I am fortunate to sing in a chorus that often allows me brushes with celebrities from various entertainment spheres.
But one of the downsides is that, because we are sharing their Safe Zone backstage, we are not encouraged to go all Fangirl on the famous people. In fact, the audience members who wait outside the stage door for autographs and photos generally have a lot more interaction with the famous people than we do.
But you guys, one time Michael Schade sang with us.
Like possibly everyone in my chorus except me, you may not know who he is. That’s okay, I will tell you. He has the voice of a Canadian angel. His Mozart and Bach will make your ears bleed rainbows. I have admired him since I was in high school and he is my favorite tenor in all the universe.
So I decided protocol be damned, I was going to talk to Michael Schade. And it ended up being super easy — he was just hanging out in the hallway after the performance. I went right up to him. I opened my mouth. Then . . .
What do I say?
What could I possibly have to say to him, one of the great singers of the world? The moment grew longer as he waited for me to articulate something.
Finally, my brain scrambled together these three words: “You . . . are awesome.” I kind of whispered the word “awesome,” like a compliment ninja. He laughed and said thank you.
That story was to let you know what my brain thinks the Ultimate Super Best Champion Compliment is. So now, internet writer friends, you will understand the gravitas of my saying this to you:
Did you guys all read that post by Jason Robert Brown about how he insulted Sondheim? It’s about what to say, and what not to say, when artists are at their most vulnerable. “Artists” being everyone from your roommate working fervently on that lint mosaic she knows will change the world to — well, to Freaking Stephen Sondheim. But Brown also touches on the need we all have for approval, no matter how successful we are by whatever random standard of success by which we’re being measured. So I officially give you, friend writer, my admiration and approval, as contained within the above bubble letters with bonus puffy star: YOU ARE AWESOME.
OK, right now, those of you who know me in meatspace are probably either a.) calling the police to report my disappearance/subsequent replacement with a cyborg who uses glitter graphics and positive thinking or b.) celebrating the fact that I am obviously dead and no longer have a terrifying stranglehold over you and your loved ones (see “cyborg who uses glitter graphics”).
And it’s true that I am rarely to be found in the “Everybody Gets a Ribbon” camp.
It is also true that I have a major deadline in two weeks and have been subsisting almost entirely on Red Bull and trail mix, which has blurred my sense of time and space. But friends, writers ARE awesome. We imagine things with our brains and make them into books. We do other jobs and still write. We face rejection and revision and remaindering and the voice that says You Are Not Awesome, and we persevere.
If writing were easy, everyone would do it. None of these things writers do are easy:
- Read books
- Write words
- Create people and places WITH OUR MINDS
- Make readers feel feelings
- Get feedback
- Give feedback
- Get ideas for stories
- Send query letters
- Read our work aloud
Here’s the advice bit. We should all do something on the above list every single day.
What’s an awesome writer thing you’ve done today? What should we add to the list? (It’s glitter, isn’t it? We should add glitter? Hang on, just let me get another Red Bull.)