Getting There

GHow many of you have run a business? Raise your hands. Yeah, those of you who have run an enterprise for a decent length of time know it’s hard as hell. It’s like raising a child, and an unreasonable child at that because he doesn’t let you go to sleep at night, and when you finally do, he wakes you up. And no babysitter for him. He’s with you all the time. If by some quirk of fate he’s not, you are constantly thinking about him and what you want him to do next, and what he may do next that you don’t know about. But you don’t really mind any of this because he is after all, your child.

Right now I’m in the grip of this, and despite the unruliness of it, I’m enjoying and finding success. This makes it hard for me to give myself over to fan behavior as often as I once did. If I were a genius who had 48 hours in a day, I might be able to pull that off. But obviously I’m not. I’m just one person trying to make something that wasn’t there before.

I’m also the oldest child, which means I’ve often been placed in charge and feel most comfortable there. Man, I sound like an ass, but hey, it’s the truth. When you’re put in charge of the house or your younger sibling, it does things to you. Dare I say it makes someone bossy (no matter their sex)? Let me amplify that. I want to give advice and lecture, and it’s hard sometimes to keep myself from doing that. How’s that for some honesty?

I can also spot younger siblings from a mile away, and Richard Armitage has the demeanor of a younger sibling written all over him. Before I knew anything about his birth order, I knew he was a younger child. Older siblings never have the deer in the headlights look. If they ever had it, that was beat out of them at an early age. So when I see Richard, I often want to tell him what to do. LOL! Yes, I’m laughing. At the absurdity of that. But hey, I press on. :D

Where is all of this leading? You have to ask?

Richard,

There’s a lot of old thinking floating around. It says someone who is 42 almost 43 can’t break into Hollywood, or make any kind of major life change that’s productive to anyone but themselves. Don’t listen to that crap. Yeah, it’s crap. And those who listen to it are destined to be like most everyone else. I made one of my best life changes when I was around that age and know it was productive for others. And now I’m making another one and I’m, oh never mind, I’m supposedly too old to make a shift. Hogwash.

Anyway, you are unique, and I hope you stay that way, but I also know you’re trying to figure things out in this new phase of your career, and you’re not God and not going to make perfect choices. I would love to see the person who does. Whatever is going on, there is something so utterly appealing about who you are that it inspired me to write about you off and on the last four years. If you really knew me, you would know that is not anywhere near my MO. And there are lots of others in your “fandom” who are like me. They have been surprised at their reactions because it’s just not typical for them. But many of us have eventually figured out why the reaction, and it comes back to the fact you are not like other actors. It’s not just that you have managed at times to capture these slices of emotions that are so real they reverberate for years, but you have a kind of purity that seems like we can see to your back collar button. To wit your comment about being an actor [around 1:00]:

This also means your “trajectory” is probably not going to be like others. I’m totally okay with this and hope you are too most of the time. That’s what this note is about — a bit of cheerleading in case you’re not and from someone who is not a cheerleader by nature. Encouragement is not my strong suit. I’m a critic most days, and it’s so easy to be a critic. Any moron can be a critic. But I like you well enough as an actor and also as a person to step out of my comfort zone and say, “Keep going!”

Maybe this quote below is hackneyed. Doesn’t really matter. It’s true and still good to hear, and I’ve had it on my office wall for years and often glad. It knocks me out of the pompous critical mode and hopefully before it leads into harm of myself or anyone else:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

— Teddy Roosevelt

Mostly, it keeps me from becoming like David Letterman, a guy who used to be funny, but now just comes across as a bitter, frustrated, old crank.

As for “a worthy cause,” there is nothing wrong with making a living. That’s a damn worthy cause, and speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Signed,
A Fan who is sometimes crazy but not today.

Yep, this is some Armitage Protection Mode. Why? Isn’t it obvious? I like the guy. But that’s not all this is. A story or maybe two short ones, and then I really, really have to go back to work.

When I started my first major business, all I heard was how it could not be done or how I was was doing it wrong — this latter mostly from people who had never run a business. LOL! Whatever the case, negativity was coming at me in unbelievable waves. I realized at the time I was doing something that most people don’t do, and since many around me could not conceive it, they were going to deem it impossible. Funny enough when I was successful, I heard another story from some of those same people. Things like, “I knew you could do it.” Oh yeah. I have a good memory, and I knew they were full of it.

I doubt I could have weathered that kind of talk if I had not had a great role model — my parents. My mother became a lawyer when females were still far in the minority of that profession. But her biggest sin was going to law school after she was married and had children. That simply was not done in the late 60s/early 70s! Never mind she was summa cum laude upon graduating from college and had never failed at anything academic in her life. She was turned down from her first pick of law schools because off the record she was an established (read that: old) married mother of two underage children. I know that was the case because one of the former professors of that law school and a close friend of our family contacted the school to find out how someone with her academic record and achievements was turned down. Mom was 31 at the time. This seems ludicrous now, but that was the conventional thinking of the time.

Obviously she didn’t let that stop her, and my father was her biggest supporter. I’m so glad I was old enough to take mental notes about what they were doing and to remember the large number of people (both men and women) who told my dad that once she had a law degree, she would have no use for him? WTF? My dad ignored that and pressed on. He and my mother were crazy about each other and married until my dad passed away over 25 years later. And from all of this I learned the priceless lesson that the masses do not know best. Their thinking is too homogenized and unimaginative and like water. Ever seen water run uphill? Yeah, I figured not.

Maybe I’ll come with H and I later today.

14 Comments

  1. I’m relieved TR didn’t say “devotations,” as we all know what that would have done for his status as a role model in your eyes.

    I love TR, too, and I’ve always hated David Letterman, never watch him. He’s an angry, nasty misanthrope. I never understood the appeal of his so-called “humor.”

    Keep up the good thinking and the good writing, Frenz. I’m enjoying your “serious” stuff.

  2. No, orientate is the problem. Devotations Chris figured out, and I concur. Too bad we can’t exercise devotation more often. :D

    I’ll try to post more serious stuff, but the next piece may not be.

  3. Beautiful post….

  4. As someone who has known a fair number of people who have changed trajectory or fulfilled lifelong dreams when they were RA’s age or older, I don’t know where the idea you talk about comes from. Unless of course, it’s from people who have never tried to change anything in their lives, or tried anything new. They shouldn’t let their limitations limit others.

  5. Age discrimination is very real. I’m glad you haven’t experienced it. I have, but I refuse to receive it. I’ve also witnessed it happening to others on too many occasions to remember, but funny enough I never thought about it in relation to myself even after witnessing what happened to my mother. It wasn’t until it happened to me over and over again that I finally went, “Oh yeah, people think I’m too old for this (whatever this was at the time)”

  6. Thanks, Chris. :)

  7. Frenz, I love this post on many levels! LOVE the TR quote, love your letter to RA, love the snarky older sibling humor (speaking as a younger sib married to a classic older one :) I’m working up to starting a master’s program in 2015 so your encouragement really resonated with me. Thanks for taking time to share this!

  8. Dear Frenz,

    Thank you so much for pointing out that a change in trajectory later in life is a good thing – eg: me becoming a published author in my 50’s and now on my 7th book in my 60’s. Best years of my life!

    Thank you also for Teddy Roosevelt’s comment on critics. Writers, like actors, can be served badly by the armchair critic and TR’s wisdom seems to be that ‘who dares, wins’.

    Thank you for using ‘G’ as ‘Getting There’. As the sweat falls from my brow, I have 10,000 words remaining to write in the last book of The Gisborne Saga and sometimes feel as if I will never see the end. In truth, in moments of rationality, the end is right in front of me. It’s just up to me to choose the right path to get there.

    And finally, thank you for a ‘G’reat post. At this absolute minute in time, it’s totally appreciated.

    Signed,
    A ‘G’rateful subscriber…

  9. He’s going onstage -appearing as John Proctor in The Crucible at the Old Vic in the summer – got your plane ticket?

  10. {{{Frenz}}} So true! Age is no reason not to succeed in what you aim for. I’ve seen that happen over and over. I don’t even think about RA’s age when thinking about his career. He looks fabulous. There is no age-related reason to discount him from excellent roles. But “breaking into Hollywood”? Maybe not. Hollywood is crap. Yes, the rewards are great if you make it, but very few do. I think better to develop a solid body of work as an actor. Work you are proud of. That’s the way I approach my own work. It’s hard, but I won’t give up who I am to be “successful”. My two cents! Good post!

  11. @marie Astra.Hollywood is crap.Yeah for the Old Vic !!!

  12. Based on his own actions and words, it seems that breaking into Hollywood is something that was on RA’s own wishlist or list of ambitions. I still wish him success in that.
    There’s certainly no reason why he can’t still succeed. After all, real Hollywood success for a number British actors has come when they are much older than RA: Helen Mirren, for example, or Judi Dench or Ian McKellen or Ian Holm.

  13. I’m awake again at 3am, and I don’t even know how I ended up on this post. Oh yeah, I was looking for that TR quote.

    Anyway, I’m sorry I never responded to these last few comments way back in April.

    Prue,

    Thank you for the comments. I admire what you’re doing. Keep it up!! And I have bought the latest Gisborne book since this post. Someday I should do a review, but for now, just know I have enjoyed them. For those who don’t know, there are three books, and the first one is here

    Marie, I never could go, but I look forward to hearing about your adventure. :D

    Cill, Good points about possible future success in Hollywood. For now, isn’t it killing you not to see The Crucible? I know it is me. Argh.

  14. At this point, I am unlikely to even get to see ITS, so consider me dead where the Crucible is concerned.


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