How do you do anything?
May 16, 2018

When I entered the Public Radio Talent Quest eleven years ago, we started getting comments on my audition right away. They were glowing. I hadn’t anticipated that part, the fun of sharing my work and reading what people said about it. I enjoyed that so much! I knew I was on stage at every step, and I was careful with each step. I thanked every person who took the time to comment, and I sweated every word of those replies.

I did my best to stay Zen. I loved how pure the contest was. You posted your best two minutes, then let the chips fall. I knew I’d done my best. If I didn’t make the cut maybe I didn’t belong in public radio.

Until this contest I’d made of fun of people who spent much time online. Now here I was, exploring different parts of the contest site like a newcomer to Disney World. You couldn’t see how the voting was going, which bothered some of the participants. One guy said, “The only people who agree with hiding the results are those who are whiny and talent-impaired.” One reply to that comment amused me: “Hey…I listened to your entry -- and trust me, you don’t want the results showing, pal.”

A panel of judges would decide nine of the ten people who’d advance to the next round, where there would be other challenges. Participants and anyone else, anyone who stumbled on the site for whatever reason, could vote for who got that tenth slot.

I was so happy at having a shot. I didn’t need to win. I just needed the possibility that I might. One thing I wondered, if people had such passion for hosting a talk show the way so many of us had claimed, what else were they doing to get there -- besides this?

That’s what I felt the best about. Throwing myself into the process with abandon. Keeping my hopes high and my expectations low. Using the experience to cement just how badly I wanted what I wanted, but not deciding in advance how that would happen.

The secret to life.