Don’t quit your day job …

I was about ten years old when my older brother decided to enter me into a local talent contest. He sat with me and strummed his guitar and taught me the words to Because of You. It is not germane to my point if you don’t know the song.

I practiced every day after school. My mother bought me a pretty blue floral dress, with a blue ribbon around the waist and curled my hair.

I was one of those little girls the choir director wanted to hug. One of the only girls since second grade that was a second alto. Now I sound like Groucho Marks.

I digress. Sitting at the dining room table or standing in the living room, it sounded so good. I mean I hit all the notes and the family and neighbors dutifully clapped and encouraged me. A young Judy Garland.

It was a stuffy auditorium in an empty movie theatre. He registered me and I waited with my little tag and as the minutes ticked, my throat began to close. My stomach hitched, my brain closed down and by the time my number was called I was a basket case.

I finished the song in the most frightening and pitiful voice imaginable.

So he entered me in other contests. This brother was convinced I had hidden talents. I sure did. They were so hidden, they never saw the light of day.

Then came high school. I mean who the hell really liked high school? Who wants to spend the only years of their life when social status is everything, as a nerd, a dweeb, a misfit in oversized sweaters and flat feet? Those years when nothing fits, the nose is too big, the legs are too long and the voice changes every other month; this being more painful for boys.

I entered more contests and sometimes I didn’t freeze up or break out in hives. Unfortunately, on the day of my most important audition, I tanked, my throat closed and I once again sounded like a wounded frog. The All City Chorus which performs in Carnegie Hall in New York, is the most prestigious and sought after chorus in New York. It is made up of high school students from the five boroughs. All you had to do is sing, Just a Song at Twilight, the notes to which give the choral director a full range of octaves and how you handle them.

I did not go home with the coveted prize and I never performed in Carnegie Hall or traveled or made an actual record album.

Fate can bring us to many crossroads in our lives. Like Dorothy, we need to pick well which direction we travel to get to Oz. And if we have a companion or two along the way, then better for us.

All my life I thought I was supposed to be on the stage, to dance and sing, to act or make jokes, to entertain and make you feel good.

This behind the scene stage of the written page is where the fates have taken me. Instead of clicking my Ruby Slippers, I click the keyboard and although I can’t see you, I know I am making you feel better.

So, go on and have a laugh on me. It is after all what I live for.

fOIS In The City



Filed under Ramblings

6 responses to “Don’t quit your day job …

  1. laradunning

    Sounds very tramatic, but you kept at it and you had a brother who believed in you. Glad to hear you found your niche in writing.


  2. How wonderful to have a brother who believed in you and taught you the value of perseverance. Those lessons learned on the stages of New York will serve you in the publishing world. I look forward to the day when you have BIG news to share and can belt it out at the top of your lungs for all cyberspace to hear.


    • Truth be known, I didn’t make it to the stage until now. This is my stage and the performance of a lifetime is mine to give.

      Keli, thanks for always being a positive influence for aspiring writers … like me 🙂


  3. Aww…. I don’t know whether to be more touched by your brother’s faith in you, or by your courage in your dreams.

    ANd you just never know about those kinds of dreams unless you try. High school was okay for me, but sheesh I’d never go back. It’s prolly my least fave part of life altogether. Those awkward teen years where you feel like you know wverything but don’t know squat. Ick!

    I do like the image of your blue floral dress and ribbons. I bet you were adorable!!


    • He was and still is a great big brother, and didn’t realize having certain talents does not a performer make. I did have a great time entertaining the girls in the locker room, my friends at work and even until today, I crave being the center of attention. Put me on stage and I turn to sour milk 🙂

      What I might say about high school is PG-13 and most of us survived and even had a good time.

      I loved that blue dress so much that even after I outgrew it, I saved it in a dress box for years.

      Thanks 🙂


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