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The Day I Didn’t Get Discovered

 

Each year as I watch the Oscars or the Tonys, I am fifteen again, dreaming.  I imagine the style of dress I’m going to wear when my name is announced (my mom will sew my gown since I can’t afford high fashion). And, of course, I practice my acceptance speech. I thank my high school theater teacher, I’m witty and make people cry, and for my speech only, the orchestra holds the music to allow the power of my speech to finish in awed silence.

The inkling of these dreams began when I played a pointy-toed elf concerned for Santa as he contemplated leaving his job in the classic 5th grade play “Santa Goes Back to the Future.”  That same year my teacher gave us the weekly task of concocting a short story with our vocabulary words. The assignment sharpened my youthful writing skills as I blended Hamster, Circus, and Automobile into the same story.  That year, as I stared at the clouds with a wall of stiff bangs usefully blocking the glare from the sun, I saw glory in my future.

Two decades later when glory still eluded me, I thought to myself, “Now they’ll no longer say  ‘I can’t believe she’s so young!’ when I write my first play or book, instead they’ll say ‘Wow, she’s sixty!”.  The abundance of my years will be my legacy, instead of my youth, I lamented.

Nowadays, I continue on in the land of Mamahood but remain open to the possibility of being discovered.  When I saw Kevin Costner in our local pancake joint last year, I stuck around after the pancakes were gone to give him a little extra time to turn on his movie spy senses and notice me.  I gave him time to saunter over in his scuffed jeans and cowboy boots and tell me I was perfect for his next movie or that he’d like to co-write a screenplay with me (clearly I was attributing a strong spy sense to him).  That day it didn’t work out, but I like to keep my options open.

Last week I met with a friend.  She’s a friend plus a Real Writer.  I showed her a few pieces of writing I’d been working on, she gave me some positive feedback, and between our next meeting time, I dreamed of exactly how my Big Discovery would happen.  Maybe she’d encourage me to write a book or in the very least ask me to write something for her blogging community. Oh the possibilities, I dreamed.

This week we got together and we talked again about those pieces that I had handed her last week.  Last week those pieces carried a little gleam around the words because they were filled with promise. This week unraveled a little differently.  The first piece was solid but as she gave me her honest feedback about piece number 2 and 3, the glow dissipated.  These were not the pieces of promise.  It turns out, I’m much closer to the beginning then the middle or end of getting to my Big Discovery. Her words were truthful, and even as she spoke with grace, I knew every word was true.

As the hope of the Big Discovery grew cold like my forgotten cup of tea, my heart swung into motion to close-up and close-out.  But the Lord had already been at work in my heart all week, getting me ready for this moment, and I was able to recognize the gift of this friend.  She had taken a risk.  Did I wish that she’d told me my mediocre work was actually brilliant? Instead she told me how to begin the process of moving from mediocre to great (or at least better).

In the weeks since the-day-I-didn’t-get-discovered, I’ve been working my tail off to improve.  When I thought my skills were better than they were, I didn’t work very hard to improve them.  So it was also the day that I discovered that I could, and would, stick to the process even if it wasn’t the instant gratification of striking gold, but an extended excavation, a painful process to get the work done. So, I’ll work.

However, I’m still open to discovery over pancakes or maybe at this Starbucks as I finish this sentence.  And I plan to keep honing my acceptance speech.

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