Florence Foster Jenkins.
Have you heard the name? Meryl Streep is presently impersonating her -quite brilliantly, I must say – on the big screen. Disclaimer: I am NOT a movie aficionado, and I have no idea in the world of critics critiquing what constitutes a good movie. Now ask me about a book, and there’s probably a 51% chance I’ve read it – yup! I’m a closet nerd!
When I watch a movie, I have one requirement that lands it on my shortlist of favs: Did it change me? At first glance, this sounds like a tall order, but I’m talking about the imperceptible changes, the little things that you slowly peel away to reveal yourself in its purest form…
Like Michelangelo chipping away anything that wasn’t David!
Life is Beautiful. Check. Opened my eyes. (Fav movie ever)
Shawshank Redemption. Check. Friendship is golden.
Psycho. Check. Turned me against motels. AND scary movies!
Bridesmaids. Check. Laughter is good for the soul.
Florence Foster Jenkins. Check. Sing! Louder! Sing!
Florence loved to sing. So she sang. The thing is …. she couldn’t sing. Even to the untrained ear, it was obvious … quite painfully at times… that she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
This movie gave me that happy, sad feeling. You know the one? That your kid’s first day of school feeling. That decorating your grown son’s first apartment feeling.
That Happy/Sad feeling. Sort of like warm and cold air when they meet. The warm air tries to rise, and the cold air tries to fall. This makes things way up there near heaven a little shaky. And you get a thunderstorm! If the warm air is humid, something called a supercell – a very powerful thunderstorm – can happen!
A supercell shook my world when Florence didn’t stop singing! Heck, she went all the way to Carnegie Hall on the wings of passion, not talent! On her deathbed, Florence said something that changed me.
“People can say I couldn’t sing, but they’ll never say I didn’t sing.”
SO I SAY TO YOU AND I SAY TO ME ….
Dance! Faster! Dance!
Run! Harder! Run!
Breathe! Deeper! Breathe!
Write! Bravely! Write!
Start your own business. Create delicious meals. Enter that bodybuilding contest. Go back to school. Ask for the job. Model couture. Send in that demo tape (Taylor Swift did!). Exhibit your paintings. Go to another (and another and another…) audition. Pull your invention out of the closet. Sell your pottery, your jewellery, your yoga clothes, your wares. Open your gym.
Believe in your dreams! Damnit! Believe in your dreams!
And don’t worry about the naysayers. They’re going nowhere.
And you’re on your way to Carnegie Hall.