“I want to make people happy because of something I did.” That was the answer I always gave a grownup when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course in 1963 I wanted to be Alan Shepard the astronaut, then I wanted to be Sean Connery. One dream I had was to go to American University in Washington, D.C., and learn to be a diplomat. But the creative side of life always tugged at my shirt.
I first experienced it when our little town had a summer theatre for kids. Here you auditioned and could get a part in a play. Looking back I’m amazed at how loving that little South Texas town was. For me I was stage struck.
The other oxygen in my life was poetry. Writing and writing like mad. It helped me process the anger I had to deal with from a brother whom I loved as he took out all his frustrated violent anger on me. This was after my Dad, with a complex, loving soul, however, took out his frustration and violence on my brother.
Throughout high school I won these little summer scholarships where I got to go to a university and do summer theatre. But life abruptly altered after a devastating incident where I was thrown out of a play for making the cast wait time and again. That incident took two years off my life. Poetry help me recover. And my interest in research and writing started up new a direction. I said to myself, “The applause will last longer in the writing.”
The creative writing started at my Dad’s furniture store. He was always a whirling dervish of ideas on sales. And when I was 13, Dad started letting me write some newspaper ads. “The Thanksgiving’s Golden Egg Sale.” A hit for so many years. Basically it dealt with a helicopter that dropped colorful plastic eggs over a parking lot. People showed up and scrambled for those eggs (no pun intended). Inside the eggs where different discount percentages off the sale of your purchase. There were other crazy sales, and this led me to major in advertising at the University of Texas.
It is at this point I will tell you that I am addicted to creating. It is my vocation. First state the problem. What’s the hell for the buyer? What’s the heaven for the buyer? Know the audience. Make sure the product is not ﬂimﬂam, and write one helluva of an ad.
This is where collaboration comes in. And the satisfying act of collaboration? Oh God, when it is right it is an orgasmic intellectual explosion of the senses. A happy blinding snowstorm of colored confetti. It is so exhilarating to share with someone in the creation of an idea. It’s in my blood. I’m absolutely positive in some type of afterlife I’ll still be creating.
That’s where creating new ways of seeing aging excites me. I’m that one kernel of popcorn. That first one. Sizzling in the oil of hypocrisy, in how we are told to act as we grow older. I’m the one ready to “POP” and take a new delightful form. Just to show people you can always see things in a better way. Creativity is my food, my passion, my undying love. My vocation.
And there is one disclaimer that comes with it. It’s in very small print. Oh baloney, it’s on a gigantic, klieg-lighted billboard in my psyche. The disclaimer reads: Will the message help someone ? Can this person’s life be better for whatever time? Would they be happy from something I did?