Writing madly trying to meet a deadline so thought I’d do a blog rewind this week — enjoy and I’ll see you next week!
When No Makes Way for Yes
This past summer, The Moth asked me to perform at a Mainstage in St. Paul on Nov 10. I was thrilled. Then in early fall, after reviewing my story, The Moth’s directors decided the piece needed more work and pulled me from the line up. I was less then thrilled. Now, these directors are the best of the best; I know they have my back and their decision was the right one. Still, I was really disappointed. Until two weeks ago.
I’m in Nashville at my 30th Vanderbilt Reunion, doing a reading of my one-woman show How to Draw a Nekkid Man (formerly I Will Be Good). The audience is filled with college friends, including the Grammy Award-winning singer Amy Grant, who I hadn’t seen in 15 years. During the question and answer session, I thank the Vanderbilt community for their support, including those who hosted my performance in their homes while the show was in development.
Literally feeling audience support
After the reading, Amy asks me if I still perform in people’s homes. I say, “not much, but sometimes.” She asks if I could perform in her home. I say “yes.” She asks if I’m available on Nov. 11, the weekend when I was originally scheduled to be in St. Paul. I say “I’m wide open.”
Challenge Aspen at work
Amy and her husband, Country Music Hall-of-Famer Vince Gill, are huge supporters of Challenge Aspen, an organization that turns “no into yes” for people with disabilities, especially disabled vets. At a recent Challenge Aspen gala, Amy and Vince auctioned off three days in Nashville and six generous (and hysterically funny) Dallas ladies purchased the trip. My show was part of their entertainment package.
The evening was a storyteller’s dream. In addition to the six Dallas ladies, the audience was filled with more than 25 artists – songwriters, musicians, and writers. The amount of creativity in the room was astonishing.
After my show, with sound crew Vince Gill and Amy Grant
During rehearsal, I realized I needed someone to run the sound for the show, which meant occasionally pushing a button and making sure the volume was correctly adjusted. Amy set the volume and Vince pushed the buttons. This didn’t seem like the best use of their skill sets, but they were game and I was grateful.
I know I can tell a great story but I’m not much of a singer (although I yearn to be one). That said, I still sing in an important part of How to Draw a Nekkid Man. On Sunday night, standing in front of Music City’s top talent and flanked by shelves holding nearly 30 Grammy Awards, I thought, “if you’re going to do it, then do it big.”
Throughout the evening the real singers shared their gifts — Rodney Crowell, Jenny Gill,Natalie Hemby, Marshall Altman, Vince, and Amy, whose new album comes out in April. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Opportunity Disguised as Disappointment
So what seemed like a cruddy no, made way for a huge yes. I reconnected with a dear friend and participated in a magical evening. I’ll be returning to Nashville next in October 2013 to perform my show at an event Amy’s hosting (more details to come). And The Moth asks me to perform a new story next summer. A dear friend once told me that our lives are like looking at the underside of a tapestry. All we can see are the loose threads hanging in a jumbled mess, but God sees the beautiful tapestry being woven from above.
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