A fellow merchant stopped me on the street awhile ago to tell me that she really enjoyed reading my blog!
my response, “oh I feel so guilty, I’m a bad blogger, I rarely post and when I finally do I labor over the thing to the point of exhaustion. Her reply was to keep doing what I’m doing, only post when I have something to say and to keep putting my heart into it.
Wow, I thought some people actually read my words.
That was months ago, busy and uninspired I have not posted again until today.
You may already know that I have dreams of hosting a design show. I have known that I wanted to be on television since I was a child.  I have always wanted to make something, something that will inspire and entertain, something that the world has never seen before! These big dreams that I have are a mixed blessing to say the least.
 I have had many successes and many, many closed doors. I have tried so many things, auditions, submissions projects, too many to count, I do not want to put you or myself though the pain of reliving it all in this post just believe me when I say that I have tried a lot of things.
 Friends and family have advised me to try something else, to take an easier route. I don’t know how to explain what drives me except to say that ,’I have to’. Most of the time I keep so busy that when the “no thank you’s come it only stings a little, but once a awhile I will find myself hammered by self doubt, words like “wasted life, missed opportunity’ and coward race through my brain and torment me. I found myself stuck in one of these moods last week, I woke up feeling it creep in. The contemplations of what to do next, the reflections of my failed attempts and the question, why can’t I find satisfaction in what I have accomplished and just let go of the seemingly impossible dreams that plague me? Then I said a prayer, it went something like this,
“God, I’m tired, I’m discouraged, I don’t have a plan, I’ve tried so many things, what do I do now? If I am really supposed to keep trying at this then please send me some inspiration, and  some direction.
That morning I logged on to my email and saw a headline on yahoo that said,  ‘Best selling author, Kathryn Stockett rejected 60 times before published’ I read Kathryn’s words as she recounted her story and her words struck me, “what if I had given up on try #15? or try #60? Then she said, I did not know how to make myself give up” I could definitely relate to that.  Kathryn’s book ,  ‘The Help was finally published became a best seller and recently has been made into a film.
Feeling some of the inspiration that I prayed for and a lot of curiosity, I went to see this film last Saturday.
I got rid of my TV years ago, and I rarely go to see a movie, when I do it is usually based on a true story.
After this film was over, I sat in my seat, not ready to leave the theatre, I was in awe of this woman, her tenacity and how she created this book that became such a beautiful, powerful film.
I almost never stay to watch the credits roll but something  kept me in my seat, as the theatre emptied out my friend said wow that will probably be nominated, and i heard a couple say oscar as they left.  I chatted with my friend we are the only ones left still sitting, a name on the screen caught my eye, “whoa, Tate Taylor” I said out loud, my friend said what? do you know him?
My first thought was, ‘oh Tate, I remember he said he was from Mississippi, he must have acted in this? then the words writer director rolled up, and I said, ” What? how did he do that? This was a 25 million dollar film, when I met him a few years back he was the standard boy from a small town moved to Hollywood to make it big.
Tate came to my shop to interview me in 2004, he was a freelance writer sent by Coastal Living magazine.
My shop had been open a few years and one of my big dreams was to be featured in the pages of Coastal Living magazine. I just knew that this was going to happen, I knew it before I ever opened for business. Never mind that I had never seen a story on a business in Cl that was more than a page long, that most of their stories were on very expensive beach homes. A customer who was a writer told me that the proper protocol for getting into magazines,  I needed an agent who would pitch my story,  I needed some professional photos and a query letter. That I should not contact the editor directly but send it to the general secretary and  if there was interest then send more information. Well at that time I did not even own a computer and I knew that If I had to do all of that I would never do anything.
I decided to disregard this advice and do what I could do with what I had. I borrowed a camera took some very regular snapshots of my store, wrote a story, and arranged it all into a very homemade, very amateur  looking scrapbook which I sent directly to the editor in birmiham alabama. Two  weeks later my phone rang and it was the editor Kathy Still Johnson telling me that “we just love your store’ in her southern accent. then she said, is your home a cute as your shop? could you send us some more photos ?, you see coastal living does not do features on businesses the story needs to be about how you live and your work. Well I said sure, my house is real cute, no problem. When I hung up I was super excited that they actually called me! and I was also super panicked, my house was not cute at all, it was a 400 square foot mess, my last priority a one room loft with a giant hole in the roof that used to me a skylight, my landlord had nailed down plywood because he did not want to replace it and you could see daylight through it. I was also struggling financially as I worked to get my business off the ground I had basically no budget to decorate, the only thing that I had going for me was, If there was one thing I knew I was good at it was interior design and creating something from nothing.
My plan was to sett up and photograph a few cute corners in my loft, trick them into thinking my place was magazine worthy and buy myself enough time to decorate it properly before they sent a photographer out. Somehow this plan worked and they set  a date to shoot my shop and my home that was  6 months out.
I worked like a banchee on my house for the next 6 months, I painted the walls to look like the inside of an abalone shell, I pulled out all the tricks I had up my sleeve, I owned a ratty sofa that I could not afford to replace so I painted that too and glued shells to it! I made the most beautiful seashell mirror I had ever made and I painted a giant pink seahorse over a  sad looking painting that I bought for a dollar at a yard sale and I covered up the giant hole in my roof with a dozen paper parasols. I literally worked daily up until the night before they were scheduled to arrive. i wanted to make sure I did everything I could to make the best of this opportunity.
In my mind Coastal Living was the epitome of all design mags, I pictured the editors to be like the characters in  the  1980’s Tv show designing women. I also thought that they would personally come out to my shop to do the story and I couldn’t wait to see their reaction to all of my hard work!
I was green,
and naive,
 and very very lucky that they were doing a story on my humble little shop.
What actually happened on the long awaited day of my photo shoot was they sent two young hip freelancers from LA to write and shoot my story.
Tate Taylor pulled up in his pick up truck, flip flops tee shirt and shorts, he was kind, he was polite and I am pretty sure he was not too impressed with my work.  So much for my daydreams of  someone who looked like Dixie Carter falling in love with my designs and offering me a regular column at Coastal Living.

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