Friday, April 22, 2011

My Brush With Celebrity

If you knew me when I was growing up—or if you’ve read my previous posts, such as last year's post on Grease—one thing you’d say about me is that I was one star-struck kid. I had several celebrity crushes over those formative years, but you never forget your first celebrity crush. Rick Springfield was mine! His was the first concert I ever went to. I still remember the excitement I felt when my parents gave me the tickets, and seeing him perform contributed to my lifelong love of live music. I used to rush home from school every day to try to catch a glimpse of Rick as Dr. Noah Drake during the last 15 minutes of General Hospital. My friends and I would play his music constantly.

So when I heard that Rick Springfield had written an autobiography entitled Late, Late at Night, and was doing a book signing at Indigo Books in Toronto, I couldn’t miss it! I had to rearrange my calendar significantly to attend the book signing, but I rushed down to Indigo, and arrived there, full of anticipation, and very excited to be meeting someone that was such an important part of my childhood.

When I found the line up, my first thought was “Oh, this isn’t too long. Poor Rick, I hope more people show up than this.” Then a security guard said “You have to line up there"--and pointed to the hundreds of people (mostly women) lined up around the rows of bookshelves behind me. My heart sank as I walked nervously from row to row, glancing at the hordes of people, wondering if I would even get to meet him. Finally, I got to the end of the line. Jessie’s Girl, along with other hits, played in the background. I talked with two women in line with me, and discovered that their stories were similar to mine, and a lot of the other women in line. There were a lot of kids rushing home from school to watch him on GH in those days! We laughed and reminisced about our celebrity “friend,” and couldn’t wait until he came out. Finally, he appeared. I was too far back and couldn’t see him, though. While I was in line, a lady came over, and put a post-it note on my book to make it easier for Rick to sign. We were under strict orders to get the autograph, the photo, and move on.

I inched closer to the front of the line, and finally, I could see the stage! And Rick! He smiled, signedbooks, and posed for countless photos. After what seemed like an eternity, it was my turn to meet Rick Springfield. I walked onto the stage, and there he was in front of me—my childhood crush!

It’s so nice to meet you!” I beamed. I meant it. I felt like I was seeing an old friend.

“It’s nice to meet you, too, sweetheart,” Rick replied, as he signed my book.

Wait, did Rick Springfield just call me “Sweetheart?” Insert "swoon" here. Even at 60-something, he still has that effect on women.

He then put his arm around me—yes, put his arm around me—and I got a photo taken with him.

I’m really looking forward to reading your book,” I continued as we smiled for the camera.

“I hope you enjoy it,” he replied with a sincere smile. What a nice man, I thought to myself.

Once the photo is taken, I said “Thank you,” took my signed book, and I’m ushered off the stage. My brush with stardom was over. Just like that. I exited the store, clutching my newly autographed book, and smiled. I just met Rick Springfield. It seemed surreal.

Back at home, I began reading Late, Late at Night. Written without the help of a ghostwriter, the autobiography takes you on a wild ride through the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll lifestyle Rick lived. It covers his childhood in Australia and England, his musical beginnings, rise to fame, and the height of his career. It chronicles his relationship with his wife Barbara, which has lasted 30 years despite numerous infidelities over the years. At the heart of the book is Rick’s long battle with and recovery from depression (affectionately named “Mr. D.”), which caused him to leave the music business at the height of his fame. The book is honest, candid, and Rick doesn’t hold back. As a reader, you feel like you really get to know him, and empathize with him and his struggles. As a fan, I enjoyed reading about Rick’s amazing life, and what was going on behind the scenes during the height of Rick’s career.

Whether you’re a Rick Springfield fan or not, if you’re looking for a really good book, I’d highly recommend Late, Late at Night. It’s a great, great, read.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goodbye 2010, hello 2011

Every January, as many people do, I contemplate and write down my goals for the coming year, and what I want to accomplish in each area of my life. Along with my goals, I always give the year ahead a keyword that embodies the theme of the year, and ties my goals together. My 2010 goals had two keywords: restoration and balance.

As I look back on 2010, I am struck by several things.

1. It was one of the busiest years of my life, a total whirlwind. And whirlwind is not synonymous with restoration or balance. Despite the breakneck pace, I believe that the hard work I did in 2010 planted the seeds for restoration and balance. It was a year of discovery and rediscovery for me. I began 2010 with a lot of uncertainty about what direction I should take, and I spent the year searching for answers. I tried everything, put it all out there into the universe, to see what came back to me, what stuck. In the end, it paid off, as I clearly realized what works in my life, and what doesn’t. I now know what I need to do to accomplish the restoration and balance I seek, to live the life I want to live, and I look forward to making that happen in 2011.

2. There were several goals that I am very proud of, and hit out of the ballpark. My relationship with my sweetie continues to make me so happy, and I am truly blessed. We have a wonderful life, and I look forward to our future together. I am proud of the writing I did in 2010, and am grateful for the wonderful people I interviewed and wrote about this year.

3. 2010 provided a dividing line of sorts between my “old” and “new” lives. It was a year of transition, a year that would take me from who I was, into the person I am becoming. It was a bit disconcerting at times, as everything had changed this year. Moving back to the city I grew up in, and starting a new life filled with new challenges and accomplishments. I questioned my ideas of success and what that means. My previous ideas of self-esteem were shaken up and tossed out, and in their place is a new, peaceful concept of self-esteem that comes from within. Along with that is a new understanding of what is important in life, and what isn’t. I learned about fulfillment, and realized that it doesn’t come from accomplishments, material possessions, or being a perpetual people-pleaser. It comes from being true to and accepting of myself and my shortcomings—realizing that it’s OK if some people don’t like me, that I don’t have to jump through hoops to please people who can’t be pleased.

4. This blog was born in 2010, and I have loved writing it. I am excited for another fun year of arts and entertainment posts. In 2010, I continued to be inspired by the arts. I saw a lot of musicals, read some great books, and wrote some articles that I am proud of. In 2011, I will continue to live creatively, and look forward to blogging about my journey.

In the end, I would say the keyword for 2010 ended up being “searching.” Searching for answers, searching for the person I want to be. As we enter a new year, I am excited by the possibilities that 2011 brings. I look forward to new goals, good times, and creating beautiful memories. I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011.