How brave are you?
But wait--before we see today's main feature and plumb the depths of your fears and courage, we bring you some special messages:
FIRST: Hurray for Sarah! The adorable movie, "Lying to Be Perfect" based on Sarah's The Cinderella Pact premiered on Lifetime TV Saturday night...and it was charming. If you haven't read TCP, you're in for a treat. If you haven't seen LTBP, check your On Demand listings.
AND THEN: It's time for DRIVE TIME! As you've no doubt noticed from the relentless countdown counter on the upper left of your screen, today''s the release day for DRIVE TIME, the newest book in my mystery series featuring the smart and savvy TV reporter Charlotte McNally. It has a wonderful blurb from our dear Robert B Parker on the cover...
And Library Journal gave it a starred review! Here's just part of the rave: "Buckle up and prepare for a wild ride!...Placing Ryan in the same league as Lisa Scottoline...her latest book catapults the reader into the fast lane and doesn't relent until the story careens to a halt. New readers will speed to get her earlier books, and diehard fans will hope for another installment."
And interestingly, ripped from the headlines, it's all about the dangers of recalled cars.
(And hey, order a signed copy of DRIVE TIME from Mystery Lovers Bookshop and mention TLC--and get a wonderful black canvas tote bag and free shipping! Today only for the tote bag--usually you have to buy three books to get it!)
We now return you to our regular programming.
How brave are you?
It was back in oh, 1980. I was a not-quite-cub but not-quite-experienced TV reporter in Atlanta. If you want to picture it, I had long long dark brown hair, my shoulder pads could rival Dick Butkus, and my eyebrows were straight out of Brooke Shields. You remember.
With all the fearlessness and ambition and confidence of someone at the beginning, I hoped, of a career, I was planning to move to the networks, take over from Barbara Walters, and cut a swath through journalism, breaking stories and catching bad guys and uncovering the truth.
But how to break out from the pack of other wannabes?
And then I saw the ad in Columbia Journalism Review. NASA was looking for applicants to become the first journalist in space. One lucky reporter would be chosen to ride the then-brand-newish space shuttle, and report first hand on their experiences.
Bingo. I saw my career path rising like the shuttle itself. My insightful and thoughtful and technically brilliant reporting, I figured, would transform me from medium fish in a medium pond to big fish in the biggest of ponds. I plotted the whole thing out, rubbing my hands in anticipation. I was perfect for this assignment. I was young. A woman, and I figured, they had to choose a woman. This was going to fly.
When the thick brown envelope arrived in my mailbox, I ripped it open. Inside was a multi-colored multi-copied stack of paperwork, as elaborate as a college application. Full of forms and questions and medical stuff, if I remember correctly, and lots of blanks to fill in. Piece of cake, I thought. I'm young, healthy and brave. Bring it on.
And then, I saw the biggie. There was an essay question. Tell us, it requested, in five hundred words, exactly why you want to be the first journalist in space.
Drat. I hate essay questions. Just let me go, I thought. You won't regret it. But after a moment of petulance, I knew that if I wanted to blast off, I'd have to write that essay.
I decided to make the best of it. Maybe there was a point to it, anyway. Maybe it would be a good thing, emotionally and intellectually, if I really did explore why I wanted to be the first JIS. I mean, "desire for fame" probably wasn't a very compelling reason. And probably was not going to charm the judges.
So I sat at the kitchen table, as I remember, contemplating my future. Imagining being the first journalist in space. I'd go through all that training, cool. I'd bond with the other astronauts. Cool. I'd suit up in one of those protective outfits, great. I'd climb into the space shuttle, wave at the camera, and blast off into space.
Not a chance, I decided. Not a chance in the world. When I actually had to imagine fifty billion pounds of thrust (or whatever) blasting me into the unknown on a little space shuttle thing with vast nothingness around me and, basically, no back-up plan if something went wrong, all the wind went out of my sails.
I was staying earthbound. No question. I folded up that application, tucked it back into the envelope, and tucked the envelope away somewhere. Traveling in my head was as close as I got to space travel.
Reality had trumped ambiton. And I wasn't as brave as I'd imagined.
The journalist in space program was halted, of course, after the tragic ending of the teacher in space program. And I remember, with some irony, that I was sent to New Hampshire to cover the Christa McAuliffe story. And that was a powerful lesson for me about true bravery.