by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68

I really, really want to dance in a fountain with my girls. Y’all know what I’m talking about: The opening credits to that wonderful, iconic TV show FRIENDS. Three guys, three girls. Dancing, playing, having fun.

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Dance in the Fountain

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Dance in the Fountain

Some weeks ago I was enjoying conversation with my Mississippi bestie, whom we’ll call SuperGirl, and my Georgia bestie, whom we’ll call Paige. Yes, that Paige, of Paige’s Plantation Part One.

In the course of conversation, guided heavily by our love for all things coincidental and identifiable, I happened to mention my current binging of FRIENDS on Netflix. In particular, after choosing to #EmbraceTheCrazy, I celebrate my affinity for Phoebe and her near-Bohemian/Gypsy character. Okay, maybe those aren’t exactly demonstrative of her character. But, you know. Whatever.

So, we haven’t known each other as long as, uhm, they have. You know, the original FRIENDS. But we do know each other as well, and that’s gotta count for something, right?

So here’s the fun part. This year at Blue Ridge is the first time we will all three be together. #truestory! SuperGirl and I met two years ago before Paige attended. Paige and I met last year when SuperGirl couldn’t attend. And this year, hello! The cosmos smiled and here we are. All three. Together. Smashing, isn’t it?!

It’s been a little unsettling for some of us who are the introverts of the group (I won’t say who, but, uhm, not me), who are nervous about meeting the other one they haven’t met. Oops. Did I just give it away? My bad.

So, anyway. In less than a week we’re hanging at Blue Ridge, learning to be better writers, and we even have our daily coffee hang out: Clouds! How perfect is this ~ our own version of Central Perk!

Frankly, My Dear . . . : FRIENDS and coffee.

Frankly, My Dear . . . : FRIENDS and coffee.

But back to the dancing thing, because this is about all of us, not just me. We also have a motto. Or is it a mantra? Whatever. It’s in three parts. Which is kinda neat, cuz there’s three of us. So, it’s Deal with it. Let it go. Dance it out. I bet you can’t guess which part is mine.

Oh, and you want to hear the best part? They totally identify with Monica and Rachel, too! SuperGirl thought she could hide it, but please. Everyone knows she’s a neat freak and loves to cook. She’s so obviously Monica. And Paige? Paige is the one getting ready for a major life move. She’s so Rachel. Could I be any more right?

And me? Well, I’m still Phoebe. In fact, I’m now Penny-Lily-Scarlett-Phoebe. I’m pretty sure you can figure out the Penny and Scarlett, but Lily will have to wait for another time.

Call me any of the above. I’ll answer. Just don’t call me Smelly Cat.

Frankly, My Dear . . . : New FRIENDS

Frankly, My Dear . . . : New FRIENDS

So, okay. Now it’s your turn: Which FRIENDS character are you most like?

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear . . . : FRIENDS.

With an intimate group and a great coffee hang out,
~Molly Jo

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!



Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

by Jacqueline Patterson @jacpatterson

Frankly, My Dear . . . Jacqueline Patterson's Key to Success

Frankly, My Dear . . . Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

“The more we work to help others,
the more we begin to enjoy the life we’re living.”

I raised my heavy-lidded gaze from the laptop screen and the quote on the coffee cup stared back at me. Like I really have time!

My eyes shifted to the blinking light on the phone, the sure indication that yet more messages were waiting for me.

I couldn’t take care of the rest of the world.

I turned my phone so I could no longer see the blinking light.

I had too much to do, too much to plan and consider and rewrite if I hoped to finish my book by my self-imposed deadline. After all, this was  my story,  my words, and that meant my work was most important, right?


And I wouldn’t let this distract me.

I turned back to my laptop, but my fingers were lead on the keyboard. I added a solitary word here, a phrase there, but my gaze continued to stray back to the quote.

“The more we work to help others . . .”

“No,” I said, and my voice was firm with resolve. “You will finish this story.” My friends would take care of themselves, the way they had a hundred times before. I would pray for them, then check up on them once I finished these edits. Surely things weren’t so severe they needed me right now.

I started at the half-empty page on the screen, and found myself rereading the words I had added since spotting the quote. Most were repetitions, rambling and distracted. How long had I been locked into this writing frenzy anyway? Days? Weeks? I couldn’t remember the last time I sought out contact with a friend other than with a quick writing question. I had simply burrowed away into my writing shell, where all that mattered was my story . . . and me.

As if friendship wasn’t even important.

But . . . Wasn’t it my duty to put my book first? After all, I was the one who went around reminding everyone they were the only ones who could write their story, and how would it look if I didn’t keep up my reputation for busyness? I shouldn’t step back from my writing. Even for an hour.

I had work to do.

I glanced between my laptop and my phone, my mind rebelling as I made my decision.

There would be time to work on my book later. I would always make time. There were no guarantees that all my friends would last until tomorrow.

The key to success was not to push myself forward, but to care for others. Even my writing was not for myself, as much as I wanted to hold to the comfort of that illusion. Why seek publication except to reach others?

It would be an empty journey without friendship. Without sharing dreams.

I closed my laptop and reached for my phone.

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear: Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success.

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson wrote her first book at the age of five: the tale of an assassin hen on the trail of a crafty fox. (OK, so the story wasn’t that epic, but the hen was mean.) That first story hooked her, and she hasn’t stopped since. She is currently editing Primate, the first book in her Forever in Time series, in the hope of publication . . . If she can ever convince herself that she’s found the perfect draft. Talk to Jacqueline about books, and she will be your friend forever. You can connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!