Working Something Out

From Marilynne Robinson’s Paris Review interview:

In this culture, essays are often written for the sake of writing the essay. Someone finds a quibble of potential interest and quibbles about it. This doesn’t mean the writer isn’t capable of doing something of greater interest, but we generate a lot of prose that’s not vital. The best essays come from the moment in which people really need to work something out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way friendship, not specific friendships, but friendship in general, changes as we age. For me at least, after early childhood friendships forged on the convenience of neighborhoods or parents’ relationships, the friends I made in the years between middle school and early adulthood had a kind of intensity that it’s hard to imagine in a new friendship as an adult.

In thinking about friendship I read an entire anthology (The One That Got Away) about the dissolution of friendships, but I think what I’m really interested isn’t so much the ways in which specific friendships end (though that’s part of the story) but the ways in which friendship itself becomes something else in adulthood.


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