I don’t watch much television. Primarily because my work hours on the new plantation don’t allow for much time in front of my set and secondly because, well, there’s not much that tickles my fancy in the way of television programming; outside of a few shows that I have loaded into my DVR that I like, TV and I don’t have too much quality time. I think the main thing that turned me away from television is the advent of competition shows. Survivor, The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars, Skating With The Stars, Stars in Desperate Need of Rehab, etc. There’s quite enough competition on the highways getting home here in Atlanta for me to sit down and then watch the same thing on the set. So as I sat down, still in my shirt and tie with still fading thoughts of stolen food in my head, watching NBC’s latest sensation, The Sing Off, I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a hypocrite.
Since I was around four, I have always loved to sing. I’m no Luther Vandross but I can carry a tune and hold a note thanks to the genes on my mother’s side of the family; luckily Dad’s singing genes didn’t get thrown in the pot when my ingredients were being mixed together. Church choirs, chorus at school, singing impromptu songs with friends in restaurants, I’ve always been enamored with the universal language of music so it’s not altogether weird that I watched this show with more appreciation and, dare I say, emotion than I’m sure 90% of America. What was odd was the amount of envy (I know, one of the seven deadly sins, blah blah blah, save me the sermon) I had for each of the groups that were on the stage, doing what they loved and doing it incredibly well. However my covetousness wasn’t because each of the groups had oodles of talent just spilling out of them, rather it was because each of them were having their moment, that time where all eyes are on them and is forced to gaze in amazement. I want that moment.
When I was 18, I had a borderline moment when I won a playwriting competition. Initially I was scolded harshly in front of my peers by the judges because I arrived 4 minutes late; I certainly thought that my chances were done. But after that they glowed, my characters were good, my premise was good, my story was good, and my execution was good and all that good got me a flight to Houston, Texas to compete nationally against other teenagers from around the nation where my play was ripped to shreds and called everything from “thin” to “cliché”. Amazingly, I wasn’t hurt about it, I got the experience of pitting my work against others, I got to meet people from all over the country, I got to rub elbows with some great writers, and more importantly this wasn’t the end of my road, this was only the first of my moments, I was a writing force to be reckoned with and the world (and the critics therein) hadn’t seen the last of me.
But then college, and girl chasing, and deferred collegiate soccer dreams and the subsequent depression, and graduation, and then career chasing, then unemployment and job hunting and the subsequent depression, and then work, work, work, work, work at something you don’t particularly like until you come home, unconsciously flip on the television to nothing in particular and see hordes of people of all ages taking their place in the sun doing what they absolutely love…and while catching your breath during the commercial break you’re forced to ask yourself, “what was it I was supposed to be doing again?”
Sometimes the strangest of things under the weirdest of consequences can nudge us towards our desires and wants. I’m not a fan of competition TV (ok, one, Hell’s Kitchen is my guilty pleasure, I love that show) but it was a competition show that said to me “hey man, don’t stop chasing that feeling you had when you were 18. You’ve got more moments to go. Don’t get so caught up in life that life catches you with your pants down!” So every morning since accidentally running across that show I’ve jumped out of bed excited because who knows, today might be the day I run into my opportunity. Maybe today I meet that editor or fellow writer, perhaps I meet that guy who knows a publisher, maybe someone reads something I write and they really like it, or maybe I compete in another competition and win something again.
Wake up anticipating something good, look beyond where you are and see where you’re going and if you’re not getting there it’s probably because you’re not moving. Get up and anticipate something good in your life then go make it happen…even if reality TV makes you do it.
~thanks for reading 🙂