Their story, yours and mine - its what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.
Often we find ourselves surrounded by strangers: on a subway, in an airport, on a street, at a bar, in a restaurant, at a concert, shopping. No matter the setting we are all a part of the story. We do not always recognize the character we are playing at the time or the directions we may need to take, but they are there nonetheless.
We step into our role every day. We carefully select the wardrobe and we enter the staging area. It is when we are acknowledged, not by our own normal cast of characters, but by someone else that we may recognize our importance in that moment.
I was blessed to meet a number of country music artists this past weekend. I was amazed at their kindness and excitement to meet their fans. A few in particular did some extraordinary things for the people who buy their albums, travel to their shows and tell others about their favorite songs. One in particular hosted a free event, where she signed for 13 hours straight, allowed people on her tour bus, brought her entire concert wardrobe for viewing and had stages set up so people could "be" in her videos for just a moment. She also gave a free acoustic performance, a free CD that you could get signed by her & her entire band, or a headshot signed by the same. She also did all this in the air conditioning - God bless her ;o).
As I stood waiting to meet this young, beautiful woman who has inspired so many young girls to write and sing I began to talk to those around me. I live in Alabama, a mere 3 hours from Nashville. I drove a comfortable drive to get there and expected a simple drive back.
The girls in front of me had driven from Minnesota...overnight..just for this signing.
They did not have tickets to the other concerts, they did not have a hotel room. They had a cowboy hat and a picture from one of the singer's concerts that they wanted signed. One of them had just begun sharing her own songwriting talent and has even received some interest from a label in Chicago that partners with a Nashville label. She was beyond ecstatic and was waiting for more information that her parents would be looking at if it came. She was glowing as she waited patiently to meet the young woman who had given her the push she needed just by singing her own songs... I was touched and excited for this stranger. As we got closer the girls realized that they had forgotten one important thing: their camera. Frantically they rummaged through their purse and backpacks. No luck. Well, I asked if they had cellphones - one. Camera is okay on it, older model but even at close range it is a blurry shot. I thought they were going to cry. Meeting your idol is amazing, but capturing it in a photo to look back on whenever you are down - phenomenal.
Samsung has made a wonderful camera on my phone. I told the girls not to worry, I would take a few pics and email it to their accounts immediately.
The songwriter almost burst into tears as she hugged my neck. I laughed and hugged her back saying no need for thanks, it was a pleasure. We talked for the next thirty minutes until their time to meet & greet arrived. They were shaking. They hugged her and then they just began rambling. Telling her how much they appreciate having someone to look up to who is close to their age, someone who worked hard to achieve her dreams and that they appreciated this event. The singer was all smiles and spent a good ten minutes talking with the girls, giving some tips and advice, then turned for pictures. I took some with my phone then watched the girls step to the side for me to have my own turn.
When I approached the singer I smiled. Not just because it was neat to meet one that I enjoy hearing but because she had made an impact on me as well. At that very moment I realized that her art had done what we writers hope to do. She touched someone's soul and made them work harder, dream bigger and aspire to share their passion with those around them.
I hugged her, talked music, then a little football then I thanked her. At first she just said a traditional you are welcome (I am sure she thought just for the autograph). But I paused and said "No. really...thank you. For making those two girls remember that dreams are possible and that doing what you love is worth every long hour, every crazy day and every minute you have to stand in 5 inch heels" She laughed, loud and hard then gave me another hug and I had the shock of seeing her eyes glisten.
I stepped off the carpeted area and emailed the girls their photos as they bounced beside me. They hugged me for an extended period of time then I told them I had to leave. They pouted (seriously) and then continued to thank me. I stopped them around the hundredth and told them they had given me more than they knew; that I was blessed to have met them.
That is what we want in this world. To be able to create/do what we love. To share it with others who will honor it, respect it and love it as we do. We hope to touch someone, to make them realize that dreams are not mere flickers of images lost to the night; that they are living, breathing things that we can experience.
I will continue to listen to that artist. To marvel at her songwriting ability.
I will remember the laughter of two young girls and the way they lit up in the presence of their idol.
I will think of a hot June morning, surrounded by strangers in a strange location where I was allowed to play the part of girl number 3.
You know the character; she's the one who gets to play a small part in helping the stranger experience a magical moment. She thinks it is a small part, that it is not that important until the part is over. Then she realizes that yes she helped them but it is really their story that reminded her that dreams are worth chasing and that those around us can be as inspiring as the singer on the stage...
Oh and just for today's funny: my laptop battery has chosen to no longer be a battery. It is now a space filler with attitude. So in tribute to the wonderful aggravation that came right before it decided to change careers:
PROGRAM - n. A magic spell cast over a computer allowing it to turn one's input into error messages. v. tr.- To engage in a pastime similar to banging one's head against a wall, but with fewer opportunities for reward.
Around the Blogosphere on a HAWT! Monday!
Lola over at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword uses a word I love... MAYBE..I have a lot of maybes in my vocabulary...how about you? Go look at her list..see if you share in her thoughts...
ooooohhhh do your characters share the same Moral issues? Roni's guest blogger talks characters and morals...
Megan Rebekah talks of the 4 Sentence Synopsis!
Oh & check out Shannon's Blog for details of an amazing pay it forward event...crazy fun & read it carefully - you must mark your calendars & well let's just say it will be AMAZING!!!!!
Don't forget to enter my AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT CONTEST! You could win a book, a book+an opal ring...or a $10 giftcard to AMAZON.COM!! Hurry go and enter!!! 3 Winners or maybe more... *wink*
~~~Have a MARVELOUS MONDAY~~~