Your heart and my heart are very good friends. --Rumi
We've all had that one friend. She's more daring than you. She laughs loudly at her own jokes and doesn't hesitate to make you the butt of some of them. She's a little bit wild or maybe a lot wild and she often makes you uncomfortable but you secretly admire her temerity. Above all she's that fiercely loyal friend that champions your successes and mourns your losses. She would probably go to jail for you, if not lay down her life.
Today we'd call that person our BFF but Clover Blue simply calls her Harmony, the one person who understands him better than anyone else at Saffron Freedom Community. Harmony was just five, the same age as Blue, when she and her mother, Gaia moved to SFC in the fall of 1969. Here's how he describes their arrival in my forthcoming novel, CLOVER BLUE.
I remember Harmony running out from behind her mother’s legs to give me a hug. Unlike me, she was used to being around strangers. She grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s go play!” so I took her to see our new chickens. She wasn’t the least bit afraid. She cornered one of the hens, picked it up, and kissed it. “I love you!” she said, and squeezed the squawking bird before letting it go and chasing after the next one. From that day on I’ve spent as much time as possible trying to absorb her courage, her bright fire.
I loved writing this character, the charming foil to my earnest protagonist's more staid and careful personality. She's an artist who carries her sketchpad everywhere. She pushes Blue, often to the brink of embarrassment, possibly terror, as she romps wildly through the pages of Blue's life. Although all "Youngers" in the commune are considered siblings and the rivalry between Blue and Harmony is apparent, they forge a friendship that goes beyond family, a bond so closely interwoven that each feels lost without the other. When Harmony runs off in a fit a anger, it's Blue who always knows where to find her.
When nobody’s paying attention, I slip behind the outhouse and over the hill and race toward the woods. Just inside the cover of trees, I hook a quick right along the edge to our secret deer path. I follow it to a wooden bridge that Harmony and I made from a fallen log, and cross the creek. I stop when I get to the hollowed-out trunk. It used to be big enough for us both to curl up inside together and tell stories. I drop to my knees and poke my head inside. Sure enough, there she is, looking as mean and stubborn as that rooster we had for a while before it got eaten by a bobcat.
Blue knows that Harmony's roughshod rebelliousness and unpredictable temper is an attempt to hide the pain she feels after Gaia abandons her. Harmony is just eight years old when her mother leaves for a Grateful Dead concert and doesn't return. Blue understands all too well what it's like not knowing where one's mother is, as he's never been told who his biological parents are. With the urging of his fearless best friend, Harmony, he's finally able to risk everything in his quest for truth.
What about you? Do you have a fiercely loyal friend like Harmony who is the fire to your water, the woo-hoo to your uh-oh? Give them a shout out here, or on my Facebook author page where I've linked this post. I'll be drawing a name for two decks of CLOVER BLUE playing cards, one each for you and your friend.
I'm blogging about the characters leading up to the release of CLOVER BLUE, now available for pre-order online or better yet, pre-order from your local bookstore! Be sure to follow my blog by clicking on the link in the upper right column to be notified of new content and future giveaways!