(Right now, I’m focusing on my memoirist work that I’ll call, simply, “Pictures of Tommy” -- all about my psychotic brother and his legacy. If so inclined, please share, and tell me what you think. . . )
MY CHARMED LIFE
(I even get to meet my writing idol and inspiration, Mr. Tom Wolfe, at the Southampton Writer's Conference in 2004. . .)
One memorable conversation with Tom went pleasantly. He was in a good mood. “I’ve made peace with my God,” Tom said. “And, uh, we’re in a good place.” He continued, saying how his faith was stronger than ever and that he was doing well. His poetry was coming along, he was liking what he wrote, and some of it was getting published, even.
He asked me about copyrighting, and I said I’d done some of that with the proper forms and all, but that maybe it was just as effective to mail copies of work to yourself, certified mail, and not open it. I’d heard that might work, but hadn’t confirmed that with a reliable source. On the conversation meandered.
Then, it took a strange turn. “Laurie, I heard you and your husband were laid off and you’re worried about money. I could send you a ten,” he offered.
“Oh Tom, thank you. That’s very generous. But we need jobs, not a quick fix.” The idea that ten dollars could help when the mortgage and bills came to around three grand a month was laughable, but at least his heart was in the right place. I wonder what he was thinking when the next words came out of his mouth:
“Laurie, you know, you haven’t really lived up to your potential.” If he’d stuck me in the eye with a hot poker, it probably would have been just as hurtful. What could I say to that? Did I say, Tom, you know, I’m still trying? Did I say, that’s your opinion, schmoe -- and hang up? Did I say what, do you mean you haven’t lived up to YOUR potential? I don’t remember.
Suffice to say, I probably got off the phone as quickly as I could and mulled it over. I know it made me resolve to try even harder, to work even more at making something of myself in what I do best, in the talents God gave me: music and writing. It also made me angry, sad, and feel really low. . . the nerve of him saying that! Like I need a kick in the pants?
Maybe. . .