“Some people, though related by blood, are as sworn enemies. Others, bound only by friendship, would die for one another.”
~ Beem Weeks
Author, Beem Weeks writes short stories and novels and is an ‘Indie’ – an independent, self-published writer. He serves close to 400 members of the international literary community, Rave Reviews Book Club, as a member of the Governing Board. Most importantly, he is a deep thinker and generous to a fault. His published works include Jazz Baby and Slivers of Life.
This quote by Weeks, speaks of two kinds of family: those related by blood, and those bonded by friendship. When I was a kid growing up, I don’t recall people referring to close friends as family. I do recollect the words ‘brother,’ and ‘sister’ used to describe a best friend. Today, it is very common to have people who belong to close-knit groups or associations refer to themselves as ‘family.’ What do we mean when we use the word family?
We are all aware that the family unit in western countries has transformed enormously over the last fifty years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family pictured above is the traditional model of mother, father, and children. Today we have single-parent families, families with same-sex spouses, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and blended families where divorced parents remarry and begin new families in combination with their existing children from the previous marriage. Although the family has diversified into several models, it is still characterized by blood relationships for the most part.
I am saddened to know that there are so many dysfunctional families today. This fact is at the root of Weeks’ opening statement, “Some people, though related by blood, are as sworn enemies.” How many people regularly stay in touch with their siblings and their families? How many of those that do, are close friends as well? There are many reasons why dysfunction exists among families today, but this fact underlies the reason why people become emotionally attached to groups with whom they share important things.
Author, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, put it beautifully when she spoke about Rave Reviews Book Club,
“It is a different kind of family built on something even more solid. Here we are not bonded by blood, but by a similar spirit, the spirit of the word. This is why it is a stronger bond than the blood bond. Blood is so pedantic, so earthly, and so material. While the spirit is so liberating and almost everlasting.”
I have belonged to this club for over two years, and the fascinating thing is that we consider ourselves as a virtual family. We have not met in person, and all of our sharing and interactions take place online. As Lo-Bamijoko put it, we are bonded by a spirit, and since we are a literary community, it is the spirit of the word. As I read her words, they spoke to my heart, and I recognized them as my truth also.
Rave Reviews Book Club, the brainchild of Author, Nonnie Jules, is a body of people – mostly authors – who do not operate as rivals. We have embraced the philosophy of our foundress that all celebrate the success of one and that all band together in solidarity to support the one. This solidarity is the spirit of the word spoken about earlier. Because we promote the work of others, we liberate ourselves from the shackles of selfishness and jealousy at the success of another.
Weeks asserts that there are times when friends would die for one another. His words emphasize the fact that in a family bonded by an indomitable spirit, loyalty plays a prominent part. Even if few of us ever make it to great success in fame or fortune, we are all wealthier for the bond of this international literary family that we lovingly call Rave Reviews Book Club!