Thursday, May 28, 2015

Agents Of Change

I began the day thinking I might not be working. But TV being what it is sometimes, by lunchtime, I was sitting in my edit chair, churning out news elements even faster than usual (after all, we were already and hour or two behind). And then my work day ended with extensive fixes (for re-air) of a show that had gone, well, not so well, when it was shot. A day that began with an assumption of time at home ended with more time than normal at work. Let's face it, whether you work in television or not, things change.

There are days when I feel that nothing really defines my life as much as change. While the last few years have certainly put me on a roller coaster of job change, it is not just work that has changed. Each day, as we learn the rules and patterns of our current situations, we are faced with change that will force us to re-learn and adjust. Whether it's our kids getting older or changing schools, or our living situation shifting slightly, or not so slightly, we deal with change pretty much every day. How we handle our jobs or parenting our children may seem to run our lives, but how we manage change is what really defines us. Do we let change stop us in our tracks--render us powerless to take the next steps? Or do we face change as the adventure it can become? Do we complain about change, because it leaves us unsteady? Or do we embrace it, because it teaches us new skill sets and new strengths?

Today was just one of many days that became very different than what I'd expected--life'll do that to you. We can't control that--we don't have the power. But when we control how we react to change, we become very powerful--able to fix, and learn, and even grow a little along the way. Whatever life is now, it's likely to change. We can all become agents of change (or at least managers of it). It's simply a question of believing in our ability to handle it when things change. And knowing that managing change will make us that much more ready for whatever the next steps in life will be.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


It wasn't until I went to post yesterday's entry that I realized that it was number 1000 in a string of posts that began close to three years ago. I doubt that I realized on Day 1 that I would still be posting all these days later, or that I could have imagined 1000 posts and counting. I suspect that the creators of soap operas that lasted into the 5-digit numbers didn't imagine those numbers either when they began creating their serial worlds.

When I started, 1001 posts ago, I simply wanted to tell a few stories, to keep twenty-plus years of working in soaps from becoming just a dim memory, to recognize people who had shaped my life, and to make sense of a world that had been turned upside down. Posting has taken me up and down, through the euphoria of new experiences and the despair of difficult ones. It has reminded me daily that we really are capable of changing and growing and discovering. It has given me a purpose on days when purpose was hard to see and a calling card when I was unsure quite what to call myself.

1001 is a big number. It would be enough to stop and still feel that I had accomplished something. But there is more to say. There is more to discover. And there is still room to grow. And still more chance to remind myself that I'm nowhere near washed up yet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Play Day

For most of my career, I have worked on at least some of the national holidays. Whether it's news or entertainment, television doesn't necessarily stop for commemorations and for start of or middle of or end of summer sales. Today, however, I was free and clear. And while there were chores to be done, I embraced the day for what it gave me--a day to spend with my kids--not me at work with them at home on their own or with a sitter. Not me cleaning all day with them watching videos or doing homework. Today, we all played, at least a little, and it felt good.

It is not always easy to stay in sync with the myriad schedules that rule our lives. School vacations don't always correspond to work vacations, free times for kids don't always match up with free times for adults. I have spent years working while my kids played, and some years with available time when they had none. Today, we were together, free both in time and in spirit. There were games, and laughter, a little cooking, and a brief putting aside of some of the responsibilities that control us daily.

Not every day can be a play day. There is work to be done, and there are things to accomplish, and the clock rarely stops for long enough for us just to play. But I was reminded today how important--and enjoyable--it is to grab a play day when we get one--for the laughter that we otherwise miss, for a view of our family that we often don't get, for the literal and figurative fresh air that we don't always breathe.

Tomorrow, it will be back to work and back to school. But because of our play day, we will all return to normal life just a little more ready to face whatever comes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Here Now Hero

I travel home in a complicated, but smoothly running, series of steps. Aside from the souvenir that is too much of a liquid to come along in my carry-on (perhaps someone will enjoy Kentucky lemon meringue!), it all goes off without a hitch, right down to the hugs on my return and the child's performance I feared I would miss if my plane was late. I am home.

Without question, it feels good to be with my family, in my own bed, in my own chaotic apartment. It feels good to be part of and there for. And yet, quickly upon my return, I am faced with things I should be able to fix, now that I am back, and I can't fix them. Quickly upon my return, I am reminded that being here, rather than miles away, makes me present, but doesn't always make me powerful.

There will be unpacking, and regrouping, and returning to the day-to-day life that I missed for a few days. I may not be able to solve all the things awaiting solving, but I am here, and I guess at least I can try.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kentucky Bound, Part 4

...In which I prepare to be New York bound...

My work here in Kentucky is done. After days of prep, and days of nerves, and days of travel, and days of shooting, I am packing up the scripts and the camera cards, saying goodbye to the new group of people I have gotten to work with, and hoping against hope that there will be a next time. It's funny how life works out--the things that make us comfortable certainly make us comfortable, but sometimes the things that make us nervous, that test us a little, are the ones that make us soar. In the past few days, I have been reminded that AD work is not dead. I have been reminded that though I am not in an AD/Editor job, as I once was at ABC, I am still very much an AD and an Editor. I have been reminded that being away from my family briefly doesn't mean I don't care, it just means I'm away from my family briefly. And I have been reminded that there's a person in here, a person with whom it can be easy to lose touch.

And thus ends my Kentucky bound story. A few days to work and remember, to grow, and to look forward. Who knew you could find out so much from a little trip to Kentucky?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Kentucky Bound, Part 3

As I finish Day 3 of my Kentucky gig, I can't help but think how nice it has been to share meals and cars and work and laughter with this group of people, most of whom I've never worked with before. I think about how every one of them is working as hard as I am. I think about the ones who are new at this, and the ones who have been at it for years, and the ones who, like me, are both veteran and new at the same time. I listen to stories of other jobs and of families back home (wherever home is), stories about new methods and new equipment. I learn all sorts of things from all sorts of people. And I find that I, too, have stories to tell.

Soon, my much-anticipated trip south will be over. I will go back to the day-to-day of local work and family life. I may return to the same things as I left, but I will not be quite the same person. That's just how it is when we open ourselves to new experiences. Working on a sitcom changed how I worked on soaps. Editing news changed how I edit promos. Being part of a traveling crew in Kentucky, on a program of classical music, will change how I AD, how I choose work, and how I approach the adventures that life continues to throw at me. And I am glad for that. Soon, I will go from Kentucky bound to New York bound. But I will be glad to take a little bit of Kentucky home with me.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kentucky Bound, Part 2

So--for the burning question--"Why Kentucky?" I am working these next few days on a Live From Lincoln Center special about the Chamber Music Society's residency at Shaker Village in Lexington, Kentucky. It is what has become a rare opportunity for me to AD, and each minute takes me back to what I love about that...

The director and I are talking about shots, and the Chamber Music Society Coordinator says it's as if we are speaking a different language. I know that language, and it is exciting to be able to understand it and have an opportunity to speak it.

I am going over setups and schedule with camera operators, some new to this kind of endeavor, some veterans. What I say to each may be different, but my message is the same--your particular expertise matters here, and together, we will get through this and make a great show. I love being the person who conveys that kind of energy.

I am hearing and overhearing information that matters, and I am passing it along so we can do something about it. I feel knowledgeable and proactive, and it feels good.

I am seeing things that will affect shots or traffic or the day in general, and I can do something about them. It really does matter that I'm here.

I'm on my feet with the crew, cold when they're cold, standing on the meal line and sitting at long tables with all the people working on this job. I am part of a team, a production team. It has been a long time.

I am back at my hotel, preparing to sleep before an early call and a busy day. It will be long, but I've done longer. It will be the good kind of "we did it" tired.

Yesterday, I wondered how traveling to work would feel. Today, I am reminded of how worth it the travel can be when you love the work.

To be continued...