Monday, October 28, 2013

above and beyond

on many many many occasions whilst living in new york, i've thought thank goodness for my friends. (and my family, too, but this one is specifically a friend post).

my friends are one of my favorite parts of my life. maybe it's egoistic to say, but i feel i'm especially adept at making excellent friends. i might not be successful (yet, ha!), or musically oriented, or i dunno, super decisive about... anything, but i can make a great friend.

eclectic across the spectrum, what my friends have in common is they're generous, sweet, interesting, funny, caring, and capable of making it all better on the particularly grey days. but this is the very definition of friendship, no? so, in general, a hearty three cheers! and yes! to great friends. which brings me around to one person in particular.

about a month ago, i wrote to my oldest friend from college, Rich Franconeri.

this guy

Rich was the production director on our student newspaper. therefore, my boss. he was the owner of the best advice i've ever received and still try to follow: "keep it simple, Corrie. keep it simple." (Rich has that sensei way of repeating his wise sentences thus making them seem wiser). i accompanied him to his sisters wedding and can still remember his laughter when i goofed up during one of dj mc'd line dances, so that i was facing backwards when everyone else was facing forward. somewhere in my files, i have the Christmas cards he created for all of his former design jobs.

nowadays, we get together one or two times a year for general catch-up-ing and beer drinking. he designed the websites for two literary agencies i'd been connected to. so i felt perfectly comfortable emailing him when i finally decided to woman up and get a proper website of my own.

let's talk, he replied.

to which i replied, like on the phone?

we chatted. he told me my job was to write a strong bio and figure out who i wanted to appeal to. cool. great. no problem.

i immediately got cold, disgruntled feet. what was the point? the whole thing would need to be changed when i was published. and who was really looking up corrie wachob in the meantime anyway? not to mention, bio writing? hardest thing ever.

i didn't write Rich back. i was perfectly fine letting the project stall. then a few weeks later something wonderful happened. where'd that website enthusiasm go? Rich Facebook messaged me. i explained about the cold, annoying feet, and lack of ideas, and how it had been a crappy writing week and this was his response:

it's a good thing you have a creative friend. 

and maybe this sounds silly, because the man was building me a website, not, like, giving me a kidney, but i was blown away.

it's so easy to get wrapped around yourself here that it's shocking when someone does something selfless. this might seem silly to people that don't live in NYC - where i imagine people frequently go out of their way for other human beings when there's nothing in it for them, and for the record, people do that here too, but this was hours of extra work. and it wasn't me nagging him. he was nagging me. plain and simple, it was a friend using his talents (pro-bono) to help another friend succeeded.

you expect this of your parents and you know your friends love you, but usually it's expressed in them grabbing a drink with you on short notice. this was special.
a week later, Rich and i met in his financial district offices. i threw it together quickly. just to give you an idea of what we can do. then he pulled up a slightly bluer version of this onscreen:


i'm not sure, but i might have squealed.

what followed was a reminder that all art forms and creative processes look essentially the same. be it music, painting, writing. you work through drafts, you tweek, you discuss the merits of a particular photograph to death, you edit edit edit, and then you progress.

a few days later, i received an email entitled: second pass

we tinkered with the wording in the small colored boxes. i disliked the bio pic. i really disliked the bio. we emailed back and forth. a few days came: one step closer!! and it was time to share it with friends and family.

and then, last week, i saw this subject line in my inbox: final?

i'm excited about my website, because it's a gorgeous representation of myself on the web, better than i'd ever envisioned.

but i'm over the moon psyched because it's a beautiful representation of Rich's talent and patience - what about the picture of me driving? i swear that's the last change. but also, maybe the line in the top blue box should read Corrie Wachob writes "because it goes well with coffee." i dunno, what do you think?

every time i click on my website (i won't lie about every ten minutes) i'm reminded of what an amazing friend Rich is. i'm reminded of sitting on rooftops with my bestie Cyr who always took me under her wing, dropped everything to have a coffee, and took the beautiful Instagram pics featured at the top and center. it's my sis proving me wrong that i could take a decent author photo (it helps if it's blurry) during our chill, boozy i-phone photo shoot on her old balcony. it's the full page uber-helpful analysis from Ellen on the second draft of the website that read as if she was critiquing my writing. it's an adamant, visceral opinion about the words in the skinny blue box at the top from my little sis that made the whole page stronger.

my website is like my life. it's a collection of amazing people. it's happy memories. it's examples of  friends looking out for friends and as my last email from Rich said in the subject line:

it's Alive!!! and ready for viewing.

three cheers for friends!

and especially three cheers for Rich! thank you for the prodding. thank you for the creativity and the late and early morning emails. thank you for live chatting with my domain name provider.

mainly, thank you for being such an awesome friend.

and also for not charging me.

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