Today, I’m filling in for Loralee here at the Back Fence. Instead of my flat Midwestern syllables, pretend you’re listening to her lively Texas drawl. I’ll even throw in a couple them there y’alls to make you feel right to home.
I don’t go to the movies very often any more now that I have a big screen and Netflix. There’s the astronomical cost and inconvenience of traveling to the theater, the fact that you can’t put the picture on hold to run to the bathroom or to get a refill on your drink, the seat kicker behind you, the whisper and gigglers next to you, the person constantly edging by in front of you right at the good parts. On the other hand, there’s the popcorn.
It takes an Event to make me fork over $20+ to go to the movies: a big action picture that requires the heart-pounding explosive quality of the surround sound or a really hunky hero I can’t wait the extra few months for the transition to DVD to see (okay, Clive Owen, Gerry Butler, Christian Bale or Robert Downey Jr!). Otherwise, the minute the lights go down, I lean back in those comfy seats, finish said popcorn . . . and fall asleep. That’s an expensive nap! So, it was with reluctance that I agreed to go to see The Three Musketeers remake. It was in 3D, which I find distracting and more than a little irritating, and Rotten Tomato reviews found it, well, rotten. But it had Ray Stevenson (who along with Jeremy Renner, is moving up on my Gotta See Twenty Feet Tall list) AND my son was paying! After shelling out $14 for snacks, I settled back in my seat preparing to get some shut eye and the unexpected happened. I was thoroughly entertained.
I’d fallen in love with the Michael York/Oliver Reed version of the movie when a teen and this update had the same tongue-in-cheek romp quality. It was all about the larger-than-life swashbuckling and the 3D was awesome (as was Ray Stevenson with sword and doublet buckling that swash!). But what I adored about the film was the underlying message driven home in the last few minutes of the reel with the sentiments “I don’t believe in king or country. I believe in us” followed by the obligatory “All for one, and one for all!”
All for one, and one for all. That struck a chord with me, particularly after the past month, and it has everything to do with why I’m writing this post. I belong to a fabulous critique group. Loralee is one of its eight members. I’m not a joiner by nature and I’d rather have teeth pulled than share my work with others. It was so out of character for me to ask admittance to the inner circle of this already formed group back in the early ‘90s. It wasn’t because I wanted someone to critique my stuff. It was because writing is a solitary and often lonely business, and I wanted to feel the sense of camaraderie I’d noticed between its members. I was lucky number five to join, and three more were carefully vetted in after that. I wasn’t sure what I expect to get from the group. Like-minded people with similar goals, I thought. But what started as a gathering of writing colleagues evolved over the years into something more akin to a tight sisterhood of dear friends. Musketeers.
The eight of us are nothing alike. We write in different genres, come from vastly different backgrounds, and have careers that span educators, retiree, account exec, stay-at-home mom, business owner, and legal assistant. We’re single, married, divorced, have families young and multi-generational. We’re published (and publishers!) or are working to become so. We don’t always agree, we don’t love everything the other writes. But what we all have in common surpasses those differences. What we share is creative passion and the fierce certainty of having each other’s backs.
One for all, and all for one.
When I was asked if I’d be the guest hostess on Loralee’s blog (two days ago!), I’d just spent a twenty-five hour weekend, aside from my forty hour work week, building a virtual Haunted Open House, had written four guest blogs, not including my own two posts, was outlining a new non-fiction chapter, attending an after work professional meeting, updating my website, worrying about upcoming contract negotiations and family issues, and generally running on empty to the Nth degree. So I immediately said, Sure, no problem. Because it’s Loralee. I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else (or maybe for any of six others). Having Loralee’s back trumped everything else on my overflowing platter. The same way she and my other PoTL pals have always had mine. Need a shoulder to cry on, got it. Want to rant and rave without being judged, covered. Can you put together a wallpaper with all my books on it…in the next few hours? Done. Would you take half a wining vacation day editing 100 pages of another’s manuscript? Sure. Send good vibes support to combat a bad situation? In a heartbeat. Give an honest opinion without hurting feelings? Yes, we can!
Life throws a lot of stuff at you, some good, some AWESOME, and some seriously crappy. Your Musketeer buddies are the ones who stand with you through all of them. Over the past two decades (!) we’ve shared triumphs and losses, disappointments and heartbreak, fears and failings with one unshakable constant—each other. And believe me, that makes all the difference in the world, y’all (see, I said it!). That bad stuff is easier to handle when not handled alone. And the good stuff just feels that much better.
Who’s got your back?
Remember to thank them. Tell them how important they are to you. Don’t let miles or egos or busyness or differences get in the way. Because at the end of the reel, it’s “One for all, and all for one!”
And now that I’ve got Loralee all teary eyed, my job here is done.
Thanks for joining me at the Back Fence. Loralee will be back next Tuesday with what I suspect will be good news (actually I know it will be, because I was one of the first seven she told!)
Have a Happy Halloween, and if you want to join me for some fun, check out the aforementioned Haunted Open House for ghoulies, goodies, giveaways.
Loralee and PoTL pals . . . I’ve got your backs.