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My Name Is…What?

Cuzin ItNicknames are commonplace in our society. Ask Dawn and she’ll tell you I’m fairly adept at giving nicknames. The thing about them is they are usually given to people you know well. Unless you’re using a nickname to refer to someone without using their name to either protect their identity or to make fun of them. I once gave a kid I worked with the nickname B-Rock to prevent the rest of the kids from creating a more unfortunate one. Some names just beg for those nicknames used for teasing/bullying and I decided preemption was better than trying to put out fires.

One of my friends calls me Cuzin It because back in my super long hair days, I rocked a great impersonation of The Addams Family character. Dawn calls me Stump, a nickname from The North And The South. If you know the book or the mini-series, you’ll know Dawn’s nickname. Then there is Hunter. A nickname given to me by the guys I worked with at the YMCA back home. It involved a game we were playing at Leadership Camp and the fact that I almost took a group of them out after taking on a low-shoulder stance (thank you college football player buddies). That’s called a well-earned nickname. Doug and I have multiple nicknames for each other because they evolve like our friendship.

It’s a common misconception that because I go by Debi, my given name is Deborah/Debra/Debora. I’ve had to pull my license out more than once to prove that my parents really named me Debi. Shortening a name or adding –y/-ie/-i at the end is a practice of giving someone a nickname connoting familiarity between people much like the given names versus familiar names in Russia: Misha for Mikael, Natasha for Natalya, Sasha for Sergei, etc. In that vein, Deb would be a familiar name.

If you don’t know me, just met me, or barely speak to me, don’t call me Deb. Deb is for the friends who have earned the right to call me that by taking the time to get to know me and who reciprocate socially. A lot of times when making friends on Twitter, people gush friendliness in the blink of an eye and not even a minute later, someone thinks you’re their new bestie. Meanwhile you’re thinking: “I just met you. We have no basis for any type of nickname formation when I know NOTHING about you and vice versa.” Or if you’re more like me: “CENSOREDDELETEDREDACTED”

Social media is a great place to make friends. I have a tribe thanks to Twitter, but it takes more than one tweet to form a solid friendship. Great nicknames tell a story, have depth, and/or convey relationships. They shouldn’t be a shortening of names because you can’t be bothered to speak (or type) the whole name or think name mashing is the greatest thing to delivery pizza in thirty minutes or less.

My loved ones earned the right to call me Deb. Complete strangers and acquaintances…Houston, we have a problem.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Friends And A Tribe

Cincinnati1I started this post two months ago then after the death of my aunt, traveling to help clean out her condo, and all the life-ing going on I set it aside.  With everyone’s videos and blog posts this week, I decided it was a perfect time to dust it off and finish it.

Whoever said real relationships can’t be formed online was dead wrong.

I met Katie first through a mutual friend over two years ago. You can call her my Twitter BFF. She makes me laugh at every turn and through collaborating with her, I learned a new skill, but I’ll let her keep writing the RomComs. She’s the master, I am but the student. Finally meeting her in August was THE BEST THING EVER. Next was Bianca. We bonded through our mutual love of General Hospital and you can usually find me tweeting with her and Katie about it. Her books about the dark side of love give me a thrill like no other. Two words: page turners. Then I met Kennedy and Stephanie and hilarity ensued. There’s also Callie, Peter, Stuart, Ian, and Wiz.

Then, I gained a tribe. A tribe of writers of different genres who support each other through humor, compassion, and encouragement. Emery and I would tweet with each other here and there. Then one day, he included me in a #FF. Soon after, Sonya tweeted me that she was following me because Emery said so. It was a gregarious move and I loved it. Before I knew it, I belonged to a tribe that welcomed me with open arms. Matt, Jennie, Adam, Olivia, Niko, Sarah, Doug, Shay, Jason, Angelina, and Hayley. I joked the other day that Sonya is the gateway drug, but it’s true. She brings so many people together.

Up until I met my tribe, I never really fit in with one group. Kind of like high school when I would wander away from my fellow band geeks and drift from clique to clique. I am fortunate to have stumbled into this group. Everyone possesses their own talents and while writing is a shared talent, what binds us is deeper. I like to think it’s our letting go of our egos and being ourselves with each other, being honest in the moment about how we are doing and feeling. If you ever want to see edification in action, watch my tribe when someone has a bad day or just received bad news. It’s simply amazing.

Every member possesses their own talents. We aren’t a group of sameness. We’re a tribe of diversity, each with their own voice that we celebrate. That’s where I fit. Where we are all different, write different things, and really don’t care that we aren’t uniform. The conformity within the group isn’t conformity at all, but unity in being. Or, as Olivia says, our real connections.

The same can be said for the friends mentioned before the tribe. The difference is the social network of the tribe (HELLO! SOCIAL NETWORK) providing an interconnected support system. Rather than a small safety net here or there, I have this GIANT net to fall into when I need them.

From that enormous net, I formed a friendship with Doug. The tweets increased, the sharing grew, and the laughter has not ended. He’s my other best friend, my awesome twin, and the male version of me. Meeting him last month on my road trip home from my aunt’s was THE OTHER BEST THING EVER.

I don’t need anything for Christmas this year because, as far as I’m concerned, I have it all.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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An Unexpected Friendship

Twitter BFFs

Twitter BFFs

Over two years ago, Shirley Braden of gluten-free easily tweeted a link to me and a friend of hers, Katie Oliver. It was a manifesto by another writer (Thank you for reminding us, Shirley!). Who knew we would be sitting with each other in Shirley’s dining room two years later?

I checked out Katie’s blog and the first post I read, The Little Blue Box had me in stitches. I can’t remember laughing so hard at a blog post like I did with that one. Katie writes Romantic Comedy. My experience with reading RomCom was limited to Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding and Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

We planned to meet in real life last year when I went to Shirley’s for a retreat with friends. But as real life happens, it will get in the way of what we want for a time. I knew there would be another chance for us to meet.

In the meantime, we did a crossover post: Just Desserts. We placed her characters from The Little Blue Box with my characters J.D. & Ari. Because I write general fiction, I’m more accustomed to witty banter than placing characters into comedic situations. I am now able to think about different scenarios and how they can be turned into bits of comedy. When she sent me what would be the final major draft, before we made some minor tweaks, I almost fell off my chair from uproarious laughter.

Katie’s first three books were published earlier this year: Prada & Prejudice, Love & Liability, and Mansfield Lark. As expected, I laughed hard and tweeted harder. She created wonderful characters that you want to crawl into the book to spend time with them. Even the minor characters. But not the psychos. I recommend staying away from them. They ooze crazy, yo.

When Shirley set the date for this year’s retreat, I told Katie she had to join us even if it meant me driving up to get her myself. She’s the one Twitter friend I make sure to talk to almost daily, even if it’s small talk, and I wanted to give her hugs in person instead of *hugs* on Twitter.

And so we met.

After the initial oh-my-gosh-we’re-sitting-next-to-each-other shock wore off, it was like it always is on Twitter – full of laughter. We commented more than once on how much fun it was without wine involved. Okay, maybe it was how insane we were and we still hadn’t opened the wine. We fleshed out a collaboration we’ve been talking about for months and had to keep getting ourselves back on track, because in person, conversations easily go off on tangents. We’d end a fit of giggles with, “Okay, what are they doing?” or “Where are they going?” or “Why are they doing this?” then snicker about something else two minutes later.

The fun and laughs aside, Katie is a supportive and encouraging friend and I am thankful for Shirley introducing us.

I can’t wait to do it again, unless Katie gets us in trouble with her midday shenanigans first.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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