Thursday, July 11, 2013

High School Advice #4 - Guest Post by Courtney Pierce author of Stitches

What Would You Do If You Had No Fear?

I was admonished, many times, in parent-teacher conferences for looking out the window in class. My teacher was frustrated that I aced the tests, since it appeared that I wasn’t paying any attention. Somehow, though, the information got through. I dreamed of other worlds in high school because reality felt so uncomfortable (we’re talking in the late 60s and early 70s). But I did absorb what my teacher said—and spent hours, days, and weeks obsessing about it—while I looked out the window. From the frightening possibility of nuclear war to the antics on Leave it to Beaver, the elegant prose of William Shakespeare to the shock of 2001: A Space Odyssey, it was all food for dreaming.

 That was over forty years ago. Life now, in many ways, is no different. There’s always a window to look out of and dream. The biggest difference, back then, was that there were no computers, no Internet, no cell phones, or fancy gadgets to get in the way. No, I didn’t walk twenty miles to school, but I did have a ’72 Volkswagen bug with an 8-track player, blaring out a tinny version of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. That was as fancy as it got.

I faced my fears of the real world and became a performer on stage. See a pattern of escape here? I threw myself into the drama club and auditioned for every musical and dramatic stage work. I lusted to become a voice and music major in college, immersing myself in opera, Jazz, Blues, and ancient music. Getting lost in the world of a character helped me to get over my fears and learn to be a team player in the band.

After five years of hard work, studying what I loved, I proudly accepted my college degree in Music. Mission accomplishedNOT! I quickly realized I couldn’t make a decent living in the real music world. All those years; all that work. But it wasn’t in vain. I dove into the business of making music and live theater, working my way up to be an executive in the Broadway entertainment industry. It was rewarding and hard – really hard. It only took twenty years to become an overnight sensation.

I’m fifty-four, and I still look out the window. But now, I know more about what I see.  

That’s why I became a writer. I left my corporate life behind, because it was time to do something with all that time I had logged looking out that darned window. My magical world of high school came back to me in updated Hi-Def vision and combined with my years of hard work. It fueled a whole new career. And when I want to read a book that takes me into another world, I pluck my own from my nightstand. Another mission accomplished. YEAH!

 As I write about the magic of life for ten to twelve hours a day, nearly seven days a week, I ask you this:  What would you do if you ran into a magical object that could make you immortal?

The characters in my books ask themselves that very question. Of course, I give them some pretty cool magic and immortal help to nudge them toward the answer. For them, the path to happiness is marked by helping other people and catching “bad guys” with the FBI. That’s how they create a legacy for themselves.

Writing is hardI won’t lie—and it’s not without risk. My characters take big risks, too, but know they can’t cheat life . . . or death. Cheating has ramifications.

If you needed surgery, do you want your life to be in the hands of a doctor who’s cheated their way through medical school? If you’re sued, do you want a lawyer who doesn’t really understand the law to represent you? If you opened a restaurant, would you want your customers to skip out on the bill after you’ve created a wonderful meal?

Trust is powerful. Trust is everything. And trust in yourself is tantamount to being a success in whatever you decide to do.

So, what’s going to be your legacy? How do you want the world to remember you?

I’m just askin’ . . .

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer and lives in Milwaukie, Oregon with her husband of thirty-four years and bossy cat. As a former marketing executive in the Broadway entertainment industry, she studied what moved audiences as fantastic stories unfolded on the live stage. Her first book, Stitches, is part of a trilogy series that follows the magical journey of an older couple who discover a magical piece of fabric at an estate sale. It holds the key to immortality. And what they do with it will change the course of their lives. The second book in the series, Brushes, brings together the power of art and financial fraud with a magical painting. Brushes will be released in September, 2013.

Connect with Courtney at her Blog or Facebook

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