I’ve know my best friend for over eleven years now. We met at a children’s daycare in West Valley, which is somewhat strange since my youngest kiddo at the time was fifteen. I was more interested in getting to know her sister and didn’t notice her at first. But fate, kismet, or just dumb luck stepped in and pushed us together, and I thank my lucky stars every day.
We’re alike in many ways. Both blond. Both need to lose weight. Both have bones that creak and pop now, especially in the morning. We both like Dairy Queen way too much, and we both do volunteer work.
We are there for each other in good times and bad. When she was bitten by a water moccasin, I took her to the doctor and spent a week caring for her swollen leg. She was by my side as I suffered through a strep throat, bronchitis, and sinus infection (all at the same time) and when I recuperated from an auto accident that left me with a broken ankle.
I spend more time with her than I do any family member or friend. A few years ago, I received an invitation to apply for a writing job that would require moving to Washington D.C. for a year. My husband was working in Texas, my son was away at college, and my daughter had married and moved to the Bozeman area. They all urged me to take the job. I agreed and started looking at apartments near where I’d be working. When I discovered my best friend would not be able to go with me, I nixed the move. I’d move without my husband or kids, but I wasn’t going anywhere without my best friend.
My best friend’s name is Jasmine, but I call her Jazzie. She is a beautiful, devoted, golden retriever who has for over eleven years delighted, protected, and inspired me. Most of all, she has given me her unconditional loyalty and love. What more could you ask for in a best friend?
Thanks for stopping by ——
Friendship is the theme for this month’s blog if we want to stick to it. I thought well I’ll see what I can come up with in the forms of friendships I have bonded to through the years. Two of my best friends are both retired school teachers who play scrabble with me on line. They allow me to win once in awhile. It’s kinda a love/hate relationship, depending who is ahead.
Another group of friends are my critique partners. That too is compromised by how much red ink splotches my manuscript pages. However, what would I do without them. A true friend is one who suffers with you and reading my rough drafts are painful.
My life is complete with my golfing buddies. We have such fun, however that too depends on who wins the quarters. Here we are sharing a drink of Fountain of Youth water I brought back from a trip to Florida. We are so much younger after the swallow.
Then there is first friendship. This is my great grandson and his first true friend.
Protect your friendships with laughter and love.
by Karen Wills
On a decade-delayed honeymoon, my husband and I took a road trip. Part of our trip included visiting the homes of two writers who had extraordinarily supportive partners. This was appropriate as Jerry and I met at a writers critique group. He has ever been supportive of my writing, especially when I need to talk through plot issues. (Not to mention he built me a writing cabin.)
The partnership I’ll write of today was that of Jack London and his second wife Charmian. Charmian, an adventurous, progressive woman with a ready laugh, captivated Jack London, an advocate of women’s equality. He referred to her as his “Mate Woman.” Although some friends criticized her as too plain, she suited him. She proved a good companion on their South Sea voyages, and a help to his writing. He had already become famous as the author of Call of the Wild when they met. She typed manuscripts and business letters, and, as an accomplished pianist played Chopin and Lizst to accompany London’s writing hours.
On the edge of the Sonoma Valley in California’s wine country is what is now Jack London State Park. There, the Londons once set out to build what Jack called “my dream house on my dream ranch.” He thought that barring an act of God it would last 1000 years. Instead, the Romanesque mansion of stone and redwood burned one month before the London’s were to move in. He died shortly thereafter at age 40. Charmian built a more modest home on the ranch that also served as a museum for artifacts of their travels and London’s life and writing career. She never remarried. Their partnership was a short union of soul mates. After her death, her ashes were buried next to his, the only marker a red stone from the beautiful ruins that rises among the old madrone trees in one of the most peaceful settings one could imagine.
Writers who have supportive partners are truly blessed.
By Ann Minnett
Most people understand that accountability keeps us on track toward our goals, but it can be tricky. Accountability is effective when worked in small bites toward larger goals. Writing is no exception.
Critique groups (I participate in two) keep me accountable for writing quality and volume. Week by week, my critique buddies make me finish what I start. There’s nothing like a deadline (i.e., critique meeting) to make me produce written pages. Of course, agent and editor deadlines also work wonders. The problem? Sometimes our writing goals loom like immense boulders, too overwhelming to address. For example: I will write a novel by the end of the year vs I will write the first scene of my novel by Saturday.
That’s where accountability partners can help, and lucky me, in keeping with the Mother’s Day theme of this month, my accountability partner is my daughter. She lives on the east coast and for the past three months has experienced change in both her personal and professional lives. She’s a planner, so back in January she asked if I would be her accountability partner through her transitions. Of course!
Every Friday we review our individual goals for the week, progress made, and what we propose for the upcoming week. We support one another and make suggestions when one of is stuck. My goals originally focused on finishing the first draft of my third novel (done!), but recent goals have included making time for meditation and increased exercise. Her goals at first emphasized a comprehensive job search but soon included carving out downtime each day.
I encourage you to find another person who will keep you accountable in whatever you chose to do.
By Kathy Dunnehoff
With my girls, Grace & Ava!
Happy Mother’s day to all the women who have cared for and about others. I feel confident that’s all of us!
We may not have all held a crying baby all night, but we’ve still mothered plenty. We’ve hugged and held hands, gotten after and gotten silly with the people we love. We’ve said, “I understand.” Or “I don’t understand, but I want to.” And when completely necessary, “Knock that off right now!”
I hope too that we’ve let others mother us on occasion. I hope that we’ve cried and complained to someone who takes our side no matter what and later is honest enough to tell us we have the power to change what needs changing.
I hope that we all have someone in our lives who won’t let us get away with being too hard on ourselves or saying, “I’m fine” when we’re not, or settling for less than we deserve.
This Mother’s Day may we keep on sharing our unique gifts with others and also happily accept a few in return.
P.S. If you’re in the Flathead Valley, join me on Wednesday May 13th at 6:00 at the Lakeside Library for a talk on “Agents, Editors, and Amazon… Oh, My!”