Saturday, January 24, 2009

Repost: Life Lesson from Sidney Poitier

Mom and my sister Lori Biker are visiting right now (when you live in Vegas, you get lots of visitors). We have a busy social schedule and I don't have time to put a proper blog together, so I'm going to repost something from August 12.

I started this blog in July, and this was one of my first posts. Back then, I think I had about 10 readers--maybe--so chances are you haven't read this. I'm happy to say my readership has been growing steadily. To all my blogging buddies who've been kind enough to add a link to their site, and to all of you who keep coming back to see what's up in the land of Linda Lou, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Life Lesson from Sidney Poitier

Last Sunday morning I had the pool to myself, as I often do when I get out there early enough. I floated around, engulfed in my serenity… enjoying the sunshine, blue sky and palm trees… reading my OK! celebrity rag… vowing that if John Mayer breaks Jennifer Aniston’s heart, I am personally going to kick his tattooed ass.

I also flipped through the September/October AARP magazine (yeah, I know…), which has a nice article on page 42 about Sidney Poitier. To this day, the thought of Sidney Poitier sparks a memory from childhood of watching Lilies of the Field on an old black and white TV and my mother going absolutely nuts over him.

“Look at the way he carries himself!” she sighed. Even at age eight I could kind of see her point, although I also couldn’t help but wonder if maybe my father’s Pillsbury Doughboy physique wasn’t exactly cutting it for her.

Anyway, in the article Mr. Epitome of Grace and Eloquence talks about how a shy boy from a tiny island in the Bahamas eventually made it to Harlem, where he worked as a dishwasher, and responded to a call in a newspaper for actors at the American Negro Theatre.

“When I auditioned, I read so poorly, I was thrown out,” he recounts, and then tells how the director grabbed him by the seat of his pants and said, “Just get out of here and go get yourself a job as a dishwasher or something!” Poitier had not told the man he was a dishwasher; “He was passing judgment on my worth,” he concluded.

The experience drove Poitier to improve his reading skills, which he reveals were at about a fourth-grade level. To improve his speech, Poitier bought a radio and listened carefully to a particular newscaster and would eavesdrop on people whose articulation he found impressive.

“I’d made a promise to myself that I’d become an actor just to show the man at the American Negro Theatre,” he said.

Hmmm… writers, think about those agents who respond to a query or manuscript with a simple, “Thanks, but not for me.” Suppose the agent instead replied with, “What the hell were you thinking, sending me that piece of shit? You call yourself a writer? Go out and get yourself a job as a dishwasher!”

In the long run, wouldn’t that be a kinder response?

What if that seemingly cruel director simply said to Poitier, “No thanks, not for me”?

Angels come in all disguises, don’t they?


Anonymous said...
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travel girl said...

Absolutely! Love that Man!

Hope you have a great visit with your family.

Sandi said...

I needed that today! Thank you