One of the most satisfying things about my immersion in the world of children’s writing these past few years has been the many friendships I’ve struck up as a result. I’m thinking tonight — early this morning, to be precise — of one particular friend. A few years back, when I contacted her out of the blue — I’d gotten her info from the SCBWI Red Book — about exchanging manuscripts, her response was, “Why not?”

“Why not?” has worked out well. I can’t speak for her, but it’s been a rewarding relationship for me. Through her insights, my writing has improved. Even when we aren’t swapping our latest drafts, I enjoy hearing what she’s been up to and sharing the same. And when a tragedy hit our family three years ago, hers was one of the first voices I heard on the phone.

Now I need to show that I can give as good as I get. I heard from her late last week that her husband has lung cancer — apparently operable, hasn’t spread, but still scary as hell. I haven’t called her yet, but at a time like this, not knowing exactly what words to say shouldn’t stop me.