More Friendly With Two

by | Aug 6, 2021 | Weekly Prompt

I’m going to be totally honest with you: what prompted this week’s prompt was a feel-good article about the friendship between Lenny Kravitz and Jason Momoa, otherwise known as Lisa Bonet’s ex-husband and now-husband, respectively. Kravitz and Momoa have matching rings. They celebrate each other on social media. It warms the heart. Celebrity friendships are already great fun, IMO, but when they spring from their shared connection to a beautiful woman and fashion icon, when there’s love where we expect to find tension or even animosity, well, that’s even more fun. 

It’s like photos of interspecies friendships. Bea the Giraffe & Wilma the Ostrich. Shere Khan the Tiger & Baloo the Bear & Leo the Lion. So unlikely! So cute!

Our 3-year-old has recently been very into Winnie the Pooh, both the movies and the original stories. It’s mostly about friendship among animals with personalities that rub uneasily against one another. Rabbit decides to move away from all the pesky neighbors. The other animals forget Eeyore’s birthday. Eeyore says testily to Tigger, “The most wonderful thing about Tiggers is you’re the only one.” They misread and use and annoy one another, get each other into trouble and danger. 

But then they come around. Rabbit changes his mind. Eeyore lets his friends lift his mood, temporarily at least. They help each other. Friendship redeems their smallness and meanness. 

Is every friendship unlikely, somehow? That’s probably a larger question than I can consider here. When it’s rendered in art, an unlikely friendship destabilizes our expectations while still shoring us up. 

Prompt

Write about an unlikely friendship. Invent one or write a true story about one of your own. Either way, make it a kind of love story. And/or make it funny–a literary buddy cop story with all the hilarious misunderstandings that arise when two people must decipher each other’s customs and habits and weird ways of being. This kind of humor can be broad, or it can done with softer strokes of dramatic irony, so that only the reader is clued into how one of them mistakes the other. 

Think about where the real conflict would arise between these friends. Don’t make that too obvious–some tension will arise because of their glaring differences, but there’s no story if Fox just finally gets hungry and eats her best friend Squirrel. Better that Squirrel hurts Fox’s feelings. Better that their differences, their unique gifts, help them get through some kind of clash. Fox’s honesty about who she is helps Squirrel admit her own latent aggression.

And don’t shy away from the conflict, either. Let the reader feel it, fear the end of this uncanny friendship, before you rescue it.