Thursday, September 4, 2014

Embarrassing Moment AKA Why I don't sing solos.

I was going to title this my Most Embarrassing Moment, but My Most Embarrassing Moment is a secret that I will never publish on-line.  Sorry.  It's going to stay safely between me and my journal and the other witnesses who shall remain nameless.  So this is my Second Most Embarrassing Moment.

Actually, I should probably title this my Most Humiliating Moment because after doing years of weird plays in theatre, I don't embarrass easily--I do get humbled quite a bit.  

Let me set the scene.  High school.  Small town.  County fair.  Singing contest.

Yeah, you're cringing already aren't you.  My skin shivers at the memory. 

My aunt is like a really great singer.  Not the break the glass kind of singer you see on stage or on Youtube.  She's a "Will you sing at Uncle Hershal's funeral?" type of singer.  Her music is full of soul.  And she's a great lady.  At least, I think her motives were pure when she convinced me to sing in the contest in our county fair.  She was giving me singing lessons, which must've been like teaching a goose to sound like a finch, but she persisted.  And in the end of the lessons, I sounded--okay.

I wasn't afraid to get in front of people.  I'd done some pretty crazy stuff on stage before and after this event, not even phased.  I wasn't nervous to wear a costume or to dance.  Done both of those.  But I had never sung a solo before.  EVER!!!

Or since I might add.

So the day of the County Fair.  We arrive at the grounds and find a bathroom to change.  We wander through a maze of tables set up with Four-H hopefuls.  Scores of billowy, pillowy rolls, cookies, sewing projects, garden veggies all set up for judging.

In the bathroom, after smearing a weeks worth of foundation on my face, I change into my flower girl costume with my nighty underneath.  I was going to sing a combination of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady.

I get up on stage and Miss Utah and some other local nobility are the judges.  Miss Utah has long gorgeous hair pinned up in a bun with her pen.  In the audience is half my drama department, plus their parents.  People I know and care about in the two years we'd lived there.

I started out fine.  I had a coat over the nightgown, had a flower basket and my hair tucked into my hat.  In a cockney accent (and my cockney is pretty good) I asked the audience if they wanted a "fla-er for ya lay-dee?"  Then sang my first song.  All went well.  During the transition, I shed my coat, dropped the basket and released my once long hair from the hat until it went cascading down my back.  I started the second song.  I noticed something.  I couldn't hear the piano or myself.  The feedback on the mike blocked out any reference point in terms of listening.  There was about a two second lag.  But I carried on.  Because maybe that was normal, maybe I should know the song well enough that I should be able to sing it without even hearing it.  I was gearing up to the end and I belt out "All night!"

I finished, triumphant!   

The audience gave a collective cringe.

Or maybe it was just my aunt.

Or just me as the two second lag came as clear as anything.

I was off.  WAAAAAAAAAAY off.  It wasn't even close to the notes I was supposed to sing.  If we were playing horseshoes, I wouldn't even be in the box.  I sang the whole song perfectly and got down to the last two notes and they were so off that, that, even I heard they were off. There is probably some moral to that story, but I'm not sure what it is.

My face burned with shame as I gathered up my costume and slunk down into the audience to watch a senior guy from my theatre department go up, and since he was a last minute entry, sang a song right out of the book.  It was Phantom of the Opera "Music of the Night."  HE READ IT OUT OF THE BOOK!  Stood there, stock still, singing like it was some kind of audition.  In fact, I'd seen his auditions and his auditions were more planned and prepared.

In the end, I won second place.  Yup.  I got a medal and like, a certificate and maybe even ten bucks cash for all my stress and worry. You might think, wow, second place that's not bad.  Yeah, second place.  There were three competitors. The other two tied for first.

Monday, July 14, 2014

How to be a better Facebook friend

I have a Facebook friend--let's call him Melvin Peabody, who knows how to be a good Facebook friend.  While most friendships deteriorate once the relationship hits "we're friends on Facebook" stage, Melvin's relationships thrive, grow and flourish on Facebook.  Though I barely knew him when I "friended" him years ago, I have gotten to know (and like) him even better.  How is that possible you ask?  Over the years, I've seen Melvin do something different than most people on Facebook, and what he does is easy to do and strengthens his relationships.  I'm going to share what I've learned from observing these simple tips that if you follow, you'll be a better friend on Facebook, too.  You'll go from being a simple observer of Facebook to building friendships on Facebook.  If you feel like you aren't making or maintaining friendships, try these simple changes.

Rule One:
"Like" stuff.

"Liking" someone's status doesn't mean you love everything they said it in.  I see it as more of an acknowledgement that you saw it.  Perhaps you were weirded out when you posted something sad and one of your friends "liked" it.  They "liked" it, not because they are happy that Aunt Joan died, but because they want you know that they saw it, sympathize, but maybe didn't have time to write condolences.  "Liking" something encourages reciprocation.  I try to go through and "like" photos, events, announcements.  It's reaching out in a small way.

Rule Two:
Post stuff.

I know this one seems simple, but I see a lot of people who log on, maybe they play games or just scroll through their feed without leaving a mark, not trace, just voyeurs to my world.  If you want to maintain friendships you've got to be active.  That doesn't mean you have to obsessively update your status, but it does mean you need to comment on things.  Seems like everyone regrets writing "Congratulations" on a friend's 50th wedding anniversary status update only to find 100 other people wrote the same thing, clogging up your notifications.  If you don't want a ton of follow up comments you can either just "like" the status or you can "unfollow" the conversation.

Rule Three:
Like or respond to people's comments on your status.

This is something my friend Melvin is really great about.  Anytime someone comments on his status updates, he "likes" them, funny or not.  Often, he'll write a personal response to anything anybody says.  Sometimes I'm too busy for that and will "like" them individually but write a collective thank you.  But it would be better if I took the time to respond to each comment.  And if you are getting a ton of comments and worry that someone won't see your response, you can type their name and then the follow up comments will be displayed in their notifications.

Rule Four:
Humor is King.

Nobody likes a Debby Downer.  It's not fun to read complaints, gripes, gossip, bad mouthing on Facebook.  It makes me wildly uncomfortable.  Find a funny way to frame mishaps, bad days, bad news etc.  In fact, stay positive.  My friend Melvin talks up his wife, his kids and his job.  He shares music he loves, post pictures of funny things.  Rarely do I find him gossiping, talking bad or criticizing.  Of course if you have a really bad day, if you are being a good friend, you should find lots of support.

Rule Five:
Don't pick a fight.

"Somebody was wrong on the internet!"  How many times have you gotten your feelings hurt, walked away angry because of an exchange on Facebook?  Too many to count, right?  Life is too short for that sort of nonsense.  That doesn't mean you can't express your opinions but remember that butting in someone else's conversation is as rude on Facebook as it is in person.  Address people civilly and rationally.  Save the "idiot in you" for a good news article troll. I won't say to stay away from politics and religion because I think it's important to have civil discourse.  Just remember that everything you write can be visible to ALL your friends.

Facebook relationships are like other relationships.  You have to interact, listen, participate, give, take and be a part of your friends' lives. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

I've figured out the plot for my newest novel!!

I finally figured out what my plot for my novel is going to be.  Usually I figure it out after I've written twenty thousand words and I have to go back and rewrite major swaths.  But this time I figured it out after writing ten thousand words!  I think I'm getting better!  Yay!  Go me!  What is it about you ask?  Well I'll tell you.  It's about this girl and she meets this guy...  Okay so, all my stories are about building meaningful relationships, but something else has to go on as well.  My protag does have to have a life and interest outside of her romantic interest.  But I'm stuck on her name.  I don't have a name for her yet.  Any suggestions?  It needs to be slightly unique but not too weird.  And short.  I like short names.  Easier to type.  All right.  I guess that is all. 

Third Place from Book Buyer's Best Contest

A sweet romance wins third place Sweet romances can compete and win! I'm super excited for this honor.  I want to tell you, please keep ...