Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Deep Thought that Came from Chocolate Martinis, Bean Dip, & Friendships





I researched weird and wacky New Year’s resolutions to blog about a few weeks ago. I found some real winners, too. Not that I needed a lot of material, I have hubby’s resolution that are strange enough. But a friend of mine wrote a short blog and about something we did, and I decided to ride on her coattails. So . . . you’ll have to wait until next week to hear about the man whose New Year Resolution was to be able to burp a song (And, no, I swear he’s not a relative.) Instead, I’m gonna tell you about chocolate martinis, bean dip, and friendships.

You may be thinking that chocolate martinis and bean dip don’t go together, for that matter you may not think bean dip and friends go together, and you may have a point in both instances. However, if you really looked at the four of us, downing the martinis and devouring the dip, and the one long distance friend whom we called and talked to while we ate and drank, you may have to stop and wonder if we go together. We’re not what you’d call a matched set.

There's Jody, born a army brat, turned into the colonel’s wife who has lived all over the world. Now she’s a competitive horse rider who owns and rents out stables. She probably has 15 years of life experience on us, but looks better in her jeans than any of us. Believe me, it pisses us off, too.

There’s Suzan, born in a small town in Ohio, who until the last few years practiced law. Now she homes schools and works at the mall. Her vast knowledge of all things legal is to be admired, but the reminders of “that would be illegal” can be viewed as a kill joy, though it has probably saved us all from embarrassment.

Teri is the only true Texan among us. She’s a laid-off technical writer married to a plumber/septic tank guy/entertainer. Oddly enough, Teri is the quietest and by outward appearances the sanest one of all of us. But don’t let that fool you, she’s as crazy as the rest of us.

There’s Faye—the long distant member—a Mississippian who took a wrong turn—okay, she followed a fat bald man there, but doesn’t like to talk about her ex—and ended up in up State of New York where she calls the snow names even I can’t write in my blog. She actually works for the State of New York, teaching others how to work on different computer programs.

Then there’s me—a short, blonde, ‘Bama girl living in Texas who can talk two and half languages, who is an ex-waitress and interpreter and who comes from a long line of gamblers, moonshiners, and an occasional murderer.

So what bonds us five girls? What brings us together? How in the hell did we end up at my house drunk on Chocolate Martinis and downing gas-inducing bean dip? What is that saying? Those of a feather, flock together. Yet from outward appearances we are not of the same feather. We’re as different as night and day. Okay, so you might have guessed that the thing that bonds us is the little thing I didn’t mention. We’re all writers. We all make up shit, put it down on paper, and get paid for doing it. (Believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds.) Now, Teri, Faye and I are published in novels, but Jody and Suzan have broken into the freelance market and are working on their novels in the meantime. And yes, the writing is how we all found each other. But I have to tell you, it’s not just the writing that links us.

It’s not even the fact that we all have a few screws loose. (Yes, Teri, I mean you, too.) It’s not the fact that we have characters in our head who talk to us and sometimes we prefer their company over real people. It’s not that we all give up precious time to read and critique each other’s work. (However, it was the fact that they all gave up precious time over the holidays to read my book due on Jan. 5th that initiated the party. I love you guys!)

What I think bonds us are the things we have in common. Our willingness to dream big. Our willingness to be kicked, thrown, and run over by a horse and to get up only to go find the horse and ask, “Can we try that one more time?” (Yes, Jody, that line was especially about you.) Our pigheadedness to take rejection after rejection and never give up. Our willingness to admit we still make mistakes and are still learning. I think what bonds us, the feather that units us, is the inner strength that each of us possesses and recognizes in each other.

Yes, these are the traits needed to make it as a writer, but they are also the traits in any person who holds a dream and is determined to succeed. Sadly, it is the lack of these traits that often leads to a person’s failure. And what I think is sadder is that a lot of strong people fail due to the lack of having a Faye, Jody, Suzan and Teri in their life. I call them, as well as many others, my circle of influence. These are the people who not only support you in achieving your dreams—they are working on achieving their own dreams. They understand tenacity, grit, and hard work because they live it, too. They hold your hand when you fall, support your wins as their own, and inspire the best in you. They are the people you can drink too many chocolate martinis with while you eat bean dip because if you slip up, they might laugh at you—oh yes, they’ll laugh at you—they might even blog about it, but they still love you.

Don’t underestimate peer pressure. As parents, we fret over this in our children, but we forget that as adults we are still prone to it. Negativity is one of the easiest bugs to catch when you are around someone who has it. But hang around goal-oriented people, go-getters and you might find yourself following along the same path.

So here’s to chocolate martinis, bean dip, and positive, wonderful friends.

And what I’d like to hear from you is: Who is in your own circle of influence? Are you surrounding yourself with positive people? Come on, let’s share a little.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Positive, goal oriented people? Who better than you, Christie? You, Kerry, Colleen, my crit group: Diane, Stacey, Laurie and Ann. And let me not forget the people who were laid off with me and verbally kicked my a.. after I got out of the hospital. You guys are the cream in my coffee. Hugs to all of you.
Sheila/Raven

Christie Craig said...

Hi Sheila,

I'm honored to be the considered the creme! Go knock 'em dead.

CC

jbrayweber said...

My crit partners & blog co-hosts, Caj, Sup & Rounder, have been a spine to me from the very beginning. I have never met any of them in person, but consider them close friends.

Then I have Stacey, Missy and Will - my local support team and cheering section.

And I could never forget the encouragement and support from my friends like you Christie, as well as in my local RWA chapter.

A strong, supportive, symbiotic relationship with fellow writers is a large part of perseverance.

Great blog, CC!

Edie Ramer said...

I can't wait to meet you in person! And not just because we're both short. I'm definitely pigheaded and not a quitter.

My CP, Michelle Diener, recently sold 2 historicals to Pocket, and she said I helped keep her going. Even though she lives in Australia and previously South Africa, she does that for me too. I could name so many other writers who give me positive energy. Their support is huge.

Christie Craig said...

Jenn,

((A strong, supportive, symbiotic relationship with fellow writers is a large part of perseverance.))

That is so true. Just being around someone who is actively seeking their goals is empowering.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Edie,

I can't wait to meet you, too! And it's not a surprise when you start hearing about whole critique groups selling. Because they have grown and supported each other.

Congrats to your critique partner and your time is right around the corning.

CC

Kimberly Frost said...

Christie,

I loved this post! Thanks for sharing it. :)


Raising a metaphorical glass to friendship,
Kimber

Suzan Harden said...

Yeah, we're also good for ripping off ideas when we need blog material. LOL

I think next get together we make Coney Island Lemonade.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Edie, I swear you just described me...LOL Short (under 5'), pigheaded, and certainly not a quitter.

Christie, my support system is my amazing CP, Stacey Joy Netzel, and our good friend Jamie Kersten. And all three of us will be heading to Nashville in July, so hopefully we'll finally get to meet in person.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Oh, and I forgot to say, chocolate martinis & bean dip sounds delicious to me...LOL

Christie Craig said...

Kimber,

Thanks. I raise my glass with you. Chocolate martinis all around.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Suzan,

Yup! Confession time. Suzan blogged about our Chocolate Martinis first. http://www.wildwickedwacky.blogspot.com/

Hmm? Coney Island Lemonade? Are they as good as the Chocolate Martinis?

Guys, those things were sooo good. You got a chocolate rush with the warmth that took over your body.

CC

CC

Christie Craig said...

Donna,

We need to start a short, pigheaded club. LOL.

Ohhh, I'm tickled you are coming to Nationals. I'll be there with bells on. Let's make sure we all connect. Maybe we can all go out and have a chocolate martini. Though, I do worry that they won't be as good as Suzan's.

CC

Faye Hughes said...

Great blog, girl. And I love you, too!

Oh, and Suzan, are Coney Island Lemonades anything like Long Island Iced Teas? lol.

Suzan Harden said...

LOL Nothing has the kick of a Long Island Iced Tea except for my grandpa's moonshine. Hairy Buffalo, anyone?

Christie Craig said...

Hi Faye,

Thanks for stopping in again. I don't know a lot about drinks, but I do know about Long Island Teas. They are deadly.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Suzan,

So your grandpa make the moonshine, too? I knew I felt a bond with you. LOL.

CC

EmilyBryan said...

Great post, Christie! And it's so true. We can blame a lot on our parents, but once we're adults, we're a product of the books we read and the people we surround ourselves with.

Being in the company of positive, upbeat people is sooo important. I visited a writers group once where the only message was how hard it was to get published/finish the manuscript/find an agent/etc., etc, etc and they didn't want to hear anything different!Believe me, I ran away from that group and never looked back.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Emily!

Have you ever noticed how when one writer finally sells, there might be several in the same critique group who make it, too. I think it's the positive energy.

CC

Teri Thackston said...

Positive spirits and chocolate martinis...what a combination that was. Speaking as the, ahem, sane member of the group, I agree with everything Christie said. Having the support of good friends is so important.

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