Monday, July 13, 2009

Associating With Greatness

Okay, since the whole Michael Jackson funeral/spectacle last week, I've been thinking. I know it's a dangerous pasttime similar to skydiving, but hey, sometimes I like to live on the edge.

And I was watching the funeral from my couch, in my pajamas cuz I had it DVR'ed. And there was this woman who had flown all the way from Brooklyn or somewhere in New York just to stand on the street like three blocks away.

This stunned me. I was like, For real?

But why?

I mean, I grew up in the eighties, so I get the adoration of MJ. We (meaning me and my sister) choreographed moves to some of his songs, and who didn't learn Thriller? So I get tuning in to see the funeral, but I stayed in the comfort of my own home. I don't get flying across the country just to stand on the street.

Here comes the thinking part.

And I've finally concluded that it all has to do with Associating Oneself with Greatness. Think about it. Wouldn't you want to associate with Michael Jackson (as perhaps messed up as he was) or Oprah or say, Holly Root or Rachelle Gardner or Jessica Faust or Kristin Nelson or Nathan Bransford?

I would.

And why?

Because we believe they're great.

Enter more thinkage, and a few MJ lyrics.

Heal the world

Make it a better place

So that's my thing. I want to make the world a better place. With my books, my blog, my life. I used to listen to my favorite Michael Jackson song, Man In The Mirror, everyday on the way to school. It helped me to realize that I couldn't change those kids, their life circumstances or make the right choices for them.

But I could--and can--change myself. What I say. Do. Think. React to. Ignore. All of it.

So I've associated myself with greatness. Pat, Heather, Suzy, Carolyn and Mary are the kewlest critmates, blogging buddies and downright best friends ever. They are the epitome of what it's like to live your life intending to make the world a better place.

Christine, Lisa, Laura, Michelle, and Katie make my world a better place with their constant encouragement and uplifting emails. Thanks, guys.

I love hanging out in the QueryTracker forum. I think the people there make the world a better place. I also love going to my Writing Throwdown forum and reading the support people show each other there. That is a small slice of the world that is made better--and most of those people are you guys, the Mindless Musing blog readers. So thanks.

I'll be gone to Yellowstone the rest of this week, enjoying the beauty of this world. I could write a bunch of posts and set them to autopost, but I like to discuss with all of you, so I'm not going to do that.

I'd like to open the blog this week for you to talk about greatness. Who out there has influenced you? Made your life better? Made your world a better place to live? I want to associate with those people. All of them.

I want to be great. And to do that, I must Associate With Greatness.


Andrea Cremer said...

Elana - what a lovely post! And as a follower of your blog, I must say you are great!!

You're absolutely right about searching for greatness and it's best if we find it in the faces and lives of our friends and fellow writers.

I couldn't do my writing without the amazing support of my family and crit buddies.

One of my favorite quotes - I have only seen further because I stand on the shoulders of giants (Isaac Newton).

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Super post, Elana. And Andrea, I love that quote.
I think the first time I recognized greatness was when I comprehended, not just read, Shakespeare. (Now, I admit that's not a revolutionary person to pick, but it's true). I also was astounded by the brave writing of Thomas Hardy, who tackled social issues nobody wanted to talk about. From them, I learned that the arts could shake up the world, that there could be message in entertainment without being preachy.
There have been many wonderful people who've expanded my horizons and taught me by the example of how they live, but, if I pick one, it would be my late mother-in-law who loved all the arts with a passion and considered them vital to a life well lived.

Anonymous said...

Nicely said, Elana - as always.
My goal, with writing and my life, has been to inspire others to recognize he greatness in themselves. I have dedicated my life to do that in my work and with my family. In my writing, I like to tackle the things that get in the way of a person recognizing there own authentic greatness - fear, anxiety, pain, loss, etc.. It has always been my wish that the writing does more than just give a great diversion for a little while (though there is nothing wrong with that). I want people to finish reading and feel inspired to do something they maybe didn't consider before.

Elana - thank YOU for reminding me of this everytime we talk!

ElanaJ said...

Oooh, I love that quote, Andrea. Thanks for sharing!

Tricia, my family inspires me daily. How cool that it's your MIL; you're lucky to have in-laws you love. :)

Christine, YOU inspire ME every time we talk! Man, twinner vibe going again...

Scott said...

Here's my thoughts about MJ - why so much media attention? I mean, seriously, televising his funeral? Most dead Presidents didn't get that much coverage!

Sorry, had to rant about that. I might be in the minority here, but the whole associating with greatness thing kind of eludes me. Now, I have stood in line to get a book signed . . . more than once. So, in my way, that's associating with greatness. Still, I wouldn't expect the funeral of Marion Zimmer Bradley to be aired on television.

I agree with Andrea that "it's best if we find it in the faces and lives or our friends and fellow writers". I have some very close friends that I call "kindred spirits" (that line taken from Anne of Green Gables). These are people that I had an instant connection with, and just 'knew' in that instant of meeting. These are people I share my life with. I guess the same goes for the blogs I follow. I'm just not a willy-nilly follower. I read the blogs, get a 'feel' for the blogger, and then click the magic button so I can follow them. Am I following greatness or talent? Are they one and the same?

Heck if I know. I just know I feel a connection towards them, find what they are saying is important to me, and follow them to bask in their brilliance!


Lisa and Laura said...

You, ElanaJ, are greatness personified. I'm honestly not sure we would have landed an agent without your fabulous critique of Kate.

I love that all of our blog/writing friends are at different stages in the game and yet are all destined for greatness. It's fun to be a part of everyone's journey.

What a happy post for a Monday morning!!

Icy Roses said...

I love MJ. :-(

I don't think the news coverage was too much. Because nobody ever complains when the media covers other stuff of total irrelevance (which happens a lot, I promise, like during the day when they know nobody is watching, they report stupid stuff like: HEY LOOK THIS HOUSE IS ON FIRE, when probably several hundred houses are on fire across the country) AHEM. And obviously more people cared about MJ dying than anything. Which maybe says something about our culture, but the news can't do anything about that. Tragedy and spectacle sell.

What a lovely post. Almost everybody who has been in my life has made it better. I'm a very lucky girl.

Not sound like a total suckup, but your blog makes my Mon-Fri better. I'm so glad I found it!

B.J. Anderson said...

What a great post! My mom is the person who influenced my life the most. :) She's pretty darn great. As for famous people, I can't really name one off the top of my head. I think J.K. Rowling is awesome and would stand in a big long line to have a book signed by her.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, man, what a great post!

I live about six miles from Neverland and most of us living here think people are pretty nuts to be hanging around the gates waiting for a dead guy who's never going to show up.

But I think you nailed it on the head. The association with greatness. It's why I started blogging, to meet other writers who would inspire and encourage me (and give me pointers!).

You put it so well, dare I say, with greatness? Excellent post!

Lady Glamis said...

I don't want to pin down just specific people, so I must say that all of my regular followers and commenters on my blog are great. Anybody dedicated to reading what I write is great in my book!

My husband is great, too. Without him I wouldn't be anywhere!

Danyelle said...

All of the people I blog with are Great. That's why I love 'em! :D

Shelli said...

Just know if anything ever happened to you - Ill fly there and stand outside for you. :)

wait does that sounds bad ? It was meant to be a compliment.

Kat Harris said...

You're going to Yellowstone?

Talk about greatness!

It doesn't get any greater than that.

Now I'm jealous. :-S

Suzette Saxton said...

You're so sweet. You are the one who is great! I'm lucky to know you.

Lazy Writer said...

Definitely my children. They remind me every day to never give up!

Ali Cross said...

That was a beautiful post Elana, and I totally, whole-heartedly agree with you.

It's like that self-fulfilling prophecy thing. Or the "you are what you eat" thing. Hang out with people you admire, who are better than you (or so you think,) who have qualities you aspire to and guess what? You'll probably become like them, and someone else will want to aspire to be like YOU.

Very cool.

I for one am very grateful to have you in my crit group. You are awesome, and so talented and fun. I want to be more like you. :)

Nisa said...

Truer words were never spoken. What a great post! I hope you have an amazing time in yellowstone! I was just in Idaho, but I didn't get that far north. We made it as far as Rexsburg. It's such a beautiful place though. I hope you get some inspiration for writing while you're there!

Mary Lindsey said...

You are one of the coolest, talented people ever. I'm honored to know you, Elana.

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