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March 19, 2010

Thanks to Team Rachel, I'm Going to L.A.

Thanks to Team Rachel, I’m Going to L.A.

By Very Special Guest blogger and member of the TLC Family, Storyteller Mary!

Disappointment hurts, but we all have to learn to deal with it, going through the stages of grief: denial, bargaining, weeping, ice cream . . . and finally, maybe, acceptance, though sometimes I wait a long time for that one.

Last year I received a disappointment so big and so unexpected that it threw my whole world out of balance.   I would have gone out to eat worms, as in the song my mother used to sing us, but that didn’t seem fair to the worms.  My coping mechanisms strongly favor running away (more “flight” than “fight”), plus getting busy on something else (two CDs and a web site, thanks to the Apple OneToOne teachers), and keeping a list of “good quotes for bad days” to help me through.

. . and ice cream . . . and support and sympathy from good friends, who told me, as good friends will, that I was completely right, very brave to take a stand (because I’d rather take flight), eloquent and kind,  and that I handled myself with amazing grace in the face of rude attacks. . . and “I really can’t understand why anyone would even want to pick on you.”  The very best advice was from my wisest friend, “Do your highest and best work. Let the others do what they will. You know that you are good at what you do and that your work is valuable.  Be strong.”

I did stand up for what I thought was right, a plan to alternate Festival tellers year to year rather than cut half the tellers out completely.  I felt like Don Quixote tilting at windmills or the  Hoja facing Tamerlane (*See "Hoja and the Elephant"  If the link doesn’t work, Google the story description).

Afterward, I could not shake off the sadness and disappointment.   I hadn’t felt this low since I cancelled my trial of eHarmony. Flight wasn’t really an option with my new allergy-friendly home (complete with mortgage), and giving  up storytelling would never do.  However, like the Fox in Flossy and the Fox by Pat McKissack, I had lost my confidence.  I wanted no more rejections.

Blog Mary 032010  Then, stuck in place, grieving, I received help from a most unexpected source.  Kathy Sweeney started posting on TLC that we were all to watch her daughter’s friend Rachel on Teen Jeopardy!  I don’t usually watch Jeopardy, but Kathy was really excited, so I tuned in.  (With apologies to the Smothers Brothers: If Kathy asked you to jump off a bridge, would you do that, too? . . . “Well, not again.”)

It was wonderful!  Rachel never gave up, even learning to buzz that buzzer more quickly to get ahead of those boys.  She admitted that being on the show was, “harder than I imagined,” big grin, “and much more fun!” and mentioned the parties with their opponents in the game.  Huzzah, Rachel!

One of the clues was a bit of “rhyming philosophy from Dr. Phil.” (I don’t often watch his show either, so I had never heard it): "Make your goal something you can control."  It resonated.  We cannot change others’ decisions, only our own actions.  My goals had to be things I could do and then feel good about having done my part.  I listed three events to which I would apply, and the goal would be the application itself, not the uncertain results.  I allowed myself to feel good about simply having completed and mailed the audition CDs, and if that were all of the story, it would be a happy ending, but stories always continue . . . and this one got even better!

My version of “Sheherazade” has been chosen for the All-Regions Concert at the National Storytelling Network conference in L.A. in July!  There will be only one teller from  each of the seven regions, and I will be representing the South Central Region: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (many good storytellers in those states!)   It's a surprise and an honor, and my feet have not yet quite touched the ground.  See you July 30, 7:30 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA (northern Los Angeles). Open to the public (I just checked); tickets are $10.

L.A. National Storytelling Conference

The second application was also accepted, but it is only one week before the Ohio O.O.P.S. Conference to which I had applied earlier.  I don’t think I could do both with enough energy to do them justice (though Laraine is sharing ideas that might in the future make me more durable on the road), so I tendered my regrets and will apply again next year.

The third application was for the National Festival in Jonesborough, TN.  The organizers keep those applications from year to year, so it’s never a “no,” just a “not yet.”  My new goal is to add something new to my file every year for as long as it takes.

*One final note, when I was looking for the Hoja story online, Google took me to my own version, contributed to Healing Stories in 1993.   Life is so . . . interesting . . .Storylady's Healing Story

The Hoja and the Elephant

The Tamerlane had given an elephant to the Hoja's village.  A gift from the Tamerlane is a great honor, but the village suffered from the appetite and destruction of the great elephant.  The Hoja was asked to go to Tamerlane to explain the problem and return the elephant, but without offending the giver.  Hoja agreed, if they would all go with him.  Along the way, the Hoja was rehearsing his speech and did not notice his neighbors slipping away from the group.

When he reached the Tamerlane, he began, "Oh Great Tamerlane, the elephant was a wonderful gift, but my friends and I," and as he turned around to indicate his friends, he realized they were not there, "my friends and I feel she is lonely."

The Tamerlane gladly gave the Hoja a second elephant, with which he returned to his village.  His friends surrounded him with complaints, but the Hoja merely smiled and replied, "And where were you as I talked with the Tamerlane?  Be glad he didn't send more."     Contributed by Mary Garrett

Ed Note from Kathy Sweeney: I've known about this for awhile and wanted to keep the secret so Mary could share it with the entire TLC Family.  This is a tremendous honor for her, and as you can tell, it is well-earned. I cannot tell you how proud I am of her and her willingness to keep the faith.  I have this story on my wall where I see it every day. The lessons of love and friendship and loyalty are truly profound - which is the gift of the true Storyteller.  It reminds me to be thankful for people like Mary, who work so hard at their art so the rest of us can be inspired. It reminds me of Rachel and Kate, who will be graduating soon.  And it reminds me of how blessed I am to be a part of the entire TLC Family, where art and books are treasured rather than brawn or money - where we are all part of something bigger.  MAZELTOV, Mary!!


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YAAAAAAAYYYY Mary!!! I'm so proud of you, and so proud you're representing my region. Wish I could be there in person just to cheer you on. So glad you kept applying. ;)

Oh wow.....this is great but the best of all are the goals completed....mazel tov friend.

From a mom of a storyteller

Congratulations! I know you'll do great! It's wonderful when things happen this way...

Congratulations, Mary!!

This is so great and it could not happen to a more deserving person.
You are an inspiration to us all!!

Mary, storytellers are the healers of villages, of cultures. I can only work with one person at a time, but you can tell to dozens, hundreds, in one evening. Brava!! Many congratulations, and have a lot of fun getting ready for your travels: the road has only just begun.

Mary this is GREAT news! Congratulations!

"Living well is the best revenge." George Herbert

In the words of the great storyteller, Bart Simpson...

Cowabunga, Dude!

Mary, it's wonderful to see your name on the top of the blog especially when you're sharing such Wonderful news. Congratulations! I wish I could be in Woodland Hills this summmer...

Congratulations Mary!

We may not be there in person, but we'll be there in spirit cheering you on.

Mary, what excellent news! Congratulations, and yay for your region.

Will your performance make it to YouTube? If so, you must share!

Mary, you remind me of our Holly: gently persistent and never saying die. It's impossible to say no to either of you, so this does not surprise me!

Brava, my dear friend. I wish you tons of success, and fun, with this event.

Congratulations, Mary! This is very exciting, indeed, and an inspiring story already. Best to you.

Yay! Thrilled, tickled, all of it for you. (Can I count my happy dance as part of my minutes of exercise for the week?)

Thanks for sharing such a great story . . .

This is a wonderful, inspiring blog! PERFECT for the first day of Spring when we need to remember that from death (disappointment) comes life (growth!) Thank you Mary. It's a fantastic story.

A note about friends: recently I ran into the school librarian who has been tried worse than job. Her husband, an artist, has been struggling with cancer ever since their youngest daughter was a little girl. She's in high school now. But as her husband's cancer has progressed, the people of her little town in Vermont have gently, sweetly, been helping. No fanfare. No Parade of Casseroles.

For example, she came home from work to find a bundle of kindling on her front step. (Necessary in VT.) The other day, she came home from work to find a neighbor had stopped by to spend the day with her husband and to clean the bathroom.

Little supports, just sticking by someone, mean so much.

And, Mary, you deserve to achieve every goal - even, despite Dr. Phil, the impossible ones.

Judy, happy dance minutes count double.

What a touching story, Sarah. I'm in awe of such love and thoughtfulness.

Congratulations Mary. So wonderful and so well-deserved. What a wonderful start to the day to hear your inspirational story.

YAY, Mary!!! Congratulations. We're all thrilled and proud of you. I can't wait to hear how it goes. Godspeed.

Happy dance in progress as we speak. Puff Puff Puff. I'm really putting my heart into this happy dance cuz you deserve it. Way to go, Mary.

I had a very clever way to say congratulations and, of course, this swiss cheese brain lost it!

Needless to say, you deserve this honor & will do us proud here in this region.

Mary, this is probably a leap here but I am thinking that you would be a perfect candidate for Jane Pauley's new series on the Today Show. It is a monthly series in which Jane interviews people who have succeeded in making life transitions.
I was thinking of you today when I went to Jane's first interview on the Today Show Internet site.
I always am so happy when I see people who fight to get what they want and I guess that would be you, Mary, in the highest degree. All the Best!!

Aw . . . y'all are making me misty! Big hugs all around! (and Happy Dance is the BEST exercise!)
There is a possibility that NSN will put the concert on their site. Meanwhile, my sweet niece put my Frog Prince on You Tube and my niece has put my Frog Prince on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjPHlP09F44 and I have other stories audible on my storytellermary.com website.
I still haven't heard any frogs outside my house, but I heard some at the U Extension campus last night, after a wonderful storytelling at an awards dinner. I began with "Sheherazade" (who cared about other people as these women do), then the "Beggar Prince" story, which went well with their "Sailing toward Change" theme, and ended with the paper folding story (hat/boat/life jacket) and the reminder to "wear your life jackets as you sail toward change."
Thank goodness Rachel and Phil helped me not give up! Hmm, how does one apply to be on Jane Pauley's show??

You do deserve this, Mary. Congratulations and admiration for the honor and the way you changed your focus.

Mary, Mary, this was the best news to wake up to today! Yay, yay. And Woodland Hill's just a stone's throw from my house, but alas, I will be in Park City that weekend, at a family reunion. But I'll send a friend to go in my place.

THere's no one who deserves this more than our Mary.

WTG Mary!! You make us all so proud! (sniffsniff I am not going to cry!)

This is wonderful, Mary, just plain wonderful. Congratulations!

What is it about Sheherezade, do you suppose? Still a bringer of good fortune, in all her different forms, after all these centuries!

Sheherazade is my hero and I wish we could heal this world with stories. I guess we are, bit by bit.
BTW, for anyone coming to (or living in) the St. Louis area, Gateway Storytellers and I tell stories the first Tuesday of every month at Java G's http://www.javags.com/

Story telling is the way the soul speaks to us, when we are too busy to listen. What a lovely honor, and I wish you all the joy. Fie on those who would bring you down...

"Fie on" -- I love that. . . and now I'm humming the song from Camelot!
I'll add it to "may the deepest desires of their soul be satisfied."

Sarah, friends who keep you company AND clean the bathroom -- priceless!

Congratulations Mary!

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Oh, Mary, how awesome! What an honor to be selected to represent the whole region. I'm sure you'll be wonderful. Way to go girl!

And Sarah, your friend's VT neighbors show what friendship is all about...being there through thick and thin, and helping whenever you can. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Oh Mary, that is twelve different kind of awesome - CONGRATULATIONS!!! If one is unable to travel to California, how does one go about enjoying your winning performance?

kind, kinds, really they're the same thing ...

Yeah, what Katherine C. said . . . !
Although, with any luck at all, I'll be able to attend in person, since Woodland Hills is only about 20 miles up the road from my usual circuit!

Oh, Mary! I've been away all day and just got back to back to find this..oh, I am so thrilled!You are astonishingly talented and perceptive and connected--do you know, that shines through in every one of your comments! And this is just--perfect. Can't wait to hear hear more. AH. Lovely.

Katherine, what a great question (and you didn't even ask me to pay you. My CDs are on CDBaby and Frog is on iTunes (it takes a while for it to show up) -- links for that (and info on buying them directly from me ;-) is on my website, which I think works if you just click my name below??
Hank, Paula, everyone, you make me feel so good -- thanks!
I'm facing some family challenges all of a sudden, which are only beginning to hit me, so this is a lovely bit of positive energy to help me through.
Guess another thank you to Elaine for leading me here -- thanks all!!

links ARE on my web site --- (and I taught language arts!)
In my defense, it has been a stressful day.

Mary - sorry to hear you are stressed out. Now print out this blog and all the comments, and keep them for when you need to remind yourself that you are MAGNIFICENT!

Love it. Love it. YOur story helps keep the perspective. Focus on what you can control -
Thanks Mary.

Kathy, I love country music too..but then I like a lot of different styles of music.
This morning we had our grandson in the car and just to bug him we turned on a country station. I asked him if he likes country and he told us that he didn't and that's why he has his Ipod tuned to Metallica and hip hop.
As a family we go to touring productions of Broadway shows and have seen Wicked and Mary Poppins. The guys in the family are patient and go along with us.
High School productions have always been high priorities including Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line and others in which our kids participated.
Music ooncerts with Sarah Brightman, Reba Mcentyre and a whole lot more have been fun.
Hope to see more. My daughter is in New York city and guess what they have planned..a performance of Wicked..lucky girl.
Best concert ever was Phil Collins at Dodger Stadium!

oops, posted on wrong topic.

What a weekend for me to be traveling! Are you still here, Mary? Many, many congrats to you--one who clearly deserves success and joy.

Thanks, Nancy -- I have saved all these, and you all help me more than you can even imagine!

Hi all , it is nice stuff. right now i am very busy in network+ exam.ok

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