photo credit: the guardian.com
I come from a long line of performers. In addition to winning adult Charleston contests at 12 years old, my grandmother often entertained her neighbors and grandchildren with silly characters she’d create, dances she’d whip up on the spot and skits designed to make us all laugh. My grandfather’s creative outlet was a Hammond organ. I used to sit at his feet, mesmerized, while he’d play. My father, meanwhile, fancied himself a doo wap singer. He’d burst into song whenever a phrase or word would suggest a lyric he’d remember. And my mother? She was a dancer – and I’m told a very good one at that. I myself spent years as a triple threat, an actress who could sing and dance, fully immersed in the process of trying to “make it” in show biz, so it was no surprise to me when my daughter was also bitten by the bug.
A few weeks ago, my very talented daughter was invited to audition in New York City, for “one of those national television voice competition shows.” (I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you which one or they’d have to kill me. Well, actually, they’d have to sue me; it said so in the contract.) And as I watched her bare her soul, present her best self to a room full of strangers and wait for acceptance or a rejection based not just on talent but on so many other factors, it occurred to me: there is SO much we can learn from performers. Continue reading
photo credit: karengoble.com
On a Friday night about six months ago, I was engaged in my usual routine. It was close to midnight and I was hunched over my computer keyboard banging out another freelance project. Trying not to think about the dishes that still needed to be washed, I also attempted not to obsess about when I’d squeeze the laundry into an already packed weekend, and kept a responsible eye on the time; my daughter would need to be picked up on the other side of town soon. I was falling asleep, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by a growing “to do” list, and listening to the voices of happy people as they walked home from a night out at the local bars and movie theater. I was quietly but deeply resentful. And that’s when it hit me – It had been a long time since I remembered to play.
In the early 1900’s an aspiring cartoonist was fired from his job at the The Kansas City Star. According to his editor, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
The young man’s name was Walt Disney.
photo credit: travelintheroads.blogspot
I want it. My daughter wants it. My closest friends want it, and I’d bet my life on the fact that you do too. There are classes on how to achieve it, books written about the subject and philosophers have always mused about lifestyles that are most conducive to it. Yet with all of this longing, all of the resources on how to grasp it, it’s still very hard to come by. I’m talking about inner peace. The most fortunate of us have to contend with day to day stressors of making ends meet, getting the kids’ lives in order, finding and keeping a good job, and finagling the time and money to pay our ever-mounting bills. But in extreme cases, some of us have to contend with fear and literal threats to our physical, financial or emotional survival – sometimes all at once. Regardless of our experience, we all want the same thing – to find a state of serenity and wisdom, a sense of purpose and contentment that would rival the life of a Buddhist monk. The truth is we can find it, it’s just that sometimes you have to fight like a gladiator to get it. Continue reading
As a child I admired my grandfather deeply. A smart, respected computer department manager in a local company, he was well-liked, not just around town but also by strangers he’d meet in his travels. He didn’t go to college but, as a soldier in World War II, he’d certainly seen the world – both its good and bad sides. And somehow, despite all of the “bad” that he’d seen, Bill McGee was always quick with a joke, a shoulder to lean on, and advice he’d dispense in an effort to be helpful. I’d sit at his feet and watch while he played his organ in the den, or sit by his side when, with a beer in his hand and an iced tea in mine, we’d pick out shapes and figures in the clouds and plan the future. In my humble opinion Grandpa was a success in every way; he was accomplished in business, traveled occasionally with my grandmother, laughed with friends and was loved by his family. What I didn’t know until I was an adult, though, was that my grandfather’s present was never the future he’d planned on in his youth. Continue reading
photo credit: parkthatcar.net
Back in November I read something by Dr. Phil that… well, disturbed me. Rather than sum it up myself, here’s a passage from Get Rid of the Have-tos and Should-dos, an article about the holidays that appeared in the November edition of O Magazine. Continue reading
photo credit: edudemic.com
As I approach the one year anniversary of the creation of my blog, A Fork in the Road, I’m noticing that blogging has been a big topic of conversation among my inner circle of friends. A few women, writers and non-writers, have all expressed an interest in starting blogs of their own. They’re not all sure they should, mind you. After all, it’s a bit of a commitment. One mentioned that she doesn’t think she can expose her innermost thoughts; she’d be too vulnerable. Another is wondering why she should give herself another thing to do every week – and on a deadline, to boot. Still another can’t see the benefit of devoting time to something if it’s not going to bring in any additional income.
So all of this made me wonder, why do I write my blog? Continue reading