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.