Do It Up! (Boomer Lives!)
Every time I listen to Marc Maron's WTF podcast, I find myself answering his questions in my head and thinking, "I want Marc Maron to interview me."
Which is absurd because Marc Maron interviews...you know...Obama.
So I had to ask myself why I would have this recurring thought that is so patently unattainable. And I realized the answer is,
I want to tell my story.
Part of the reason I think Marc is such a great interviewer is because he always starts at the beginning with people. Typically he does this by asking how they got into acting/music/comedy/politics and they'll say, "Oh, in second grade I was a lamb in the school play and I just loved the applause" which then opens the door for Marc to ask about their childhood and their parents and if they eat lamb today.
How did I get into Communications?
Well, that's not so intriguing, as acting/music/comedy/politics is it? I'm not sure there's a direct correlation to my upbringing and my career. Unless...IDk...maybe there is?
I was raised in a very conservative Mormon home. We went to church several times a week. My parents didn't smoke or drink alcohol or coffee. Most of the record albums in their collection were Mormon Tabernacle Choir records.
By the age of 3, I was singing solos in church. (I Am a Child of God is a Mormon church favorite) I remember performing in a Christmas pageant around the age of 6 or 7; my mom took pictures of me before the show and was really annoyed that I couldn't seem to strike a memorable pose.
My freshman year of high school, my parents split up. This was a really BIG DEAL in the Mormon congregation, where marriages are meant to last "for time and all eternity," rather than just "'til death do you part."
I spent that year's "Super Saturdays" (teen Mormon Saturday night dances) in a bathroom stall crying. I blamed my parent's divorce because that was easy enough to shock people. The real reason was that the boy I liked didn't know I existed.
I wasn't a nerd in the current definition of the word. It was different in the 80s. You were either a jock or a nerd or a stoner or a brain or a prom queen. Oh shit. I just described The Breakfast Club, didn't I? Well, I'm sorry to burst your millennial bubble, but that really was our life in the 80s.
I left the Mormon church in my teens. There were multiple reasons why, really, starting with the invasive Bishop interview,and ending with the realization that I was just way too liberal to be a Mormon.
My best friend Shelley was hugely influential in my life around that time. She had a background that was completely different than mine and she was more liberal and the first pro-choice woman I knew. She was artistic and creative and adventurous. None of this description should come as a surprise if you read this recent post about her.
Shelby attended one semester at the University of Southern Mississippi before deciding that a deep south college wasn't going to be her thing. I attended one semester of community college in Biloxi before moving to Memphis with a boyfriend.
The only classes I even remember today from that time are freshman English and Psych 101. We may need a separate post altogether for my Psych 101 experience.
(It's a pretty funny story actually. So remind me.)
Midway through the semester of my English class, we had been assigned a descriptive essay. I wrote about Rude Boys. It was kind of mine and Shelley's thing. And probably part of my rebellion against the clean-cut Mormon boy who ratted me out to the Bishop. Apparently the rest of the class described earrings and socks, but my description of long-haired boys in leather jackets moved my professor. (Keep in mind it was 1985.)
It was Homecoming weekend at Long Beach High School. Shelley had come back to the coast for our high school's pep rally and parade. Before we headed to our alma mater, she came to my morning English class at the community college.
We entered the classroom. I gave my professor a heads up that Shelley would be sitting in that day. The instructor didn't seem to have a problem with that. Then she asked if she had my permission to read my essay aloud to the class.
I had no problem with that.
The professor talked a little bit about the assignment. She said that she was mostly disappointed in the results. She tried (in vain?) to explain exactly what she had wanted and expected. Then she said to the class that there was one essay that fulfilled her expectations. Listen and learn.
And she read my essay to the class.
It was the first time I thought to myself, "I could be a writer."