On Jay Leno’s final show, he and Billy Crystal reminisced about the time before they made it big. Jay said he’d finally gotten a slot to perform in a nationally broadcast event. Just as he was introduced, a special bulletin came on about the a hurricane. No one got to see his set.
Billy Crystal said his first big break came in an appearance on a “That Was the Week that Was.” His set was about the first commercial after the legalization of marijuana, a complete spoof because this was made many years ago when support for such a law didn’t exist. The night the show aired, he was watching at home and that skit never appeared. The network had decided they didn’t want to be associated with marijuana in any way and cut the piece.
I imagine each of us had a story about how our first break never happened. When I started writing, I wrote sweet Regencies. My first, The Mad Herringtons, was a Golden Heart finalist so was a fairly good book. But every publisher I submitted it to closed their Regency line about a week before I submitted. With one, I got two letters from one publishing company. The first offered a contract. The second withdrew it because the line had just closed.
All three of us kept going and finally made it–although Jay Leno and Billy Crystal at a slightly higher level than I. But, as Wayne Gretzky said, ”You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Do you have a story about how you kept trying or an inspirational story about someone else? I love to hear them.
Many years ago, during an obvious lapse in judgement which turned out to be lots of fun, I agreed to take a group of my high school Spanish students to Mexico. We all survived.
What I’ll never forget from that trip–made, of course, when I was much younger–was the art. Everywhere we went were murals with obvious political statements about the government and politics and history of Mexico painted on the walls and ceilings of many public buildings. The paintings transcended the political message in their artistry and beauty, the vibrancy of the colors, the glorious scope and vision of the muralists. I immediately became a huge aficionada of the work of them all, but most deeply of Diego Rivera.
For that reason, I was reading about his life in Wikipedia and came upon this wonderful story. It seems that Rivera was born one of a twin. His brother died when he was two. A year later, Diego began his career in art. ”He had been caught drawing on the walls. His parents, rather than punishing him, installed chalkboards and canvas on the walls.”
How cool is this? Most parents would probably have punished a three year old, at least discouraged him forcefully from drawing on the wall. Did he become a great muralist because he was allowed to draw on the walls? Or did his parents recognize his talent even when he was so young and encourage him? Or were they just the kind of parents we wish we all had and could be?
Do you have a story about how your parents or a friend or relative encouraged you? Or have you encouraged another person to fulfil a dream. I’d love to hear.
This has been a tough week for many reasons. As usual, I didn’t realize that Tuesday really was Tuesday, my normal blog date.
However, I am blogging at http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com and hope you’ll drop by.
When I was six years old, my best friend Linda and I enrolled in figuring skating lessons. We arrived at the rink for our first lesson, pulled on our new skates, tied the laces, and hit the ice. We went every Saturday morning for months and about every two weeks, Linda was promoted to higher class and I never left the beginners. I’d tried so hard. I followed instructions, I practiced, I pushed myself but never, never moved up to the next level. I had no idea why not, not until years later when my mother said she always felt terrible for me as I trudged around the ice–but not only on the sharp blades but also on my ankles. I had–and still have–very weak ankles that couldn’t support me on ice skates. I skated on two blades and the outsides of my skates. No way I was going to go up a class when I was “ankling” as much as I was “skating.”
I wish someone had explained it to me. I wish someone had told me the truth. I wish the instructor had said, ‘Monica Jane, this is probably not the sport for you.” Or that four-year-old who was quickly moved from beginners had said to me, “Why do you skate funny?” Or my mother had suggested I not return and given the reason. I imagine no one wanted to hurt my feelings, but, really, never improving didn’t hurt?
Do you have something you wish some had told you about? Please share. It makes me feel so much better.
The first time I had to accept the fact I was growing–oh, no!– older was when I realized I’d never represent my country in the Olympics. Not that I have any athletic skills that would have even allowed me to participate in a competition even at the lowest level, but the realization it would never happen hit hard. Well, not really. It was one of those moments that reminded me I was no longer eighteen. In honor of the upcoming Winter Olympics, I thought I’d discuss my brief career as a skier.
In high school, I went on a ski trip to Estes Park. We stayed in a cheap ski resort which didn’t have chair lifts. Instead, the lift was like a small garbage-can lid that one put between one’s legs and this–for many of the skier–towed one up to the top of the trail. Not for me. This was not friendly to a novice skier who’d had two hours of lessons, then was expected to, more or less, ski uphill. Every time–every single time–I lost control of the skis, unable to keep them straight in the ruts worn in the snow And every single time, I fell off the garbage-can lid half way up the hill with only one choice: to walk sideways in those skis I couldn’t control, across the snow and through the trees until I reached the trail. I’d ski down the trail and start the trek all over.
As frustrating as this was, my best friend had an even worse time. She stood at the lift station, put the garbage-can lid between her leg. When the lift pulled her, her skis flew into the air and she fell off on her head after about six inches. I can’t remember now if she ever got to the top of the hill.
Next week: how my bad ankles doomed my figure skating career.
In my efforts to get the taxes together–which I do not do well or happily but feel I’m not alone in that–and working on new writing projects, I’ve decided to write only one blog a week, my Tuesday blog.
I didn’t think I’d like blogging when I first started. The publicist at my publishing company requested I do that and I enjoy it During the time after George’s death when I didn’t feel a bit creative, writing, I found a short blog kept me writing. Also, I’ve been amazed at some of the topics I came upon and I really love it when someone comments.
Please keep up with me on Tuesdays!
I love petting Scooter, my gorgeous long-haired tuxedo cat. His fur feels like cashmere. But the greatest joy is that he purrs, loudly. He makes me believe–true or not–that I’m the most important being in his life. Then he leaps off my lap and scratches the furniture and bites his sister’s eaars. Nonetheless, when I’m petting him, I’m sure we’re communicating.
I wish all beings made a sound which allowed me to understand their thoughts. Oh, yes, I know many do and often loudly and crudely, but that’s not what I mean. For example:
I wish those I cook for made a sound like “yummy, yummy” every time they enjoyed that meal or treat. Of course, the echoing silence coming from them when chewing a dish they didn’t like might be a downside.
Wouldn’t it be great if a teenager made a positive sound when he/she recognized I’d done something right or good or helpful instead of that withering shrug. Perhaps it would sound something like a dove, a high pitched “Cool, cool, cool.” Or, if that’s too much to expect, “Okay, okay.” Just not, “Whatever.”
Or, perhaps, my boss–as he piled more work on my desk–might make a sound like, “Good job” or “Well done.” Could be I’d work even harder.
As I think of this, I realize I too should make more positive sounds when something good happens. Yes, I should actually give my approval in real words. “Great” or “Thank you” or “I admire you”.
What do you think?
I’m always to impressed in a movie when people are held hostage and the hero says, “I’ll stay with you if you’ll let the women and children go.” What a strong, compassionate–and just a little hot–man.
Heroes–like the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School who attempted to stop the gun man, who shoved children in closets, who took the shots to save the children from death–they were admirable, true heroes. I’d like to be that strong.
But would I be like that? Could I be so brave that I’d trade my life for the life of another person? I always hope that if I were in such a situation, I’d step forward and speak to the hostage taker in such soft, dulcet tones that I’d calm them or sing Amazing Grace with so much emotion that the person would realize the need to turnaway from the dark side. Perhaps such loving foregiveness would shine in my face that the criminal would suddenly recognize the need to change his life.
I’d like to so but I’m not at all sure.
Many years ago a fifth-grade student talked me in to going into a Haunted House around Halloween. He promised me it would not be scary (Hint: never trust the word of a fifth grader about if anything is scary or not) But I believed him and we went inside what was a converted barn. I was just fine and not a bit frightened with the first few stops. But then a cobweb-covered ghost lying in a casket sat up. I knew very well this was a teenage kid wearing a costume. I knew there was nothing supernatural here. I understood all of this. Nevertheless, as soon as that ghost sat up, I screamed and ran, shoving small children out of my way. I pushed aside a sobbing little girl. I reached the door first and rolled it open, never stopping in my panic. In that moment I didn’t care if the ghost got everyone else as long as I made it out of the haunted house alive. ( In the interest of accuracy, I must state I never looked like the picture on the right.)
I am filled with deep shame as I confess this. But I still hope–given a chance–I have the courage to save an entire island from the heavily armed revolutionaries. Yes, I could do that–as long as the action doesn’t take place in a haunted house.
Have you experienced any moments that showed a really admirable side of you? Or, perhaps, a negative? Please tell me–especially the negative side. It would make me feel so much better.
Sadly, I never know what day it is.
I worked for many years in the mental health field. One of the ways mental health workers use to see if a patient is oriented in time is to ask him/her what day it is. I’d have flunked that because I might be within two or three days of the week but never knew the exact date. I always feared if I ever were placed in a mental institution, I’d be kept until, somehow, I chanced to hit the day correctly.
Before I retired, I knew I worked Monday through Friday. Therefore, if I was at work, it had to be one of those days. I knew I went to church on Sunday. Check.
But now that I’m retired, I don’t have anything constant in a week except for Sunday. My writers’ group used to meet on the second Tuesday. Now, with our present meeting place and conflicts with scheduling, the date hops around. Fortunately, the person I ride with knows when we meet and reminds me. Thanks, Kristin!
Yesterday (which was Tuesday), I asked our associate minister when I could make a call on a member. She said Tuesday and Thursdays are hard for her to make hospital calls. So I told her, “I’ll make the call tomorrow,” which did not help her schedule at all. Fortunately, she understands the tangle my brain can be. I’m making the visit tomorrow–which is, I believe, Thursday.
I’ve set Tuesday as my main blog day but didn’t post yesterday because–you guessed it–I thought yesterday was Monday. So here is the blog, a day late but here.
What do you forget? I like to know. It makes me feel I’m not alone.
I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions. It’s January 10 and I have not confessed any of my bad habits and promised to do better because I know myself. I won’t.
Gyms and the Y love the new year because people flood in to sign up for a membership to help them fulfill their resolution of exercising regularly and losing weight. The regulars–yes, I was a regular at a place called Robin Lynn for three years before they went bankrupt but never looked like the woman in the photo–always allowed the newbies to fill the floor and machines in January because we knew they’d tire out and we’d have the facilities back a few weeks.
I’m NOT putting down those committed people who make the resolution and keep it. For me personally, it’s a little artificial to promise to do something on January 1. Make the resolution when you know you’re going to keep it or feel very committed. Every March, I resolve to swim in the pool in my complex and I keep that promise 3-6 times a week and keep that until it gets too cold.
What about you? Did you make any resolutions? Or did you not? Please tell me. I love to know.