love for her work as naturally as if we were reading about our own kin."

I'm so pleased to welcome Beth back to Beth Fish Reads and am thrilled that her post is about women and friendship, which are strong themes in her work.

Women and the Power of Friendship
by Beth Hoffman

The formative years of my childhood were lived on my grandparents' farm. It was a rural area, and there weren't any kids to play with. I was raised among the easy, unhurried ways of older women. From my garden-loving grandma, to the elderly widow who lived up the road and created handmade paper dolls, each woman made a powerful impression upon me.

I was exposed to the simple yet remarkable words of wisdom that came from interacting with women who had lived through decades that encompassed everything from the unspeakable hardships of the Great Depression to the unexpected joy of learning to drive a car at the age of 72. Those daily observations and interactions gave me a foundation that has held me up ever since. Never have I heard more profound truths than those that were spoken in my grandmother's kitchen during the hot, humid days of canning season.

Then came the day that I entered first grade. From the moment I took my seat in that tiny classroom, I felt uncomfortable and awkward. Who were these squealing little people in lace-topped socks and crisp gingham dresses, and what on earth did I have in common with them? I was so accustomed to interacting with older women that the giggling language of girls my own age left me tongue-tied. It took me a long while to adjust to my classmates, and even after I did, I was always glad to return to my grandmother's kitchen where, as far as I could tell, things just made a whole lot more sense.

When I left my career in interior design and set out to write a novel, it never occurred to me that I would draw so heavily on the simple but rich experiences I had with my grandmother and her friends.

An e-mail was forwarded to me not long ago, and as I read it, I kept nodding in agreement. I have no idea who wrote it, but it sums up so much of what I feel about friendship, and I'd like to share it.

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Love waxes and wanes.
Hearts break.
Careers end.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Marriages collapse.

But . . .

Girlfriends are there no matter how many miles are between them. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it for yourself, your girlfriends will be standing on the rim, cheering for you, praying for you, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they'll even break the rules and walk beside you. Or, they'll come in and carry you out.

The world wouldn't be the same without them, and neither would I.

When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible happiness and sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.
Thank you so much for stopping by today, Beth. Where we all be without our women friends? I too was blessed to know my grandmothers well, and some of my fondest memories are the hours I spent in their kitchens.

Beth Hoffman is the internationally bestselling author of Looking for Me and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Before beginning her writing career, she was president and co-owner of an interior design studio. Beth lives, along with her husband and their four-legged fur-kids, in a historic Queen Anne home in Kentucky. Her interests include the rescue of abandoned and abused animals, nature conservancy, birding, historic preservation, and antiquing. To learn more about Beth, visit her website and like her on Facebook. You'll also find her on Twitter as @wordrunner.


rhapsodyinbooks 5/20/14, 7:06 AM  

Lovely sentiments in the email she quotes!

Beth Hoffman 5/20/14, 9:40 AM  

Thanks you SO much for hosting me today! Can you believe we've been friends for four years? I think it's time that the original Happydale group had a reunion!

Daryl 5/20/14, 11:16 AM  

such a great quote, i am going to use it

Rita_h 5/20/14, 3:16 PM  

I also read and reviewed Looking for Me when it first came out and gave it 5/5. Such a lovely essay you shared about spending quality time with your grandmother and older women. Sounds like you had a blissful childhood and it shows in your writing.

Nise' 5/20/14, 7:48 PM  

So true! My husband says often that he does not get my friendships, but is glad that I have them.

Anita LeBeau 5/20/14, 10:55 PM  

Love this guest post very much. Beth is one of the first authors that reached out to me when I began blogging. Her friendship is very dear to me.
Her books are amazing, I re-read and share them often.

Carrie 5/21/14, 4:54 PM  

What a lovely post! I am continually grateful for the blessing my best friend is to me. I know I would not be sane without her.

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