Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t you cringe at those three words put together in a statement? Yeah, Me too. So I never make them, resolutions that is. But I did make a To-Do List, which sounds vaguely better than a Resolutions List. On this list was “Facebook”.

For months my publicist has been pushing me to have my own page. I’ve been promising it was on my to-do list. Yeah that and lose weight, eat healthy, cut back on coffee, write ten pages a day, craft witty thank you notes on time, blog at least once a week, be nicer…blah, blah, blah. I probably don’t need to state the obvious, but I haven’t done any of those aforementioned to-dos.

Here was the problem: I have two teenagers who live on their Facebook. At least one of them (I won’t say which) threatened my life if I had a Facebook page. “Mom,” he/she whined, “I’ll die if my friends see you on Facebook.” I promised him/her that it would be a work-only Facebook and that I had no intention of “friending” his/her high school friends. After that blood-vow I decided to join the Facebook world with some trepidation – what if I didn’t have any ‘friends’? After looking at my teen’s pages I realized that this was the whole point – to gather “friends. I had a weird feeling about that.

When I was twelve years old, my pastor father told us that God had told him to start a church in Fort Lauderdale. God and I disagreed, but God won. He usually does. So at twelve years old I was friendless and lost in a south Florida middle school. All I wanted was ONE friend. Really, just one. Someone to sit with in the lunchroom; someone to walk with me to the bus stop. It’s a sad, empty emotion and I wasn’t keen on feeling it again.

Eventually I caved and this week I jumped into the Facebook pool. (I wanted to cross SOMETHING off the to-do list; now I feel so productive). I shouldn’t admit this – but it consumed my day what with finding friends and figuring out how to use all the apps (you can even put it on your iPhone). It reminded me of those days in school when we’d pass notes folded into small boxes like Origami; notes that said “do you like me –check yes or no”. Then we’d wait with stomach butterflies for the answer.

I’ve decided that Facebook is the adult version of the classroom note. But much, much more fun because of course we all want to be friends with each other. Of course – as authors and readers – we all want to laugh and share our stories and sorrows and accomplishments. I was wrong – it’s not about gathering friends, it’s about sharing our lives. In less than an hour I knew about the sad news of the Margaret Mitchell House layoffs (It’s so awful and sad and I want to do something to fix it); I knew that Janis Owen’s cookbook will be released (can’t wait!); that Joshilyn found the end of her novel (of course she did); that Karen’s daughter finally got a job. I read Ad’s pithy and wonderful updates; watched Daniel Wallace’s videos; learned about new novels being released; laughed at the comments others left on my wall (Just ignore any mention of my Tigerette status, really, ignore it); knew what Jackie K. Cooper was reading, etc…

The struggle won’t be keeping up with Facebook, it will be keeping from following my teenager’s examples and becoming addicted. As authors we lead a mostly solitary life; alone in our office trying to find the right words to say exactly what we think we want to say. But we really aren’t alone, are we? So will you be my friend? Check yes or no. J

Visit Patty Callahan Henry at


Jackie said...


Nicole Seitz said...

Love being your friend. Great post, Patti!

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