I explain to Florence that my book is taking on a strange form, somewhere between a novel, a biography and a fictionalised autobiography. I tell her, therefore, that she will feature in it significantly and that I hope she will agree to be a character of mine, for I would like this book to talk more than anything else about friendship. That is probably because, at the point where I am in my life, stories about friends are of much more interest to me than love stories. I feel unable to speak of Françoise Sagan's love affairs. I find it impossible to put myself in the frame of mind of someone in love.
I say, 'I get the impression that in 1954, even if, as the evidence of her book shows, her thoughts dwell a lot on physical love, friendship is the really important thing. What's more, once she has become successful she is going to gather a group of friends around her . . . . long before meeting a "husband". I want to talk about friendship, for I take a jaundiced view of love relationships, whereas I do believe that, if I had not met my female friends, I would not be the woman I am today. I'm not saying that I would have been the worse for it; I might have been all the better for it -- who knows? But what I can state is that my life would have been quite different. It is as if today we bear responsibility for one another, for we have each played an active part in shaping the other person. Love is different. Love is something you live through and that lives through you, but I do not believe that, any deep level, it makes us who we are.'The part that I've highlighted is the part I thought particularly relevant to our conversation about friendships. She makes an interesting comparison of friendship with "love relationships" (and it's obvious, I think, that she's not ignoring the reality that friendship often involves or includes love, but she's distinguishing platonic from sexual or at least romantic-passionate relationships). And the emphasis she places on our friends changing us, making our lives different than they would have been surely connects to the overlap between transition and/in friendship.
Because I'm trying to free myself some time from blogging to re-energize for blogging, I'll say no more about this for now. Nor am I going to assume responsibility for facilitating any discussion that emerges from it, but I will be reading comments as they land, and I may not be able to resist adding a few words of my own. So if this quotation triggers any thoughts you'd like to share, I suspect your fellow readers would be interested to read them -- I know I would.