Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chasing Dreams

by Donna MacMeans

I don't watch a lot of television, but I do like the early shows of American Idol. Thanks to the snow and ice that canceled my aerobic class last night, I was able to see the first reduction of the show's final twenty-four contestants. Did you watch it?

I identify with this show. Not that I can sing. (Okay so the photo is a fish - but that's the general reaction to my singing.) But for many years, I was an older version of those young hopefuls, chasing the dream of seeing my work in print. I'd enter a contest, wait and wait to learn that I was a finalist, and then hope and pray that my writing was good enough to win. Often it wasn't and someone else won the honor.

However, nothing ever happened to me like what happened Thursday night. Here's the deal:

The contestants, all young and all talented, performed a solo over two nights of shows. Some of the performances were absolutely amazing. Some were lackluster. After the performances, fans were invited to vote via telephone for their favorites and based on the tabulation, two men and two women were dismissed from the show.

Now we know all this from the get-go. Much like the writing contests, the finalists will slowly be weeded down to an ultimate winner. Honestly, this doesn't bother me as the contestants know a lot is riding on their performance and this contest gives them a shot they wouldn't ordinarily receive.

However, Thursday night, the moderator turned to judge Simon Cowell and asked if he had any advice for one of the departing male contestants. Cowell's advice: "go get a job and make music your hobby because you'll never make it in this industry."

OUCH! I think everyone was in shock for a few minutes.

Now I must admit the music industry is a hard road to fame. I think only one or two of the past winners of American Idol went on to release hits. This kid's one performance was lackluster compared to the others - not bad - just not as good.

So did he deserve to have his dreams trounced upon in such a public forum? Was Simon doing him a favor and sparing him future heartache? Could Simon's criticism actually spur the young singer to try harder and smarter? Has anyone ever trounced on your dreams either accidentally or in the vein of "doing you a favor"? How did you react?

I'll pick someone from the posted comments to receive a copy of The Education of Mrs. Brimley and - as Mardi Gras as recently passed - a sequined Mardi Gras bandit mask.

Don't forget our own Trish is embroiled in an American Idol like contest of her own. The American Title contest is down to two finalists and Trish is one of them. Anyone can vote for a winner and it won't even cost you a phone call. Click on the Vote Trish button in the scroll and help her reach the limelight.


Christine Wells said...


Christine Wells said...

Woohoo, the GR stays Downunder. Cocktails by the pool this evening, although the heat is likely to roast the poor bird. Summer has dragged its heels down here, but finally, it has come.

Donna, I hate hearing someone stamp on dreams like that. I don't think anyone has the right, because you can never see what the future holds. OK, if I'm five foot nothing, someone can tell me I'm never going to make it as a catwalk model or a soldier--that's probably a kindness. But not when there is any chance at all that the person will succeed. That's unnecessarily cruel. I suppose that's what we can expect from Simon. That's what he's there for--to stir things up.

No one has really stomped on my dreams (except when they told me I'd never be a catwalk model *g*) but a person very dear to me once said in a comforting tone that my writing was a nice little hobby. I think she was trying to take the pressure off because I so longed to see my books published and it didn't happen in five minutes. I was sensible enough to realize that she didn't know how publishing worked and had no idea how close I was at that stage, or how serious I was about the biz. Anyway, no one could have been more delighted when I did sell, so that was nice.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, the Rooster has another day in hot old Oz! Whoo-hooo! I hope you've put him in the pool to cool off a couple of times today. It's been stinky up on the Sunshine Coast.

Donna, great post. I hate it when people stamp on other people's dreams because the other thing that nobody can know is how much someone can improve. I've seen people's work at the start of their time as writers and it's amazing what hard work, dedication and a good attitude can do to even the most unpromising beginner. So boo, hiss to SC!!!

Anna Campbell said...

And everybody - VOTE FOR TRISH!!! Hit that button and give her your big mwah of approval.

She's so close to a publishing contract on her fabulous paranormal and it would be fantastic if she won. She works so hard, she's so talented and she deserves good karma after all the volunteer work she's done on behalf of us all.


Jane said...

I actually agree with Simon most of the time. His observations and opinions are usually spot on. I do think that at times he's insensitive, but I think it's also important not to coddle someone who's not as talented as they think they are.

Tawny said...

Ouch. I have to admit, I've never watched the show, but that kind of comment stings. Then again, from what I've read, that kind of comment is typical of Simon. Much like our amazing Trish and the comments she gets (altho you have to admit, the RT judges so far have pretty great taste, since they are loving her awesome story -VOTE FOR TRISH!!) there is one judge that is reputed to be snarky --and thats why many people watch! They want to see Simon's snark just as much as they want to see who wins.

Not that I'm advocating stomping on dreams. I've had some nasty contest feedback and and stinging reviews. Not fun! But, as much as the snotty rude comments upset me, they also pushed me to write stronger, to prove myself. You know, all that great motivational stuff *g*

Christine -go you on the GR... don't roast that bird, though. Crispy Rooser just doesn't sound right.

Carol said...

How many time do we hear an interview with a writer, singer, actor, dancer, academic, where they say someone said to them "you'll never be able to do that!" and that comment will be the one thing they remember later...that made the author/dancer/singer say to themselves "I'll show you what I can do"
It brings out the 'when the going gets tough...the tough get going'

I hope that young man is one of the TUFF.

Many great entertainers have other talents apart from their voice...Louis Armstrong for one, another is ...well Tom Waites. I'm sure everyone can think of a great example!

Donna MacMeans said...

I'm sure the GR will be happier in sunny Oz than in the frozen tundra that lies outside my window. We got rain yesterday that froze on top of the snow. My poor old dog was having a hard time walking a few feet in that mess. Congratulations Christine.

Donna MacMeans said...

Christine - LOL on the hobby comments. I suppose some consider training for the Olympics "just a hobby" as well. I'm glad her comment, though, was based in caring for you. Chasing publication can be taxing on the soul.

Anna - Isn't that the truth? I love watching a new writer grow and blossom as various craft components start to click. The boy had to have some talent or he'd never have made it that far.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jane - Yeah, I agree with him most of the time too - that's why this comment took me by surprise. I mean it's one thing to say "I didn't like it. You sounded very cabaret" when the others are saying what a great job the person did. And another to say "You have no future in this industry".

But I wonder if that was a set-up. They don't typically go to Simon for advice on departing contestants, do they? Seacrest seemed determine to wake Simon up for advice -- I wonder if he knew Simon was going to say that?

Donna MacMeans said...

Tawny - I've read your books so I'm quite sure no contest judge ever said that you were wasting your time pursuing publication.

Yes. I think Simon's snarky comments help fuel the show - but he's often right and says the things the others won't. This comment, though, really seemed especially harsh. I hope I never trounce on someone dreams like that when I'm wearing the contest judge hat.

Donna MacMeans said...

Carol - Yeah. Can you say Jennifer Hudson *G*? Didn't she say repeatedly "so there" to Simon as she accepted numerous awards for her performance in Dreamgirls?
I hope the kid is TUFF and decides to show SImon what-for.

tetewa said...

I sometimes agree with him but I think alot of times he's to harsh on the contestants. They need to hear if their not good enough but he sometimes comments to harshly.

doglady said...

Yes, the GR was definitely craving some warmth and cocktails! Congrats, Christine!

This topic is a tough one for me. I had a student whose aunt was an opera singer and her father (a state senator) was determined that his daughter be one as well. I was her voice teacher for over a year. She was a very musical person, a talented pianist, but the voice was simply not there. She knew that and eventually the lessons became a chore. Since she could not bring herself to disappoint her folks she stuck with it. After a conversation with her, I broke the news to the senator that while she was a talented musician she would never be a singer. We were wasting my time, her time and her dad's money. He did not take it well, but the girl was grateful.

My BFF and I have a pact. She is an avid American Idol fan and she will watch and then IM and ask me who has talent and who doesn't. So many of these people who show up at the auditions do so because their friends don't tell them "YOU CANNOT SING" My BFF and I promise not to "American Idol" each other when it comes to our writing. In other words, if it isn't good, we tell each other!

Joan said...

I've only watched the first part of American Idol last year....the very FIRST part which is kind of like watching a car know it's horrible but you can't tear your eyes away.

The whole Simon being mean thing has gotten old and stale. And I think he often does say nasty mean things because he is a nasty mean guy.

I've never had my dreams actually stomped on....trivilized...but never stomped on (Except when, like Christine they poo poo'd her catwalk aspirations. Mine? It was the same old "You'll never be Playmate of the Year"

Oh, yeah!!! Oh, yeah!!!!

Oh. Yeah.


My true reaction to any attempt to tell me I "can't" is to say I WILL.

And Christine...congrats on the GR. The poor boid needs some consistency in his life...and more Tim Tams

doglady said...

However, I am a firm believer in the possibilities if one combines a bit of talent with a willingness to learn and a lot of hard work! That is how I see my writing. I have a bit of talent and I am going to work my tail feathers (bows to the GR) off to become the best writer I can. This has been my dream since I was 9 years old. I put it on hold to pursue my opera dream, but now it is my one dream to become a published writer.

Dreams should never be lightly dismissed or underestimated. Every great invention, every great endeavor of man started as a dream - from the space missions, to the discovery of America, to the writings of Jane Austen. Each started as a dream and were achieved with above all else clear vision and perseverance. Of course, with great daring comes great possibility for someone to shoot you down. I am a great believer in success being the very best revenge.

When I auditioned for opera companies here in the States I was turned down over and over. My voice teacher kept saying "It will happen. Remember these directors' names and send them an invitation to your debut." She is the one who had a needlework piece in her studio that said "Success is the Best Revenge." One audition in Austria was all it took. I had a small, successful career and I lived my dream. And yes, I did send each of those director's an invitation!

And you can rest assured I will send everyone who told me I would never be a published romance writer a copy of my first book!

Anonymous said...

Pam, I love hearing your opera stories. They're an insight into a world that I never even knew existed! Isn't it funny how we all have our little universes, and they are so real and overwhelming to us (cause we're in them) and folks who live right next door might as well be on another planet?

(Wow, that was a lot of space analogies in one paragraph!)

Anyway, I used to like AI, but like everything, it gets old after a while. I have some sympathy for the kids on the show, but ultimately, it's buyer beware. AI makes money and gets viewers by Simon being mean. Everyone knows that. You get on the show, you put a bulls eye on your forehead.

No one ever tried directly to dash my hopes and dreams, but after 100++ rejections, they didn't have to. I knew I could be a decent writer -- but did I have that special something that would take me over the edge and get me sold? I seriously doubted it. I thought about quitting (don't we all?). But I HAD to write. It wasn't really an option for me. And I HAD to keep trying. Even while I would doubt my abilities, I found myself submitting to that next contest, or sending out ONE MORE QUERY.

I don't know about others, but I didn't keep trying because I knew in my heart I would sell. I didn't. I kept trying because my heart wouldn't let me give up.

Hugs to everyone following their dreams!!

Anonymous said...

Donna, I was thinking Jennifer Hudson, too. Simon is usually right, but not always!! :-)

Christine, I wish we had some of your heat. We're knee deep in the cold season here and it feels like we've all been sick for months. I was at the urgent care last night 'cause my asthma has been bad and they told me the hospitals are all overflowing with kids with flu, RSV, and other horrible viruses.

(by the way, I'm now taking steroids, so if I get a little loopy, you'll know why!)

Anonymous said...

jane, I think you're right. I know I was desperate for some straight talk when I was getting all those rejection letters. Sometimes agents and editors say something nice just so you don't go postal on them, and if you ask me, that's worse than saying, "sorry, I didn't think your writing was good enough to publish." I did have an agent say that to me once, but I actually really appreciated it. It didn't bum me out, it just made me want to figure out what I needed to do to make my writing better.

Joan, LOL about Playmate of the Year!

Nathalie said...

I don't watch American Idol... no one has stumpled on my dream, even if people have discouraged me... however, I usually only listen to the people who matter to me and they always have encouraged me to pursuie my aspirations :)

Lily said...

I have never seen American Idol, especially because of Simon's cynical comments...

I think we should not really comment on someone's dream because we never know what the future holds for us. I remember my brother had a friend in high school who wanted to be a singer, and a lot of the guys used to laugh at him... now 10 years later and he is a major star in France :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Tetewa - Some of his comments are too cruel - esp. if they are of a more personal nature and have nothing to do with music. Remember when he told one contestant he had lemur eyes? On Thursday he said the other dismissed contestant looked sleepy, like he'd fallen out of bed. I thought he looked cute (of course, he was the Ohio contestant.)

Doglady - Wow, that would be tough. Hmmm - I could see that as a subplot to a story.

The difference is that you talked to the daughter. You knew her heart wasn't it in, that this wasn't her dream. Now I might be being too harsh with Simon, maybe he had talked to the kid and the two of them came to the same conclusion, and thought to tell his parents in this fashion - but it sure didn't sound like that.

Donna MacMeans said...

Joan - No one - no one - would ever trounce on your dreams...especially with those hunky Romans behind you. Heck, I doubt the nay-sayers would even whisper a word about the Playboy cover gig. *g*

Trivialize...when they happens to everyone who is trying to reach a dream that others decide is just too much effort, but I know you have the strength of character to see you through.

Donna MacMeans said...

Doglady says: I am a firm believer in the possibilities if one combines a bit of talent with a willingness to learn and a lot of hard work!

Amen Sister! Based on your contest success, I'd say you definitely have the talent and the drive to carry you through. LOL on the directors & invitations to the debut. Only the contest judges that gave me high scores ever signed the scoresheet so the ones with the less-than-kind comments remain anonymous. I do know the names of the editors and agents that rejected me over the years. I never thought to send them a copy of Mrs. Brimley - now that's a temptation...

Donna MacMeans said...

Kirsten - You're taking steroids? Then let me phrase my comments very carefully...from a distance...
back away slowly.

LOL on the space analogies. I love Pam's stories as well. It's funny that I feel I know you guys better than I do my neighbors and I actually see them periodically. Isn't it amazing what the internet can do?

Yes. I understand wanting feedback, esp. from an industry professional. But I think being placed in that position carries a responsibility with it not to blindly bash someone's aspirations. It would be nice if those rejection letters carried a constructive comment or two, but I suppose that would take entirely too much time (and actually require reading beyond the first paragraph before rendering a decision)to be practical - hence the nonhelpful form letter.

My favorite rejection letter came from an agent. The form letter was the "not for us at this time" variety, but the agent added a handwritten note on the bottom that said - this has potential, too bad it's an historical. That pretty much said to me that this book will sell but you have to do the legwork to find the right editor.

Donna MacMeans said...

Nathalie & Lily - I usually don't watch American Idol because I do aerobics and yoga most nights when it's on, so this was a rare - dare I say it - treat.

Lily - What a neat story about your brother's friend and a reminder that persistence is key. I suspect he had a lot of Simons in those ten years suggesting he drop the hobby and get a real job.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

The only dreams that I have knowingly stomped on was my daughter's, her dream was to be an all out brat and I stomped on those big time!!! I have several dreams either stomped, pushed aside, or minimized. In most cases, that made me just dig my heels in and try harder. Did I get all my dreams? No, but I got the ones that counted, the ones I was truly capable of achieving. In other words the ones I truly worked for.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

On the subject of Voting for Trish, I most certainly did and I have to say that the scene made my throat go dry. Banditas and guests, you all are going to have to space these things out a little more because my TBR pile is reaching dangerous heights and my purse is so small I have to dig for a half hour just to find it.LOL

jo robertson said...

Oh, no GR's back in Aussie-land! Keep him sober, Christine.

American Idol is the ONLY reality I watch, Donna, great comparison with writing dreams, or any kind of dreams.

But, remember how thoroughly Jennifer Hudson proved Simon's estimate of her wrong?! Gotta love that and her attitude.

I think dreams should NEVER be squashed, especially for young people. Our talents and abilities, drive and ambition are often latent. Sometimes they don't even emerge until later in life, REALLY later!

catslady said...

I think there's a fine line sometimes. I know of parents who tell their kids they're wonderful at everything and then what a shock when they get into the real world and find out they aren't the darlings of the world. I think you can support and still be critical. My kids learned early on that if I praised something, it was usually well deserved. Maybe because my parents were critical of everything which most of the time made me want to try harder but a lot of the time just totally made me give up.

Gillian Layne said...

I think the single best thing people pursuing a dream can do is open themselves up to a bit of criticism. It helps, of course, to know who you respect in your given field and get feedback from them, but if that's not possible, then get a LOT of it from a variety of people. One contest result means little. Twelve results, and you would at least hope to see a semblance of consistent remarks.

It really does matter who that feedback comes from, of course. If twelve professional football players tell you it's not going to happen, you might want a back-up plan. If one coach in middle school says "no way!", then you'd better figure out if you have the personality and perseverance required to stick with a dream that might not come easily. But he's just one guy.

I've seen my disabled students in school move mountains, so it all usually boils down to is how stubborn you are and how hard you want to work.

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, and I think Simon is the reason American Idol stays on the air, and all those people have their chance, so they'd probably better thank their lucky stars he's so controversial.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Pam, on a serious note, I think that's one of the things learning music does for you. It teaches you that there's no quick fixes and anything you really want will take time and work and heartbreak and dedication. Learning the piano (extremely badly but for basically all of my formal education) taught me so much that has stood me in good stead in other fields, especially writing. I think in almost all cases, anything that's really worthwhile isn't going to arrive giftwrapped on a silver platter after five minutes of wishing for it. As an opera singer, you know exactly what I'm talking about! It's work, work, work and you have to be tough and persistent!

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, money spent on books gets you points in heaven! ;-)And yes, I'm drowning in the TBR pile too although I finally got to a real treat yesterday and read Tawny's wonderful Does She Dare? Highly recommended! Sexy, funny, sweet and with a real emotional punch!

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL Dianna - You always make me laugh with your comments. You're pursuing writing, aren't you? If so, hurry up and get that baby published. I want to see your voice in a story.

As for the success of the banditas - it's amazing, isn't it? We were all unpublished when we entered the 2006 GH. I know Anna had a contract before the July conference. Tawny, didn't you as well? In two years we have eleven published banditas out of the twenty originals. The remaining nine are on the cusp. If anyone needs proof that dreams can be realized - this is the place to see it happening.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo - I hear ya! I'm one of the REALLY laters myself *g*. We're proof that it's never too late to chase a dream.

Catslady - You're right, of course. It's hard, sometimes, though to know how to couch those comments.

My husband and I had been married maybe five years when I convinced him to go back to the university to get his degree. He did and learned that very few of his credits from two years of college transferred, so he had to take freshman English again. He asked me to look over one of his essays. I guess I didn't realize he was particularly proud of it. I thought it was good, but it needed some tweaking, some parallels, some better word choices. When he finally turned in the paper, he got an A. However I hadn't realized how much my critiquing affected him until many, many years later - when my teenage daughter was in high school. His advise to her - never ask your Mom to critique your work - she'll tear it to shreds. Ouch! That hurt.

brownone said...

Aww, I actually LOVE Simon. I know, it's sick. I think it's the accent because I love Gordon Ramsey too. Hmm...I think I see a pattern developing here...
Anyhow, most of the time I think he's right. As for me, I know I've stomped on dreams. My little sister LOVES anime and wants to be a cartoonist for anime cartoons. Well, the poor thing cannot draw worth a darn. And, she's just like those singers at the beginning of Idol who think they can sing. I don't get it. But I really do think they're delusional. Anyhow, I've told her that her drawings are not really that great but some of her friends tell her they're great (not wantint to hurt her feelings). I don't make fun of her but I do want to save her from future embarassment. It's like they say..those who can..

brownone said...

Oh, and congrats Christine!! :-)

Donna MacMeans said...

Gillian- Constructive feedback from contests certainly helped me learn my strengths and weaknesses. You're correct that constructive criticism (must be constructive) from the right people is worth taking to heart. Destructive criticism - not so much.

Speaking of the amazing ability of some people to accomplish their dreams - there's a teenage boy here in Ohio with no arms and no legs - yet he's a fierce wrestler. Seriously. He's looking to be qualified to wrestle in the State meet, but he's a fierce competitor. His dream, beyond that of wrestling for all-state status, is to be a coach. That's dedication.

Donna MacMeans said...

Yes. And you're right, Gillian. If it weren't for Simon's snarky comments, American Idol wouldn't be on the air. Still...there's a limit to snarkiness...

Helen said...

Yay Christine on the GR

Great post Donna I firmly believe that if you are honest with yourself about what you can do you can get there with perseverance. I watch Australian Idol and love the show our judges can be so cruel sometimes but sometimes their advice is really good I have bought a lot of the winners CD's and really enjoy them.

Way to go Trish I have voted for you.

Have Fun

jo robertson said...

LOL, Donna, I hope I'm not too old to get published. If so, I'm in deep doo-doo.

Donna MacMeans said...

Brownone - How old is your sister?
There's a book DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR BRAIN that she might enjoy. The contention is - everyone can draw. If you can hold a pencil, you can draw. The problem is - your left-sided brain & the brains of others - keep telling you that you can't because what you draw doesn't look like what they expect to see. If you can turn off that internal critic (known by writers as the internal editor) and simply draw what you see, you'll see amazing results.

There's an exercise where you first try to draw one of Picasso's complex line drawings. Chances are the artist will add lots of things in their version that's not in the original simply because their brain tells them fingers must have fingernails, or buttons need to be on the coat. However, if you turn the original print upside down, it tricks the brain and the artist generally does a very good rendition of the original. I've seen this work.

Don't give up on her, or better yet - don't let her give up on herself. You never know what could result.

Tawny said...

I know Anna had a contract before the July conference. Tawny, didn't you as well?

Yup, I sold in May before conference. After Anna, though *g*

Thanks, though (to you AND Anna, who is my new favorite ego booster LOL) but I've had some nasty contest feedback. None that said to give up writing, but some that made me doubt if I had what it took.

I do agree that nastiness for nastiness sake is horrible. I think people like Simon definitely deserve karmic retrobution! But I think it was JT that said if someone told her she couldn't, she'd work that much stronger to prove she could. Stubbroness is sometime just as necessary (not a replacement tho) as talent, I think.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Helen! I guess that's right. I'd forgotten there's an Australian version and an English version of Idol. You mean snarkiness isn't limited to Simon? It's universal? *g*

Anna - I'd love to learn to play the piano. For Valentine's day, I surprised my husband with a guitar. He used to play long before I met him. His expression was priceless. I hope he doesn't decide to reciprocate with a piano *g*. As much as I'd love to learn I'm not sure I can find the time. We all have our priorites.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL - Well stubborness I have in spades - ask my husband! Yes, stubborness and persistence are necessary in chasing any dream. Of course amazing talent doesn't hurt *g*

Esri Rose said...

American Idol: Odds are good that they told the guy ahead of time that Simon would say something negative about him. It's all part of the show.

As for whether it's okay to say something like that in real life, I think telling someone they'll *never* succeed is the height of egotism. You're saying that you're the final arbiter of everyone's taste and you know exactly what the person in front of you is capable of achieving. Please.

When I hear someone excuse meanness by saying, "I'm just letting them know what they're going to have to deal with," I think that person either likes to be mean or doesn't want to take the time to come up with constructive criticism. You can certainly do someone a favor by saying, "My opinion is that you're not where you need to be for what you want, and this is what I think you'd have to do/have."

Doglady, I think your action with the singing student was kind, since the girl was clearly was not into it. It had to be painful and boring from your standpoint. No one wants an unwilling, disinterested student. BTW, I'm a chorus geek. And I also know that I have a "chorus voice," not a "solo voice." Which is fine. You really don't want to listen to a chorus made up of soloists. (shudder)

Go Trish!

Anna Campbell said...

Yeah, but Tawny honey, you know I'm completely sincere! And the best part of your book was that it was just so much FUN to read!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh Anna, I should have lots and lots of points by now. Between the Banditas and their guest bloggers I have filled up two more shelves, 2 deep. The ladies at work are going nuts because I am reading in double time....LOL I keep at book in my coat pocket at all times (I am in trouble when warm weather hits), one in the basement where my laundry is, one in the bath, one in my bedroom and all the rest next to my reading chair on the bookshelves.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Donna, I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination. I am just a very avid reader.
I have so much about what you authors have to go through to get your babies out there for us to enjoy. I have always respected authors, I have always loved to read. I never knew until the Banditas though just what all you have to go through just get those precious volumes out to the public.

Amy S. said...

I have been watching AI most of this season. I think it will make him try harder to prove Simon wrong.

doglady said...

Good evening, Banditas and cohorts! I VOTED FOR TRISH and pointed all of my friends in her direction as well!

Kirtsen, you are so right. Each and every person who drops by here opens a whole new world to me and that is never a bad thing. As opera was my world for a very long time these stories are just day to day events to me. I never realized to others that this is indeed a somewhat alien world!

Donna, I dare you to send copies of your fabulous book to the people who rejected it. When I was in grad school I auditioned for a role in Menotti's THE TELEPHONE. Everyone, including the orchestra conductor said I nailed the audition. I didn't get the part. A pretty buxom blond got it. Opening night, the president of the university and his wife in attendance and the girl has laryngitis. I am working backstage (required when you are in a college opera company)The man who rejected me for the female lead had to come and ASK me if I knew the role (I did) then I made him ASK me to substitute for his star. I was not going to volunteer. I had a good night, got a huge ovation. Neither my voice teacher nor my husband had intended to attend the performance. They each received a phone call from a dear tenor friend of mine as the curtain went up, but they saw most of the performance. When my voice teacher came backstage to congratulate me I leaned over and said "You're right. Success IS the best revenge!"

Anna C, you are so right. Music is a lifelong study. There is always something new to learn, some aspect to perfect. It definitely teaches patience, hard work, discipline and the importance of having a very thick skin and an innate unshakable faith in whatever kernel of talent you have to carry you to the level you want to achieve. The only thing standing between you and achieving that level is you.

limecello said...

I love the earlier shows for American Idol as well. Sometimes - I don't like the backlash of the comments, like that one person who had no talent, but then got record deals because it really was a big joke. Maybe Simon could be a little nicer- but at the same time, these contestants are trying to get a record deal. I think they should be realistic, and listen to themselves and think "should my voice be heard on the radio?" "would I want to listen to this on the radio?" And also - they should respect the judges - someone wouldn't (or shouldn't) submit something written in illegible crayon, using horrible grammar and sentence structure, with no original ideas for a writing competition. The same goes for singing.
And maybe, the harsh criticism will encourage the person to push themselves to do better and come back and wow everyone. Also, I'm sure the show edits out all the nicer/normal criticism and leaves the harshest comments to draw viewers. Such is reality television.

Donna MacMeans said...

Sorry that I had to disappear for so long. We had a dinner party to attend and I had just sat down to let everyone know I'd be back in a few hours when our ride showed up.

The dinner party was with a group of friends that tries to get together every couple of months. The theme for tonight was London and I was assigned the dessert, Spotted Dick, which is basically a steamed bread dough with currants in it. The blasted thing took hours to cook - which didn't leave me much time to get ready for the evening. Oh well, I'm back now.

Donna MacMeans said...

Esri - THe more I think of it, the more I suspect the kid knew what was coming. I mean - he took it so calmly. I know I'd have more of a reaction if someone had told me I wasn't good enough. I hope he proves Simon wrong.

Dianna - Well, I still enjoy your voice. I hope we meet at some reader event. FWIW, I'm generally reading multiple books as well. Crazy, huh?

Amy S. I hope you're right.

Doglady - a dare, huh *g* Isn't that Tawny's territory *g*? If I knew the judges who gave me low scores, I'd send them a book. However, editors change frequently change houses. I wouldn't want to antagonize any editor as there's always the chance you'll be workings with them in the future. Same thing with agents. I love my agent, but you never know what the future holds. A writer can have several agents in the course of a writing career. So I'd be hesitent to aggressively remind them of their short-sightedness.

But you never know. Maybe if I ever hit the lists, I'll reconsider *g*.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL, Limecello, I've judged a number of writing contests and I always try to say something nice before I begin making suggestions - but sometimes it's a real struggle. Still, you try to stay positive.

But reality television does thrive on the nasty comments. Do you think this affects how people deal with each other these days? I wonder if reality TV influences people in that matter. Boy, I hope not.

Donna MacMeans said...

And the winner is ...Amy S

Amy if you go to my website at and send me your contact information, I'll get that copy of Mrs. Brimley & Mask to you.

Thanks Everyone

Keira Soleore said...

A yay for Trish, of course!

Christine? You? Fab party planned!!

Trounced on my dreams? O yea many times in my childhood and then. Family--sigh! They always know which buttons to push and push them hard and push them regularly.

I wanted to be a writer and an English major. Knew that when I was eight and had started writing a farming story with a fairly complicated cast of children, older people, and animals. (I named one of the cows Rhododendron that had my brother in stitches.)

Now, I'm a writer, an AYU, but moving along in the right direction. I know I want to do it, and I'm doing it.

THe latest book covers on you sidebar are wonderful!!