At last, it’s warming up! What a difference a week makes…snow is melting everywhere! Last week I couldn’t see my parking space; it was under a thick layer of ice. Today it’s back to gravel. To celebrate, I got some colorful markers (they were on sale for half price at Staples!) and I went to see a production of She Loves Me at The Wilton Playshop in Wilton, CT, which was excellent (I had some issues with there being 35 minutes of exposition to get to the actual story, but that’s the fault of the book, not the production). I’ve been to nearly all of the community theatres in the area, and never that one. Based on their level of professionalism, I will definitely be going back.
So what did I do on Cinco de Mayo? I had a great time talking everything from ghosts and Disney Parks to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and the real reasons behind being a writer with Dawn Short on Uber Radio Network’s P.M. Lites.
The show not only covers the paranormal, but a wide range of other topics. No matter what Dawn’s talking about, P.M. Lites is pure magic! It airs every Thursday from 9 to 10 p.m., and I encourage every listener with eclectic tastes to check it out. For information on the show, click here: http://www.uberradionetwork.com/shows/pmLites.html To listen live, visit http://www.uberradionetwork.com.
The program aired live and Nathan was nice enough to record it, so you can listen right from this blog by clicking the link below:
I’ve gotten a few e-mails about Nathan’s “Living with Disney” segment and Inside the Magic (www.insidethemagic.net), so I figured I’d provide two things: an Inside the Magic Show Description Guide (for those of you who aren’t listeners yet and want to try it—you won’t be sorry, I promise, it’s the most rockin’ Disney Park podcast on the ’net) and, if you would rather just listen to Nathan gripe (playfully) about what it’s like to live with me, the audio for only the episodes that you can listen to below. The episodes are short—anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes each.
LIVING WITH DISNEY EPISODE INFORMATION, LINKS, OR LISTEN HERE!
ITM SHOW 284: EPISODE 1
ITM Show Content Description: Star Tours final flight at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, living with a Disney fanatic, and listener feedback catch-up.
ITM SHOW 288: EPISODE 2
ITM Show Content Description: ElecTRONica opening night, inside Haunted Mansion Holiday, Living with Disney, and listener feedback.
ITM SHOW 295: EPISODE 3
ITM Show Content Description: Ricky’s 30th birthday, Top 10 Disney gift ideas, Living with Disney, and Listener Feedback
ITM SHOW 299: EPISODE 4
ITM Show Content Description: Disney’s LuminAria Holiday Spectacular, Nathan’s Living with Disney – Christmas Edition, TRON read-along storybook, and some listener feedback.
ITM SHOW 306: EPISODE 5
ITM Show Content Description: Toontown, Star Tours, and other big Disney news, Tom Ameen’s Fantasmic rendition, TTA Talk, and Living with Disney.
Well, if there’s anyone that could tell you that, it’s Nathan. He decided to share his trials and tribulations with the popular Disney Park Podcast Inside the Magic, and so he created the LIVING WITH DISNEY segment, which ran on the show’s Episode 284 in September.
To listen to the whole episode—if you’re a Disney Park fan, you NEED to!—you want to hit this link here for http://www.insidethemagic.net/podcasts/284/
Those of you who aren’t Park fanatics and just want to hear Nathan make fun of me, you can click below and just hear the segment.
Nana (my grandmother) lived in Daytona Beach, Florida, so growing up, we visited her frequently. When I was fifteen, Dad took us to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. The admission price included a climb to the lighthouse’s beacon, where visitors could behold the view. I had trepidation about climbing—it looked gargantuan.
“It’s only one hundred feet high,” my Dad—a man who’d once convinced me to jump into his arms off our beach’s dock because he was touching bottom—said. “Because it’s standing up, it’s an illusion. If you laid that down, it’d fit in between our mailbox and the McBrearity’s.”
Of course this wasn’t accurate. But just like at the dock, I bought it.
We ascended the endless spirals of metal stairs. When my legs burned, I’d stop and peer out windows through which I could see places from my past: the bright yellow cart where Nana bought five-year-old me my first conch shell. The ribbon of beach where nine-year-old me was stung by a jellyfish. The orange grove where eleven-year-old me picked oranges and made my first fresh juice. The restaurant where twelve-year-old me ate fried shark for the first time. The park where fourteen-year-old me petted a sea turtle. All these places getting smaller and smaller the higher we went; each time I saw a place, I’d look up at how far we still had to go and think, ‘okay, I’ve seen enough, I can stop now.’
But I kept going.
When we reached the top, I couldn’t believe the splendid view: the palm forests, the beaches, the ocean beyond. There was a whole world full of places I’d never been that were mine to explore. Everything was in front of me.
Fast forward twenty-four years, and I’m visiting the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum with fellow writers Marita Golden and Adrienne Wartts. I hadn’t climbed anything since Ponce Inlet, so I was eager. Adrienne wanted to climb, too, but wasn’t as full of gusto.
“It’s not that high,” I said. “It’s just an illusion because it’s standing up.”
She probably didn’t really buy that, but she went with me anyway. Up and up we went.
The fact that it was a combination of stairs and ramps should’ve made it easier, but it didn’t—there were burning legs. There was peering out windows at now-abandoned places from my past (in this case, recent past—winter): my old apartment, the dunes, the cemetery, Napi’s.
And there was assessment of how far we still had to go.
But then we reached the top, and I forgot about it all—once again, all I could see was a new Ptown. What lie ahead.
Visiting the monument, which had been built to immortalize the Mayflower Pilgrims’ landing in Provincetown in 1620, had special significance that day—just ten days prior, the town had celebrated the structure’s 100th anniversary. The monument took three years to complete, and along the way, New England towns, cities, and organizations donated interior blocks. It very much gave one the sense that the monument had been built more slowly, maybe, than was necessary; that it had been done painstakingly, stone by stone.
And all I could think about was how much the process of building the monument and the experience of climbing it paralleled my writing career.
On the drive to Ptown, I’d listened to an episode of my favorite Disney Park fan podcast, Inside the Magic. The show’s host, Ricky Brigante, was interviewing Peter Cullen (if you don’t know who he is, you might if you were a Transformers fan—he’s the original and current voice of Optimus Prime). Hasbro had just inducted Cullen into the Transformers Hall of Fame, and he shared his thoughts on creative success:
“It takes a long time. Some people are fortunate and they get it very quickly, but they’re gone very quickly…don’t give up. Keep the main ingredients and the main source of your heart and your ambitions together in one place in your mind and do not let defeat ever destroy you, just—always go after it, because you’ll really appreciate yourself later on when you do find some success.
“Some very important people in life have taught me some very important attitudes that I’ve applied. Lucille Ball once said, ‘never refuse a job no matter how small, no matter how big, how miniscule…because every job leads to another job. And don’t be so proud that you expect perhaps fifty lines and you only get half a line. That half line will take you to another line and so on.’ So always have the courage and the love of your craft to keep on going despite the disappointments, because there will be many.”
Those of us in creative careers should keep this in mind—in this world, everyone wants instant success. But that happens to only the few, so it’s good to remember that for most of us, reaching that pinnacle really is a long, slow process. That sometimes it’s really hard work; that sometimes it hurts; that sometimes we have to stop and assess where we’ve been and appreciate those struggles, but not let them keep us from moving forward. And that every small accomplishment is another stone or another step toward our goal. It may take a while—years, perhaps decades. But as long as we keep going, we will, eventually, get to the top.
And the view will definitely be worth it.
 The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is located at 4831 South Peninsula Drive in Daytona Beach, Florida, and has great historical significance—for example, Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, based his most famous short story, “The Open Boat,” on his horrifying experience of being lost at sea within eyeshot of the Ponce Inlet Light (then called The Mosquito Light) after the sinking of the S.S. Commodore (the wreck of which was discovered in the 1980s). This one incident is probably why my father decided to bring us there. He taught The Red Badge of Courage in his English classes, but he loved short stories, especially ones of adventure.
The museum complex features extensive exhibits on its role in history as well as the lifestyle of lighthouse keepers. To learn about the lighthouse or plan your visit, click here: http://www.ponceinlet.org/index.html. To read Crane’s “The Open Boat,” click here: http://www.ponceinlet.org/images/openboat.pdf
My spoiler-free review of Disney’s The Princess & the Frog— a film not released nationwide until December 11—is now up on Episode 243 of Inside the Magic!
Nathan, Charles and I were privileged enough to get tickets to a special engagement of the film on preview opening night—Wednesday, November 25—at New York City’s Ziegfeld Theater, and we also attended “Disney’s Ultimate Experience,” which followed at the Roseland Ballroom. And yes, I got to have my photo taken with ALL NINE princesses!
What’s even cooler is that this screening and event were held on both coasts—New York and Los Angeles—and Episode 243 features not only my review, but one from someone who attended the LA premiere, and, as I didn’t have time to talk about how wonderful the event was, the other reviewer, Al, did!
You can head on over to Inside the Magic, the Internet’s First Orlando-Based Disney Podcast hosted by Ricky Brigante, here. (Visit the Archive link if it’s following December 6, 2009.) Or, if you just want to hear mine and Al’s review of the film, you can listen below! (Note: this adding audio thing is new to me. If it doesn’t work, feel free to shout-out to me through my Contact page and I’ll do the best I can to get it resolved.)