Rita Wilson on Doing What you Love

More Magazine’s editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour interviews Rita Wilson at the Reinvention Convention in LA 

 I love what Rita Wilson has to say about reinvention.  I saw her speak recently at More Magazine’s Reinvention Convention in LA.  She encourages us to think about what we loved to do as children.  This rang all sorts of bells for me because lately I’ve been asked over and over about success, and over and over I hear people confess that they loathe their job.  “I’m good at it, but I hate it.”  And I wonder about that.  Our society, school, most institutions teach us to ask the question:  what am I good at?  But I think that’s an unfortunate if not plain dangerous question.  When I finally realized that I was a writer, a lot of people looked at me uncomfortably, knowing what I then didn’t know about how hard the writing life is, and said, “Then you should go into adverstising.”  I’d look at them strangely.  “I want to write novels.  Not jingles about Keebler elves.”  They’d just shake their heads.

If I look back at who I’ve been since I was a little girl, there are pages and pages to prove that I’ve been writing stories since the beginning.  I have journals that go back to fourth grade full of story ideas.  I once wrote a whole journal-sized book (my first memoir, I suppose) entitled, “Things Not to Do to Your Kids.”  I’m afraid to read it because I’m afraid I’ve committed every one of those “sins” as a mother.

But it’s a good exercise, especially if you are at a crossroads in your life.  What do you LOVE to do?  Who have you been being all along without even thinking about it?   What comes naturally to you that you can’t wait to do?  What homework assignments had you racing to get home?  I remember one that had my spirit soaring.  It was fourth grade and the English teacher asked us to write a poem about our favorite place.  I have it right here, in fact:

Small Lake

(this is a lake by another name in Wisconsin where we spent our summers.  For some reason I felt the need to protect it, much like you never hear the name of any town or creature in my book except my daughter’s pet rat Houdini.) …remember– fourth grade, so with only a speck of apology…here goes:

At three o’clock this morning

I walked down to Small Lake.

I sat myself beside a tree

And longed for the large pond to wake.

As time went by my patience died

And into the lake I threw,

A rock which skipped at least three times

Then sank without a clue.

Suddenly a fish jumped up

And frogs began to croak

Which sounded very similar

To an elephant about to choke.

Way off in the distance

I heard the loon’s lonely cry

The sun gleamed down upon me

And then I heaved a sigh.

I knew that I must go now

To part with the pine and the fern

How sad I was to leave Small Lake

You can be sure that I’ll return.

Hopefully you have a fond smile in your lips.  I do.  It’s sweet and dramatic just like any fourth grade writer should be. 

Then in seventh grade, I wrote this poem for a school contest and won it.

Man at the Seashore

The withering man with the idiot’s eyes

Lives under a shelter of rock.

He lives a life full of sorrows and lies and digs for shells by the dock.

The sea is his friend and the waves talk to him

There is nothing that they haven’t told.

The trees give him shade as he climbs on a limb

And watches the world grow old.

If it’s reinvention that you seek, look into your youth.  See what’s there.  See who you already are.

7 Comments

Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, Motherhood, My Posts

7 Responses to Rita Wilson on Doing What you Love

  1. I had glandular fever when I was in my second last year of high school and spent a lot of time away from school – in my free time I wrote romance novels! Hmmmm, maybe if political thrillers don’t work out for me…

  2. Kathy

    Laura, I so enjoyed this piece. Loved the story and poem from your youth. It is crystal clear that writing was in your blood and being from a very early age. As a matter of fact, many of us can’t with that much depth and breathe in our advanced years!
    I find it unbelievable that the Universe always sends messages and information just when you need it most. I am one of those people you described early on in this essay. My career feeds my family, but not my soul. It is a very difficult place to be, especially when you are totally cognizant that you are residing there!!!
    I have come to the realization that things on this front won’t change unless I initiatethe change, make the choice and move the “chess piece” so to speak. I have control, I need to chart the course. So with this newly garnered knowledge, I am doing just that, I have stepped out of my comfort zone. At first it was scary, but now it feels good. I have received much encouragement and support along the way.
    Thank you for timely message about reinvention…..I heard it…… loud and clear!!! Here is to the successful next steps of all of our journeys!!

    • lauramunson

      SO GLAD you got so much out of my little piece, Kathy. I’m learning to play chess and I wonder if the strategy “control the middle” resonates with this reinvention in your life…yrs. Laura

  3. Love how in the video clip, Rita Wilson directs the camera to focus on Lesley Jane Seymour while she’s speaking. Just goes to show you the intuitive mastery of directing that Rita has. And LOVE your poems Laura. Nothing grade school about those. Just a child’s imagination, curiosity and wonder at work. So delightful!

  4. Becky Gossett

    Thank you. That’s all. Just Thank You.

  5. The idea of going back to what you loved as a child is really interesting to me. I am a writer but never wanted to be one — sorry universe. I just didn’t. I don’t think I ever even knew that was possible. But here I am, a lot of years later – writing. I really hadn’t thought about it. Thanks for the insight!

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