I often speculate on how my husband, the perpetual dreamer and I got (and STAYED) together. To his dreams, I bring a sense of Russian pragmatism, which I call realism, but he calls pessimism. He envisions the movies he’ll write, Oscars he’ll win, old firehouses he’ll convert into the dream work/live space for us. I, on the other hand, put a concrete ceiling on my aspirations. When I think “I’d never win…,” he counters with “When I win…” Psychology is definitely in his corner.
“Put it in the ether,” he preaches as if it’s as easy as whispering a secret to your best friend. I don’t want to abuse my privilege; I use my “put it in the ether” moderately. Like, “I will find parking right near the theater tonight,” and works almost every time! “Put it in the ether” is a bit like, “If you build it, they will come.”
You see, to Russians “put it in the ether” is synonymous with jinxing it. If you say it like it’s already happened, you’re guaranteeing it won’t. No matter how few cars there are on the road, I will not call my father, en route to his house and say, “there’s no traffic, I’ll be there soon.” I was raised to believe saying something like that will ultimately lead to stand-still traffic. Mothering has something to do with it. While his mother believed she could walk through raindrops, my mother believed we had an unlucky bullseye on our family. She thought if something unfortunate happened, it was because the Almighty pointed his staff directly at her and said, “give her the smallest curtained room in the Emergency room!”
Lately, though, I’ve noticed my “put it in the ether” declarations have been very on target. Evidence A) Last month, on our way to Philadelphia for the weekend, I mentioned how the only person I knew who lived there was Jennifer Weiner. Within four hours we were having lunch at a cafe on the side of Washington Park and I met and had an awkward conversion with Jennifer Weiner.
Evidence B) Last week as I got out of the car heading towards a meeting I told my husband, “I’m going to meet a famous person” and sure enough, I ran into a taping of Access Hollywood and “met” Billy Bush (read: selfie).
Evidence C) Last night, on our way to A Color Purple on Broadway when I had a similar celebrity premonition. Walking into the theater, I spot Jesse L. Martin, one of my theater icons, star of the original cast of Rent on Broadway.
Maybe this “put it in the ether” is more than a declaration to yourself out loud of what you truly want. It goes beyond propelling your entire energy towards making them happen. Putting it into the ether (and writing it down) is a list, a reminder, a guide, inspiration, reinforcement, motivation.
In addition to putting it out there, I added a secondary mantra: “why not ME?”
Recently the private journals of Octavia Butler, the award-winning science fiction writer, were released. Within them, she shared a vision board where she predicted everything that would happen to her. It is one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever seen.
I am taking a crack at this putting it officially into the ether in the form of a digital list. Stand back, the world, here I come:
- I will finish my 365 Project to a great celebration and a “365” tattoo.
- I will turn my project into a Best-Selling book: Life Clubs: Join the Club (title optional), which will be a culmination of notes of the experience together with the best of autobiographical club essays.
- I will have a book signing and my true fans (I love you so much) will sit in the front row. I will cry and laugh and probably hate most of the photos of me taken that evening but it will be the best day of my life up until that point.
- I will be on the Today Show. I will re-meet Billy Bush and remind him how we took a selfie together and I didn’t know where the camera was on my phone and also that I lied about my age by making myself older. He will remember none of this inconsequential fodder but will laugh politely. I will complement the makeup of everyone around me.
- My agent will advance me for my next book, the 300+ page print out I haven’t touched in five years. I will reopen this and fan it into a flame “as fuck” as the millennials say. (They add this on much like we added on “in bed” onto the end of a fortune cookie.)
- My romantic comedy “Plan A/Plan B” will become a bigger best seller than my first book.
- I will have at least two book signings for my second book. There will be more fans, but the same die hards will be in the first row and they will love me even more.
- See you at the Oscars. I have a few years to master my comfort level in front of the camera.