I have the best friend ever. You all can stop competing for the title, because Amanda wins, hands down. I pale in comparison.
This past Saturday, Amanda and I finally got down to exchanging holiday gifts, because you know, the holidays are year round when you’re Daily Duranie. (I don’t know why. I just wrote that because it sounded reasonable at the time.) I will not tell a lie, back when it really WAS Christmas, I had no interest in any of it. If I could have gotten away with forgetting the whole deal and just ignoring the festivities, I would have gladly done so. It was just one of those times, and unfortunately – much of that feeling continues around my home these days. I go through the motions of each passing event, hoping that I will come out the other side with my typical
sunny and rosy…hmm…. reasonably positive…ok…my normal “hoping for the best, expecting the worst” attitude restored. So far, I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m trying my best. No, this is not chronic depression, this is just me trying to get through a very stressful time at home. We’ll just leave it at that and move on.
As I was saying, we Skyped and exchanged gifts. I am here to tell you that Amanda has “won” Christmas. The rest of us, including Santa Claus, can quit right now. Amanda took it upon herself to create a book commemorating the ten years of friendship she and I have experienced. The good, the band (that’s not a typo), and the downright hilarious.
This is no ordinary book. This is a full color, hard-bound 154-page (including our picture on the last page) printed book in a 8.5×10 landscape format. It has a full dedication that I won’t copy here, and the book includes photos, pictures of our concert tickets, quotes that we’ve said over the years to one another, anecdotes that she found and copied from old message boards that we were a part of, old blogs that we’d written, emails and private messages. It is truly a complete representation of most everything that she and I have been together in the very short ten years that we’ve known one another. I was completely flabbergast when I opened the package, and I pretty much remain that way this morning. I spent much of the past two days reading every single word in the book – I can’t believe she put this together (but now I know why she’s been so busy!!!), and mostly – I can’t imagine why she would do this for me, but I’m awfully glad she did.
I also have to thank Amanda’s sister, Jenny…more than I could ever put into words here. Her company, Interwoven Heritage Services, puts projects and oral histories like this together, and I know her help was invaluable, as was her time. If you ever consider putting your own story in print like this, I highly, highly recommend checking them out.
If I could, I would scan the entire book and show everyone right here on the blog. The reality is, I think we’d offend a great many of you in doing so. My husband, for instance, was quite surprised (not pleasantly, I might add) to read that his wife curses like a sailor, and drinks like a fish. (I really don’t. Much.) The fact that he was surprised by such things doesn’t really worry me as much as his actually reading this book does, to be honest! The band might not enjoy knowing that we have actually considered suing them for emotional distress more times than I can count. Fellow fans? Well, you’ve been the source of many a good laugh over the years. As have Amanda and I ourselves, I might add. We’re damn funny, at least in retrospect. That said, I do want to show off my gift, at least in part.
So as you can see, Amanda chose some of the pictures we’ve taken over the years – you have probably seen most of them on this site.
But then there are the pages themselves. Like any good book, she starts at the beginning….
While this wasn’t the first time we’d met – it was the first “tour” we ever did together. Two whopping shows (together – Amanda did a few more with other friends while I went back home!) and we were hooked, both to getting to as many shows together as possible and touring together…because as I say here, “Once you find people you can tour with – you stick with them.”
Our next tour together was for Chicago in 2006, right after they’d announced that Andy and the band had parted ways again. As you can see here – John Taylor is one full page, while the memories of that show, written by Amanda on the other side. Again – that story is from this blog.
She really did her best to tell the full story of what we’ve done so far…with hopefully more to come!
So those are just a few pages from what I think is the kindest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received and certainly do not deserve. I’ll let you all in on a little secret – I have to give Amanda a huge apology. For the past several months, probably since late-September, I’d really lost hope that we’d ever find a publisher for our manuscript. It was just too large of a project for me to compile on my own and send, and it seemed to me as though Amanda had no interest or time to put into it once she got started in her new job. Sadly, I put the book on the very back burner, and chalked it up to being yet another experience I had only seen part of the way through. I was disappointed that I didn’t see it through, but I felt like my heart wasn’t really in it if she wasn’t able to be dedicated to it either. It never occurred to me that the reason she wasn’t working on it was because she was basically writing and editing an entirely different BOOK! So, I have to apologize to her. I’d lost faith in our project at a time when I really should have been asking more questions! Someday that monster manuscript is going to be printed!!
We talked a little on Saturday about what might be coming next. Only the band knows for sure (and I honestly have my doubts about whether or not they even know!)…but I have to thank Amanda so much for this gift. It not only reminded me of just how much fun I’ve had over these past ten years, but it also rekindled a bit of my love for the band. I’d really kind of forgotten…which is EXACTLY why they shouldn’t wait so long between tours and albums, but at this point I think it’s like herding cats to get them to really see. Either they can’t see it because they’re so stuck on the whole “we’re a rock band and you are just fans…what could you possibly know?” thing….or they just really cannot even begin to understand how integral THEY are to OUR lives. Their history is really OUR history, and if nothing else, the book Amanda created for me really demonstrates that point. Someday, I hope to show at least one of them this creation and maybe then it’ll hit home. Here’s hoping they won’t be offended my my creative use of the word “bastards” in there…. 😀