by Jean Roberta
Meet the Frog family, originally from Small Pond. The oldest daughter, Felicia Frog-Toad, writes romance novellas, all set in her home town, and recipe books of local cuisine. Her watercolour paintings of local landmarks have been reproduced as postcards that are popular with tourists. Felicia is married to the Mayor, Samuel Taylor Toad. Everyone she knows considers her a great success.
Felicia's younger brother, Frank Frog, better-known as Freaky, wrote his first novel (a horror story based on a nightmare about a bird of prey) when he was in high school. His parents took him to a youth psychiatrist who encouraged him to stop writing and take up football as a healthy way to get rid of stress. Frank moved to a bigger city to go to university. Since then, he has written fifteen horror novels, ten of which were turned into blockbuster movies. He has fans in Small Pond, but his parents and some of his siblings still worry about him.
A younger sister, Flow Frog, also moved away right after graduating from high school. She writes erotic novels, for which she has won several awards. Other erotic writers admire her, and she gets respectful reviews. Luckily, she has a day job and a supportive partner. No one else in the Frog family ever mentions her, except to wonder why she continues to embarrass them.
Another sister, Frances Frog, is better-known by her by-line, Fact-Checker. She is an international journalist who has been imprisoned in several countries around the world. So far, her political connections have enabled her to get out. She has written five books about the decline of democracy, the global economy, and damage to the natural world. Her book about disappearing species, Are We Next? was on the non-fiction bestseller list for weeks. Her parents and several of her siblings wish she would find a nice guy, get married, and settle down.
The youngest Frog brother, Philip Frog, writes novels that capture the current zeitgeist. His latest mystery, about an apparent lone-wolf psychopath who shoots random strangers in a shopping mall, and is found to be the pawn of an international conspiracy, sold a zillion copies and is being turned into a movie. He lives in a mansion with his socialite wife, niece of the current head of government. Few of Philip's relatives have read his books, but most of them are proud of him. His parents think his wholesome upbringing in Small Pond helped build his character, which led to his success.
Each of these Frogs could be considered successful in a different way, but most of them are no longer on speaking terms with the rest.
As everyone else here has said, success is relative and subjective. And in some cases, you need to seek out a milieu in which your version of success won't get you locked up.