The Good, The Bad, and The Realization

Last week was a roller coaster of bad news/good news. One day in particular made my head spin.

My stress level was through the roof due to trying to wrap a story that was already late. I only had a few hours to write that morning as I had to work at the library later that day. I stopped at one moment to check my email. This is the good news part. Abby, my editor at HQN, had sent me a PDF of my cover for ALL ABOUT EVIE. It was so striking, so clever in concept, it moved me to tears. I'm bursting to share it with you, but the art department is tweaking a couple of things and I'm not in possession of the finalized version. But soon, I promise. Soon.

Seeing that cover provided me with a burst of confidence and energy. I plunged back into ROMANCING THE WEST and typed away, thinking, I'm living my dream.

Thirty minutes later, I got a call from my entertainment agent. He started the conversation with, "I have some bad news."

I thought long and hard about how much detail I wanted to put in this post about losing the last of my singing gigs here in the Atlantic City casinos. A place where I performed regularly for the last seven years. I've decided, not much. Mostly because I could really get on my soap box about ageism in entertainment and I fear I'd just come across as bitter. Sour grapes and all that. I'm not here to bitch and moan. I'm here to inspire. So let me take this angle...

The hard ugly truth is, in the eyes of the execs now running the AC casinos, I'm past my prime. Not just me, but almost all of my performer friends. Anyone my age or older. "Beth's had a good long run," one of the execs said. "Time for fresh blood." Young blood, he meant. But I'm not going there. The thing is, I have had a good long run. I've been performing in the casinos for twenty years. I have been blessed. And just because they (the casinos) don't want me anymore, doesn't mean that my talents wouldn't be appreciated on 'the outside'. I could explore other venues. The question is, do I want to? The answer, after a few days thought, not really.

I'm a master at juggling jobs, projects. For the past year I've been singing, emceeing, working at the library, and writing. The library is now my steady gig. The one that helps to pay the bills. I'm fortunate to have landed a day job that I actually enjoy. I still have the emcee gig. I'm behind the scenes so age/look doesn't factor in. It's only once a month and just around the corner. I'm grateful to have it for as long as it lasts. As to any other kind of perfoming, as I said, it would have to be outside of AC. That means travel. That means devoting time to learning new songs or scripts, whatever the gig entails.

I examined the pros and cons. I listened to my heart. I only have so much creative energy and I'm no longer willing to spend it on anything other than my true passion. I used to burn to perform. Now I burn to write. So that's what I'm going to do. Write. I'm still entertaining. It's not like I've retired. I'm simply moving on, striving for new adventures. And you know what? It feels good.

"The best is yet to be" ~~Robert Browning

Comments

Barb said…
Don't worry darlin'. There's always karaoke. Just kidding. But this is probably a blessing in disguise. You have run yourself ragged for far too many years.
Commendable, however now it is time to focus on what you truly love to do. What you were born to do. And what you will excel at for all time.I love you and I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN!!!!!
Richard said…
Hi Beth,
These times of transition are an opportunity for many of us! I also work in a library, am taking evening classes, and want to find more time for writing. You are following your dream, so keep it going, lady!
Mary Stella said…
Wait a minute, I thought I was Beth's biggest fan? Oh, okay. I guess her sister trumps me. *G* waves and blows kisses to Barb

Beth, I agree. You've run yourself ragged. Now you will actually have more time to write and more time to spend with Steve. Living the dream means also having time to enjoy yourself.
Alison Kent said…
I'm glad you're listening to your heart!
Charlene Teglia said…
Very wise, Beth, you only have so much energy and you have to choose where to spend it. Here's to many, many more books!
Tori Lennox said…
*hugs* I'm sorry about the bad news, but focusing on the writing sounds like an excellentn plan. And maybe we'll see you around here a bit more. :)
Jordan Summers said…
I mean this with all sincerity, it is THEIR loss--not yours.
Beth Ciotta said…
You're right, Barb. Karaoke is always an option. But only if you do it with me. :)

You're right. It's time to focus more on what I truly love. Funy you should say 'what you're born to do.' There's a blog post in that.

Thank you for your sappy, sentimental declaration. *sniffle* I'm blessed.
Beth Ciotta said…
Richard, thank you so much for the shout of support. I didn't realize you were a fellow librarian. Woo-hoo! Actually, I'm just a library assistant. No formal schooling. Learning on the job and taking classes here and there offered by our county system. I love it. Hang in there with your writing. What are you working on?
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi Mary! Um, I can have two 'biggest fans'. :) "Living the dream also means having time to enjoy yourself." I like that. Yet another thing to tape by my computer. :)


Waving to Alison! From one juggler to another. I don't know how you do all you do. Bowing to your greater energy. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Charlene, you must be a master by now when it comes to focusing energy. Between your family and multiple contracts, it can't be easy. Here's to many more books for ALL of us.

Hugs, Tori. Thanks you. Yeah, you'll probably be seeing mearound blogosphere a little more. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Thank you, Jordan! *sniffle* I appreciate that. :)
Roni said…
Beth, you are wise to listen to your heart. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and maybe this is the Universe saying "time to do more writing." The casinos' loss is your readers' gain! You'll be able to devote more time to your passion of writing...and your books are wonderful, so your readers will be overjoyed!
Beth Ciotta said…
Roni, my agent said the same thing. "Things happen for a reason." :) I do believe that to be true. Sometimes it just takes a few breaths or days to remember. :)
Awww I know that's got to sting. But you have followed your dream and now you are following a new dream. And good for you.
ElsieHogarth said…
Beth, things happen for a reason and I'm glad that you are listening to your heart because you have soooo many fans out there: Biggest Fan, Number #1 Fan, Favorite Stalker Fan etc.
Bethany said…
Oh my! I can't imagine that phone call. Or what it does to ones self-esteem.

What I CAN say, is that you have taken a healthy approach. But one thing, if you need a good healthy cry or scream in this situation, no one would look down on you for it. It is a part of your life--an important one--that is now passing. And that alone is a big deal.