Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Vision Thing

by Nancy

An article in the newspaper reminded me that tomorrow, July 20, is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. I remember seeing Neil Armstrong step down onto the surface of our planet's nearest neighbor. Even then, with my scifi geekdom in the budding stage, I thought this was way cool. And what took us there was vision. Imagination. The ability to see beyond "can't" to "could" and then "is." A wonderful book about the power of vision to transform one's life is October Sky by Homer Hickam, which became the moving film Rocket Boys, starring Jake Gillenhaal and Chris Cooper. The New York Times quoted Frank Borman as saying that if the moon landing had been more about vision and less about rocks, the space program might've made great strides in the interim. That's probably debatable, but for me, it was always about the vision thing.

Last night, RWA honored its RITA and GH finalists, writers whose visions touched the hearts of judges. They saw what characters "could" be and do, who mined the human potential for love and turned the ore into stories of triumph over emotional pain. As I write this, a week before you'll read it, I don't know who the winners are (will be? were?). On behalf of all the banditas, however, I congratulate them and the finalists. Not everyone can win, but everyone can sell and ascend the bestseller lists, and I wish all of you the best of luck.

The space program and the awards ceremony each resulted from careful planning and a lot of effort, albeit of different types. Sometimes, though, "stuff happens," as the saying goes, and leads to amazing results.

One example of such serendipity is the career of Greg Mortenson. His memoir, Three Cups of Tea, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for two and a half years. I attribute this success to the vision of positive change the book offers.

An experienced mountaineer, Mortenson set out to climb K2 in the Himalayas as a memorial to his deceased sister. His climb ended prematurely when a companion developed altitude sickness. Mortenson and another man carried him down the mountain, a trek that left Mortenson in rough shape as well. Disoriented and sick, he wandered away from his group and stumbled into a remote village in Pakistan. The people there took him in, fed him, and put him to bed. When he recovered, they showed him around their village. One of the things he saw was a circle of village children in a field, doing their lessons together--outside because they had no school and together because they had no teacher. And he realized building a school for these children would be a much better memorial to his sister than climbing a mountain.

Getting the school built did turn out to be a steep climb. No one with influence had ever heard of him, and raising money proved to be very difficult. But he did succeed in building the school, for girls as well as boys. As the building neared completion, people from a neighboring village arrived to ask if he'd build a school for them, too. One school led to another and another until building schools in that part of the world became his life's work. A failed effort to climb a mountain led to a vision of what could be and a step forward for some of the world's poorest people.

Two hundred thirty-three years ago, a handful of men in Philadelphia dared to challenge the world's greatest empire and most powerful navy. As Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, they "brought forth a new nation, one founded in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." As a society, we don't always live up to that ideal, but it's out there as a model, something for us to strive toward. A vision. Granted, those early patriots had help from France, which never missed a chance to bedevil England in those days, but the vision was theirs, and it was so powerful that a French marquis (Lafayette), a German baron (von Steuben), and a Polish count (Pulaski) sailed over to help lead the army. It remains so powerful that Independence Hall is a World Heritage site and people from all over the planet come to see it.

Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the other women at Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848 had a vision of women controlling their own earnings, making their own decisions as to whether to work outside the home and, most important, helping to choose their nation's leaders. That same vision propelled Martin Luther King's efforts for racial equality and shaped his stirring "I Have a Dream" speech, one of the jewels of American rhetoric. As a result, African Americans count as "whole" people instead of 2/3 in the census, and all Americans of legal age can vote.

Vision doesn't just apply to national affairs but to entertainment and daily life as well. Imagination and science together gave us refrigerators and vacuum cleaners and artificial joints, among other things. An electronics salesman from Germany, Hugo Gernsbeck, was among the first to imagine television. Gernsbeck believed science would produce a utopian world. In his 1920s electronics catalogues, he featured various products and wrote commentaries on their potential. He coined the term "scienti-fiction," which became "science fiction," and helped create fandom via his magazine Amazing Stories. The SFWA Hugo award is named for him. Amazing Stories was most popular among geeky boys, possibly including two kids from Cleveland, Ohio, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. And if you're a true geek, you know that Siegel and Shuster created Superman and spawned a comic book genre beloved by millions around the globe.

Walt Disney looked at the potential for electronics differently, applying it to sound recording and animated movies. He believed in it so strongly that he sold his car to pay for re-recording the sound on his landmark cartoon, Steamboat Willie. A visit to Coney Island, which was then declining in popularity, convinced him there was an appetite for rides and imaginative entertainment, especially if delivered by cheerful staff in a clean environment, and he shared Gernsbeck's belief in technology as a way to deliver a better life. Exhibits in Tomorrowland still explore that possibility.

Those exhibits rely on computer technology, which owes many of its advances to two geeky kids who rose from obscurity to become gurus of the computer world--Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple. We can argue about evil empires and overpriced gadgets, but vision carried both of these men to the top of their field and provides convenience (along with occasional bewilderment and frustration) to millions of people.

Another business icon frequently mocked is Martha Stewart. We the homemaking-challenged don't relate very well to Martha but can still admire her talent. She realized there was a market for ways to make life easier or prettier or tastier and built an empire showing people how to create gorgeous lifestyles. She offered a vision of a nicer, more comfortable life that many people loved. Everyone now marketing homemaking product lines, magazines, and cookbooks is following in Martha's footsteps.

Also mocked despite booming business is romance fiction. If you've watched some of the YouTube videos about romance succeeding in the economic downturn, you may have shared my desire to send a really muscular, well-armed hero or kick-ass heroine to have a word or two with the TV people. But not everyone sees romance as something to apologize for. In 1980, 37 writers shared a vision about romance and came together to form an organization supporting a genre the world at large dissed. And still does. In Houston, Texas, Romance Writers of America was born. And here we all are, as the saying goes, in or trying to be in the business of romance.

Two business owners from Ohio achieved something that changed the way people travel. At Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright doggedly pursued a vision dating back to Da Vinci and beyond, the idea that human beings might fly. One December day in 1903, their glider "slipped the surly bonds of Earth," as RCAF Flight Officer James Gillespie Magee expressed it, for 12 seconds. Aviation was born. Climbing the hill to the Wright Brothers memorial requires fighting high winds all the way. Sand blows from the beach and the dunes, a stinging bombardment at times. The National Park Service site is a great place to fly a kite if the opportunity arises, just FYI. Dealing with that wind demonstrates why the Wrights found Kitty Hawk so suitable for gliders.

North Carolina and Ohio battle over who can legitimately claim to be "first in flight" and "birthplace of aviation," as our license plates state, with Ohioans noting that the flight took place at Kitty Hawk but a lot of the groundwork was done in Dayton, at the Wrights' bicycle shop. There's a replica of the 1903 glider at Kitty Hawk, but the original is in the Smithsonian. I hope to see it between the time I write this and you read it. Pieces of wood and fabric from the original plane went to the moon with the Apollo 11 astronauts.

And that little factoid brings this blog full circle. What visionaries do you admire? Who looked beyond "don't" and "can't" to "could" and then to "is?"

I'm traveling today and hope to be home mid-to-late afternoon. So be please don't think I'm ignoring your comments. I promise I'll respond as soon as I can. I'm giving away a package of books, which I can't name because I don't have them at the time I'm writing this, from RWA to one commenter today.


Lynz Pickles said...


kim h said...

good nomines
please enter me

Helen said...

Congrats Lynz have fun with him

Nancy what a fantastic post very inspiring for me.

Firstly I do hope you all had a fantastic time in Washington and I am looking forward to hearing more about it, the first thing I did when I got home from work today was check the website for the winners and congrats to them all and to all the nominees huge congrats you have all done so well to get nominated and that is a great prize.

Who am I inspired by that is a hard one for me I gotta say I couldn't imagine life without the internet now and how would I have met all the wonderful friends I have made especially here at The Romance Bandits so for me it has to be the "geeks" who invented the computers and internet. And of course where would I be without books to read so (I don't know who it was) but the person who created the printing press that prints the wonderful books I read.

Have Fun

Carol L. said...

I'm amazes with Mortenson. Out of sickness came a beautiful gift and legacy. MLK is the first for me to admire. To attempt to do something that ultimately and sadly cost him his life. I also have to admire the pioneers of our Country. I don't know that I could have ever endured their hardships as they built the New World. And I consider myself a strong woman. God Bless them. There are many visionaries to respect but that would take a lot of time. :)
Carol L.

Laurie said...

I admire Lance Armstrong! After fighting and dealing with testicular cancer ,he went on to win the Tour de France and is currently in the running again!! AMAZING!

I admire Dr Christian Barnard who worked with artifical hearts and pioneered bypass surgeries which my own dad had twice. Really, all the pioneers of modern medicine. Madame Currie, Louis Pasteur, the discovery of insulin for diabetes, antibiotics for bacterial infections, all transplant surgeries, robotics, computers...
None of the many conveniences that we take for granted came easily!!

I also admire Thomas Edison and Henry Ford who struggled and suffered a lot of failures as they workrd toward rubber for tires, invented lightbulbs, made the first cars and discovered assembly lines along the way!

Karen H in NC said...

Sounds like all the Banditas are having a real ball at RWA!

I think the person I admire most is Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. At a time when women, among other things, did not yet have the right to vote, she stood in the face of adversity, the Comstock Law, and was jailed, in her attempts to help women learn about birth control. She and her group did so much to bring women's rights to the forefront and to bring women out of the dark ages and into the light of modern medicine.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I hope everyone had a wonderful time and I think it is so cool that you had the blog written and ready to go a week ago! I never get things done on time let alone ahead of time. Avery moving post as well I have to say, so many people we owe so much to.

Dina said...

Nacy, I relly enjoyed your post today, some things I didn't know.
I don't have anyone that I admire really, so many people have accomplished great things, but hard for me to point one one.

jo robertson said...

What a great post, Nancy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Thinking about these visionaries and their exuberant spirits gives me chills. In a good way!

I hope you were able to see the Kitty Hawk during your visit.

Greg Mortensen's experience is certainly one of the most moving of current history and an inspiration to us all.

Margay said...

Hi, Nancy, the visionaries who impress me the most these days (probably because I struggle with living with Multiple Sclerosis and I'm always looking for inspiration to get through the day)are people who have been challenged by medical issues and are doing amazing things because of it. They are:

Christopher and Dana Reeve
Michael J. Fox
Montel Williams
Farrah Fawcett
Lance Armstrong
Bob Woodruff (the ABC newsman who was nearly killed in Iraq)

All of them struggled or continue to struggle with daunting medical issues, but none of them let their conditions keep them from achieving or aspiring to achieve their goals. I admire their courage, their strength and their fortitude, and the dignity with which they lead or led their lives under the microscope of celebrity. And I admire how they each used their illness to bring awareness to others in the effort to beat these illnesses. Sometimes a visionary is just a person who says, "I'm not going to let this condition beat me."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Lynz! Great catch on the Chook! He's probably glad to be with you today, since he's been Partying Hearty at RWA. haha!

Nancy, what a fab post. As a fellow geek and sci-fi fan, I love all those stories. I remember the first time I read about Mortensen building schools. It was in Parade Magazine. What a fab guy with a vision and a mission. Just goes to show what you can do if you believe in something.

As to my heroes of this sort, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Tony Robbins, Thomas Jefferson, Apollo 11's flight crew and ground crew who brought them home...most were told "It can't be done!" and as hard as it was, they did it anyway. True courage.

Kitty Hawk is a treasure, isn't it? But that wind will knock you on your keister in a minute. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Helen, I'm with you. I bow down in honor to that original printer, Johane Gutenberg, who decided the bible should be accessible to all and invented movable type.

And the internet too. How the heck did we get on without it? Grins. (As irritating as it can be sometimes, as Nancy said)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Carol L. I'm with you on MLK and the freedom movement.

I also agree that it's amazing and wonderful that our founding fathers stood up to England, said they'd seperate and then did it when they weren't answered. :>

Went to Monticello last Sunday with fellow Bandita Anna C. It was astounding to learn more about Thomas Jefferson and his efforts toward the creating of the US. Wow, what a guy. Now THAT's a hero!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Laurie! Great list. Madame Curie is one of those ladies you just shake your head over and wonder, how did she STAND it, being so put down and shoved back, and still come out with all the work she did.

Like you, I totally admire Ford and Edison as well.

catslady said...

Wonderful post. There are so many I admire but to generalize - it's those who put others before themselves. Many times it's those who have the least. And the giving of their time and living life with a smile. I loved the movie - pay it forward - which kind of says it all!

I'm really looking forward to hearing al he conference stories.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Karen H! We DID have a marvy old time in DC at National. We're all very pouty that neither Bandita Kim (up for 2 Golden hearts) nor our own darling Christine Wells (Rita) won their categories, but still, thrilled that their brilliance was recognized in a nomination!

AND, you can bet we still celebrated a LOT. Hahaha.

catslady said...

Sorry - that was "all the" - for some reason my keys are sticking - arghhh.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Karen, I also meant to say, before I precipitously hit SEND, that I too admire Sanger. She really suffered both personally and socially for her stand on reproductive rights. Glad she did it, for the freedoms I enjoy today.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Dianna! Isn't she sickening? A week out and she had the darn thing written and in the queue to post. Urg. I have trouble getting mine done the day before. Hahahah!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Dina! Great to see you on today!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jo! We MISSED YOU!!!! So wish you could have been with us. Everyone looked gorgeous at the Rita/GH ceremony last night. I'm sure photos are forthcoming from both Banditas and some of our regulars, like Gannon and PJ and Louisa who were also there and snapping away. :>

Wish you could have had some of Suz's great salad, JT's amazing cookies and that wild rooster cake too!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Margay, you're so right and what a great list. I'd add your own name to the list, as you've obviously stated for yourself, "I'm not going to let this condition beat me!"

Glad you're looking for ways to keep your spirits high and your body healthy as it can be. We're rooting for you.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Catslady! I adored Pay it Forward. Superb concept. I love that.

We've got some fun conference stories to share, and great piccies too! :>

Virginia said...

Congrats Lynz on nabbing that rooster today!

Great post! I really enjoyed it! I can't name just one person that I admire, the world is full of them. I admire my sister for being there when I need her, the book authors that give me my main sourse in intertainment. My son because he wants to be the next Bill Gates. There is just to many to name. There are so many great people out there and in our past to admire.

Jane said...

Hi Nancy,
Great post.

Congrats on the GR, Lynz. I do admire those involved in the suffrage movement. Hard to believe that Susan B. Anthony was charged and fined because she voted. I also admire those who fought for equal pay for equal work so that employers had to pay male and female employees equally for the same work.

Minna said...

The 40th anniversary of the moon landing has been very visible here in Finland as well, at least on TV: Yesterday I watched movies Apollo 13 (again) and The Dish. Today there were some documentaries and tomorrow... Not to mention that at the moment there is more interest in the Finnish media in what the NASA is doing in space than usual, all because of the astronaut Timothy Kopra, who happens to be Finnish descent.

Apollo 13 Launch

joder said...

Thanks Nancy for such a great post! As for inspirational....I absolutely love Julia Child. She showed the average person they could cook like a pro. She made classy cooking look simple. And she's influenced millions to want to be chefs.

Minna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Minna said...

And here's my list -some of it, anyway:
Linus Torvalds
Minna Canth
Mikael Agricola
Elias Lönnrot
Lucina Hagman
Charles Darwin
Sir David Attenborough
Jane Goodall

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Minna, great list! :> I'm off to look some of those folks up! ;>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joder, what a great thought about Julia Child. :> She is awesome. There's a new movie coming out called Julia And Julie and it's evidently fabulous. :> Can't wait to see it. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jane! Great to see you today. I hadn't thought about Susan B., but you're right. How cool was she? grins.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

what happened to the blog, does it look strange to anyone but me?

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

oh, nevermind, it is better now, must be my puter doing weird things

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Dianna, mine does that sometimes too. I blame it on Vista. hahah.

Nancy said...

Lynz, congrats on grabbing the rooster! He had a wild and woolly week at RWA, so I hope he won't give you trouble.

Nancy said...

Kim H., thanks for stopping by! Consider yourself entered. :-)

Nancy said...

Helen, glad you enjoyed the post. I had fun writing it. The internet really is a blessing in helping people stay connected, isn't it? I love signing on and seeing what people have been up to lately. I didn't have a computer in DC and so will be going back to read the blogs that were posted this past week.

We did have a great time in DC, thanks. I can once again report that the banditas and our buddies all cleaned up well for the Saturday event. Christine, KJ, and Pamela looked fabulous up there in the special section!

The rooster, thank goodness, was not in evidence at the ceremony or the reception, for which we are all grateful.

Nancy said...

Congratulations to Pamela/Louisa for her second straight Daphne Historical win!

Nancy said...

Just in case Trish posts later--some of you may be interested to know that I ran into Trish in the bar last night. She stood up and said, "Oh, my gosh, I'm taller than Nancy! Take a picture, quick!"

She wears taller heels than I do. I expect to regain the height advantage at DragonCon during Labor Day weekend (after which she and I and Tanya Michaels will be blogging about the con).

Trish promised to stand in the Michael Biehn line with me, which I do appreciate. So I'll see her there if we don't connect sooner.

Nancy said...

Hi, Carol L.--one of the things that amazed me about the Mortenson book was that the events he described were so different from the attitudes I'd attributed to people in that part of the world.

We've really been very lucky as a nation to have so many people care so passionately about the future.

flchen1 said...

Lovely post as always, Nancy! And very visionary of you, if I might say so! As for my visionaries, many other posters have named some terrific people who've made what could be into what IS. And maybe on a smaller but no less important scale, I'm thankful for all the parents who encouraged their children to grow up to be such fabulous contributors--whether or not they go on to invent a cure for disease or win a RITA, all you parents who help your children to realize their dreams, you're to be applauded for your vision!

Congrats on the GR, Lynz!

Nancy said...

Laurie, Lance Armstrong really is amazing. I think he inspires a lot of people.

The medical pioneers you mentioned all had incredible vision, as did Edison and Ford. And many people benefit from their inventions.

Nancy said...

Karen H., we did have a ball, thank you!

Margaret Sanger had a lot of grit. I talk about her in my 1920s class, how she had to persevere with a lot of people out to shut her down.

Nancy said...

Dianna, I had to laugh at your comment. I don't usually have things done way ahead, either, but I got on a plane last Monday and knew I wouldn't have computer access, so I had to get into gear for this one.

Glad you liked the post, and yes, we had a great time, thanks.

Nancy said...

Dina, glad you enjoyed the post! I know what you mean about picking one being difficult. I could've made that blog twice the length it is and not run out of steam.

Nancy said...

Jo, glad you liked the post.

We missed you terribly. It just wasn't the same without the banditas who were home this year.

I did not see the Wright Glider. I ran out of time. But I did see the Hope Diamond and the Vietnam and Korean War memorials and the Spy Museum (not part of the Smithsonian and not cheap, either), so I feel that I did some cool sight-seeing.

And I have to say, just FYI, that the Natural History Museum on Saturday afternoon reminded me strongly of Times Square at rush hour. And the Metro red line was worse than NYC at rush hour. There are more places to hold on in a NY subway car.

As previously noted, I'm tall, so it worked out okay for me. For shorter people, not so much!

Nancy said...

Margay, I didn't realize you had MS. I admire your perseverance and the upbeat attitude you display here.

That's a wonderful list you suggested. Christopher and Dana Reeve are among my personal favorites. As you may have gathered, I'm a Superman fan from way back, and I think Christopher Reeve's life after his accident revealed that he had the true heart of a super-hero. And Dana was amazing, too.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, that's a great list you came up with. And yeah, I think the wind at Kitty Hawk has to be experienced to be believed. One climb up that hill is enough for me.

A few years back, we drove down the Hatteras National Seashore and stopped at one of the places where you're allowed to cross the dunes. I wanted to walk out on the beach and see it the way it would've looked when the Lost Colony dropped anchor in 1587.

This was a fine concept. The implementation, however, was a total, wretched failure. The wind was blowing along the dunes so hard, I was afraid it would sandblast my camera lens if I removed the cap. The sand was stinging our arms and legs, and we had to squint against it.

So we lasted maybe a minute on the sea side of the dunes. Maybe some other time, I'll get those photos and that contemplative moment. *sigh*

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Catslady, I know what you mean about the difficulties of picking one. I didn't see Pay it Forward, but I'm continually grateful for the writers who do, who take the time to answer questions and give advice and offer critiques.

Nancy said...

I was Jeanne's High Maintenance Friend this week. Forgot a key component of my makeup (easy to do since I rarely wear it) and lost the instructions for new product. There was no shop near the hotel that carried this particular brand. Jeanne passed by a shop, so she picked up a replacement for me and got new instructions.

I left books given to me for our M&M basket. She brought them to me.

So thank you, Duchesse, for all the help. :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Virginia. There really are a lot of wonderful people out there.

And good luck to your on his ambition. It's people who dream big who get things done.

Nancy said...

Jeanne wrote: Hey Dianna! Isn't she sickening? A week out and she had the darn thing written and in the queue to post. Urg. I have trouble getting mine done the day before. Hahahah!

It's an aberration. Honest. :-)

Nancy said...

Jane, glad you liked the post! Susan B. Anthony was one of my childhood heroines. Too bad the dollar coin with her image didn't "take."

Nancy said...

Hi, Minna--I'm looking forward to watching some of that coverage now that I'm home. I don't seem to have developed as bad a case of conference brain as usual (which is good because I was already recovering from mall brain acquired while shopping for the trip). So I may be able to comprehend what I'm watching without sleeping for 2 days first.

Nancy said...

Joder, I envy Julia Child. She did inspire many, many people, and she was good in the kitchen, which I really am not.

Nancy said...

Minna, that's a cool list!

Nancy said...

Dianna, the blog spacing is a little strange. Not quite how I thought it would post, but bearable.

Nancy said...

Fedora, glad you liked the post. I think you make a great point about parents and children and visionaries. Sometimes helping them be what they can means sitting back and shutting up, and that can be hard.

Helen said...

I am so glad everyone had a great time and the rooster behaved himself.

Lousia congrats on th Daphne win YAY

I am really looking forward to the posts to come and seeing the pictures.

Have Fun

Nancy said...

Oh, just for everyone's information, I came into possession of an ENTIRE PACKAGE of TimTams via Anna Campbell. My roommate, Gerri Russell, had never had a TimTam before, and well, I love those TimTams, but my mama and daddy insisted on politeness. Besides, corrupting someone else is always so fun! So now Gerri is also a TimTams fan. She commented on how light they are. We had the last two for breakfast!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ahhh, the famous "Tim Tams for Breakfast" manuver! Way to go, on the corrupting factor.

Margay said...

Nancy, I don't like to dwell on it because I don't want to be defined as "that person with M.S." I was Margay long before I was diagnosed and that's how I want to be defined long after. I only mention it when it pertains to something and for the purpose of the list I posted, I thought I should mention it because this is why I admire these people so much - and aspire to be like them. I think it is so important for people who've been afflicted, or have an accident, to have these people to look up to to get us through those dark times that are inevitable. You know, like when you start to think, "before (such and such) I could do (insert whatever here)" - for me, it's energy. I had so much more of it before I was diagnosed; now I fight that brick wall of fatigue every day - and I go down fighting!

Yeah, I think it's pretty ironic that Chris Reeve played Superman (the best, IMHO) because, when he was tested, he proved that he really was Superman - in spirit, strength, determination, and fight. And his wife was simply AMAZING. I cried when we lost them.


Nancy said...

Margay, I also think Reeve was the best Superman. The first movie was on TV not long ago, and I was watching the footage of Superman flying around Metropolis for the first time. I remembered an interview with Reeve in which he said making the scene ring true required him to look, in his eyes, as though he really saw the things added in later. He really did it beautifully.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, corrupting others to TimTam love is not a difficult thing. Except for the "obtain TimTams" first step. *sigh*

Pat Cochran said...

Hi Nancy, I'm looking forward to
all the RWA stories and photos!

Like some of the other commenters,
I can't select just one person or
one area as my visionary focus.
Take the Wright Bros., progress
through the years to NASA and tomorrow's Moon Walk anniversary.
Then there's the medical field
and all that has evolved through the years. I am currently taking medications that were not even being thought of when I entered nursing school. I watched the 6th open heart operation by Dr. Cooley on one of the young men I had dated! Think of all the changes
that have occurred since then.
Communications, the fact that the
very words I'm typing now will be
transmitted to you immediately
via the internet! I guess what amazes me is that most of these
things have happened during my

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Hi, Pat--

I'm so behind on the technology scale that I have to download my photos to a CD (via a photo shop) before I upload to the desktop, so it'll be a while before my pictures come up. The ones that've been posted so far are great, aren't they?

The rooster cake turned out wonderfully, thanks to Jeanne keeping on the bakery.

The internet amazes me, too. Anna Campbell and I were emailing about books late one night, with a time lag of less than a minute between message and response.

Joan said...

Am totally "gooned" from traveling all day (WHY does your arrival gate ALWAYS have to be 10 miles from your departure gate?)but thought I'd pop in...

I admire the Duchesse. She did an INCREDIBLE amount of work for our private Bandita "AGM" hosted at her house (I'm in love with her sons)and the Bash.

I bow in your general direction in humble gratitude.

Now...mountains of laundry to sort...

PJ said...

Hi Everyone! Great blog, Nancy. I vividly remember the moon landing. It was the same day I received my acceptance letter to my college of choice.

I'm exhausted and the mind isn't working too well at the moment so I'll just say that DC was WONDERFUL! I learned a lot, met many fabulous people, loved every minute with the Banditas and Bandita Buddies and can't wait to do it again! I've made it as far as Charlotte where I received a most joyous greeting from my dog, Cassy. We'll be here through tomorrow and will drive home Tuesday.

Off to catch up on what I missed while we were gone.

jo robertson said...

Thanks for coming back from conference and giving us some of the deets, Nancy. We missed ya'll terribly in the Lair!

Margay, thanks for sharing your having MS with us. My husband had a college student with muscular dystrophy (a rare kind that affects only males). He wasn't supposed to live past his teens, much less graduate from college, both of which he did. He and my middle daughter were the same age. Danny never let his disability hinder his living life to its fullness, even wrote a book of his life even though he only had the use of a few fingers in his hand at the time. He died shortly before his 30th birthday, but affected so many people with his courage and optimism.

Margay said...

Wow, Jo, stories like that just amaze me. It's incredible what the human spirit can endure when it is tested. I guess it just goes to show that, no matter what we have to deal with, we are here on this earth for a purpose. Obviously, this young man was here to inspire others. What a story!

Nancy said...

JT, my gate was right inside the security checkpoint. But checkin was nuts. There was only one scale where they would weigh and tag bags, so no matter which kiosk you used, you still had to go to that scale. But nothing posted anywhere explained that.

I found out from a young man who turned out to be a Naval Academy midshipman. He was at Reagan after going to BWI after being bounced from his flight at Dulles and being told he was re-routed through BWI, except the flight they put him on actually went from Reagan. And he was calm and friendly despite all that misdirection! Anyway, he must've observed the procedure while standing in line because he was explaining it to everyone.

Note that he was explaining it, not an airline employee. *sigh* I feel sorry for the people who came through after he left.

Nancy said...

Jo, thanks for sharing that story about Dr. Big's student. What a remarkable young man!

And we missed y'all, too, Jo. It really, truly was not the same.

And I missed the mass calling in the bar. Drat!

limecello said...

Ooo total shout out to my home state, is this post :D
[I'm too tired to think of anything great to post] Eek.

flchen1 said...

Excellent point about zipping it sometimes, Nancy--it's hard not to be what they call a helicopter parent these days... Gotta learn not to hover ;) And mmm.... Tim Tams!!! So glad you got to enjoy some, and so very thoughtful of you to share!

donnas said...

Great post.

I really admire all of the researchers that we never hear about that do all the boring tedious work that eventually leads to great advancements in medicine.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wow, Nancy! I like the way your brain works!! You have some of my favorite visionaries on this list. All the people involved with space flight. You know everyone my age can tell you where they were the night of the moon landing! I was at a slumber party!!

Also the Rebels who forged a new nation, the women who slugged it out for equal rights, Walt Disney and probably one of my favorite groups of people, the founders of RWA. Without them we wouldn't have the Banditas or even this blog!!

I have to think the visionaries in nursing, my girls Flo and Clara. Ladies that decided women could play a valuable role in healing soldiers, since they did the healing of families at home. Trust me when I say they had a long arduous battle against the male surgeons of the time!

Lynz Pickles said...

Looking at my first comment, I feel like one of the seagulls from Finding Nemo - you know how they say "Mine? Mine? Mine?" *giggle* Anyway, thanks to everyone who congratulated me on getting to spend a day with the GR. It was my first time doing so, and I discovered that he makes really good brownies. He didn't get along with my dogs too well, though - they thought he would make a good snack, he didn't agree.

What a wonderful, fabulous, brilliant, amazing... uh, I'm out of adjectives here... post, Nancy. I was hooked even before you mentioned Rocket Boys, though talking about Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the few guaranteed ways to catch my attention. Mmmmm, Jakey~ I admire all the visionaries you mentioned. But beyond the ones who make a huge impact and become famous, I admire anyone who has a vision and follows through on it, even if it's something as simple as learning to play a piece of music. I think it's easy to want to do something, but very hard to find the drive to follow through on that desire or idea.

I also admire people like Margay who struggle with chronic illnesses, people who don't allow those illnesses to hold them back, especially when those illnesses aren't always physically obvious. It's hard to understand what it's like to have to constantly battle against your own body in order to live your life fully, or how disheartening it is to have to limit your activities one day to make sure that you're healthy enough to function the next. Things like pain, fatigue, or mental illness aren't obvious to other people, and if you haven't experienced such ailments yourself, it can be hard to understand just how limiting they are, or to forget that it's a daily battle. My mother also has MS, and I greatly admire her for her courage in living her life freely despite having illness that's rendered her blind before and could leave her paralyzed- she's my example in my own fight against chronic illnesses.

Margay said...

Lynz, I could tell about two sentences in to your last paragraph that you "got it." You are so right. People who can't "see" your ailment also can't justify that you have one, which is why I have yet to get a handicap plate. My mother's friend was confronted by a nosy do-gooder one time when she parked in a handicap space and they couldn't see why. Her response: "Do you want me to take off my leg and show you?" She's had the prosthesis for so long now, you can hardly tell there's anything wrong - she barely even limps. I think that might be where my admiration for people who suffer such losses first started because this woman is a dynamo. She lost her leg at least 20 years ago (and nearly died in the process) and never let it slow her down. She continued to work - caring for children (as a nanny!), which everyone knows is an active occupation - and go out and drive - everything she did before she lost her leg. Amazing woman. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman, too. I'm glad you have her to help you through your own illness. It is so important to have that support system.

kim h said...

any winner

alos winner for Jo davi s book?