In New York, I had a few writerly friends, friends I’d met through friends, at work, or in workshops and classes who became more than just the people beside me in class and transitioned into the ones who occupied the barstool beside mine. Mostly we liked appetizers and wine. Bars offered equal parts chatting and watching, and the next day, there could be emails with attachments and questions about flow. What I love most of my writerly friends is the way they watch the world. There is a bond between us when we realize we’re thinking the same thing. It’s also a relief to be able to spend almost an entire night brainstorming. You cannot monopolize a conversation, speaking only of your latest short story, novel, or memoir with certain people. I have friends, friends who by their own admission, who couldn’t write if you paid them, yet one of their greatest joys is to be a part of the creative process, to hear all the ideas, to spend an entire night mapping out plots or sculpting characters. So it’s not that the friends need to be writers, they just have to be the type that can tell you no. No, that idea isn’t all that original. No, it’s been done before. Sure, if you’re going for the whole cliche expected route. I need more of these friends, friends who know techniques and traps. Who can tell me when I’m relying too heavily on description because something else must be lacking. Friends who can line edit. Friends who want to spend the night talking about ideas. I think every writer needs these friends. It’s why so many writers are married couples, why the philosophers band together, why the writers of the past met at round tables in hotels. I’m on the watch for some.