Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why I Love The Nightlife

Without a doubt, one of the best gifts that 2011 gave me came in meeting Alicia Bridges. Alicia is the lady who scored one of the biggest hits of the disco era with her anthem "I Love The Nightlife (Disco Round.)" A true powerhouse, Alicia is still going strong and she is thrilling audiences like never before with her musical prowess and her irresistible personality. This is a lady who sets an example like few others.

I didn't have many friends when I was a kid. I was sort of lonely, I guess you could say. I never felt that I really "fit in" with other kids my age. Music, TV, and movies, those were my best friends. For a boy born in the mid-sixties, I was hardly in a category to myself; I just didn't know it then. So I listened to my records and watched all my favorite actors and dreamed about being like them when I grew up. I knew I couldn't sing, and I sure as hell have never been able to dance, but thanks to the people I watched and listened to, I have always been able to GET DOWN. And if I live to be 120, I hope I'm still rocking out.

"I Love The Nightlife" has always been one of my favorite songs. I can't tell you how many thousands of times I've probably played this song. I learned how to disco dance to this record. While Alicia Bridges was singing about "please don't talk about love tonight," I was practicing the moves I saw on shows like American Bandstand and Soul Train. (This was in the pre- Solid Gold years.) And soon I was likely the only kid in the seventh grade at Valley Point Middle School who could do The Hustle with any real skill at all. It may not seem like a big achievement in the grand scheme of things, but believe me it was a big one for a kid like I was then.

Fast forward to 2011. I logged onto the internet one day and through the miracle of Facebook I got to "meet" Alicia Bridges. We struck up an immediate rapport. I always knew she was special and so I wasn't surprised that she was a warm person like I always imagined her to be. Alicia goes on her page and she posts videos for all her fans of the songs that she loves. She has an enviable following who absolutely adore her. Myself included.

The last decade has been one of the most important in my life. I have come full circle in the past ten years and I began making some of my own dreams come true in this span of time. Losing my grandmother was a big blow to me in 2003 but if I hadn't lost her I don't think I would have set out on the course of becoming a professional writer. I always loved to read as much as I loved other media and I knew that I could write from a young age. When I was a teenager, the Creative Arts Guild in my community hosted an annual writing contest and one year I won first prize. So I knew I had the talent; I just didn't have the opportunity.

After Granny died, I turned to the internet to fill the void in my life that her loss created. My family has always been there for me but they all had their own busy lives, and the friends I have did as well, so I let myself get involved in writer's groups where I met some really talented people who egged me on to start making my dreams into realities. They shared their knowledge, their agents, their publishers, and soon I felt strong enough to plot my own evolution into this field. I never dreamed that I'd be welcomed into this fold so warmly. The journey has been very nice because I have had such wonderful people to help me find my way.

Susaye Greene was among the first who really encouraged me to get out there and let people read my work. A true legend, Susaye has worked with such titans as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. She also holds the honor being one of the legendary Supremes. Susaye's warmth, friendship, honesty, and unfaltering drive she openly shared with me, and through them she pushed me out of my shell. She is someone I consider a big part of my decision to take my writing into the public forum. Without Susaye, I might not be here today.

It's not that I ever thought I wasn't good enough to make it as a writer. I just never thought I'd have the chance. I always looked to my idols and my inspirations for the drive I needed whenever I felt like giving up, but the belief in myself was always there. I just needed the time to grow into the knowledge that the paths were opening up for me and it was my turn to get started, or spend the rest of my life wishing I had. Regret isn't a frame of mind I'm comfortable with either.

Looking to my past, I had to recognize and give credit where it was due. The stars who'd shown me that anything is possible are always there, beckoning me on with their shining examples, and I had the courage to follow their leads. Alicia Bridges, Susaye Greene, and countless others showed me the way because they'd paved the roads themselves long before I set out on them. I had to go through the loneliness that losing my grandmother created for me in order to find myself in the aftermath. I was always with Granny and being on my own after she died was a real wake up call for a boy who didn't know what to do anymore. Fortunately, I had people to help me along. I also had the fortitude to get started.

April 12, 2000. I went to Atlanta to see Tina Turner in concert at Phillips Arena. I remember sitting there, seventh row center, and watching her strut her stuff. That talent, that drive, that energy, those legs, I looked up at her and thought: "I want some of that!"

So you see now why I love the nightlife. The dreams and the passions of all those who showed me that you really can be anything you want still resonate within me whenever I don't feel strong enough to set out on a new quest. Through people like Alicia, Susaye, Tina, and countless others, I find the motivation to get myself started and stay the course.

I cannot thank them enough!

Happy 2012! Be whatever you want! Live your best life!