"You can do it....if you just try!"
That was the advice the Little Tramp was giving Paulette Goddard's character in the movie, MODERN TIMES. The film came out in 1936. It was the last time Charlie Chaplin would appear as this beloved character, a character who cheered a great many people up during the Great Depression.
Today, the world is turning so fast, our heads spin!
This is a scene from MODERN TIMES when the Little Tramp tries to deal with the new technology of his time. At first it seemed like fun!
Everyone longs to have a job they love! Isn't that why we became jewelry makers?
In time, though....for many of us, it became overwhelming. We did not realize the planning we should have done as we learned our craft. We did not know there was so MUCH planning to do or so much to learn!
Some of us have felt a great deal of anxiety when things weren't going smoothly, or when one of the crazy algorhythms of business life suddenly changed. We may be artisan designers, but we are also required to be business people. Some of us have a head for it, and some of us don't.
In the movie, the Little Tramp nearly had a nervous breakdown!
Do you remember that heady rush you felt when you sold your first pieces of jewelry?
I can remember some of the first crafts shows I did with my own jewelry. People were buying it left and right and I was stuffing money into my pockets. It was SUCH sweet validation!
I never expected that kind of acceptance, right at the beginning. It truly stoked the fire inside me, so I kept makering away and I did more and more shows. Reality quickly came calling. It was not long before I came to understand that not all shows were the same. It would take time to find the really great ones.
You had to hang in there with it!
Being quite honest, at times I felt like the Little Tramp, careening about, blindfolded, on roller skates.....about to have a terrific crash.
Or maybe, an amazing success! That's it! YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.
I have gotten really down about my business many times over the years, but I must say: I always kept the rollerskates on. Nothing would happen if I did not continue to try and work things out.
Perhaps you know the song, SMILE? It is certainly part of the Great American Songbook, a consummate classic. Its sentiment is encouraging and the melody is beautiful.
Smile, though your heart is breaking,
Smile, even though it's aching,
When there's a cloud in the sky, you'll get by...
If you smile through your fears and sorrow, Smile, and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through....for you....
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness,
although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile....what's the use of crying?
You'll see the sun come shining through....if you
This song was written for the soundtrack of MODERN TIMES by Charles Chaplin. The melody was inspired by the famous Puccini aria, Vissi d'Arte, from Tosca. If you listen to the aria, you will quickly hear how the motif was 'sampled'.
Here it is as performed by Leontyne Price....it comes just after the beginning recitative. It is very slow and muted with all the orchestration, but it is there:
The song SMILE is heard at the final scene of MODERN TIMES.
There were no words for SMILE until 1954 when a team of lyricists created two verses. Nat King Cole took the song that year and had a crazy hit with it!
Through the years it has been covered by many, many artists: Natalie Cole, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson (it was reported to be his favorite song) Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, Martina McBride....to name just a few.
Here and there I like to meet a personal challenge.
A few months ago I challenged myself to make an entirely Spanish-language video with the help of my friend, Joisse. The video was not very well received; I think those who like to watch me in English were put off somewhat that they could not understand what we were saying.
It was difficult for me to stick my neck out like that and risk being a fool....but nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's the thing, whether you are learning/speaking a language as an outsider, OR finding your way as a jewelry designer, OR any other worthy endeavor...you MUST be willing to look foolish here and there. Those who appreciate your efforts will prompt you and catch you if you begin to fall, if you are genuine and humble. That is what Joisse did for me in that video.
Tomorrow I am taking another personal challenge.
Here and there, we attend a little family night with 50-60 friends. Everyone brings something good to eat and we share a meal. After that, we have a little talent show. This time, everyone wanted me to do something, as I have not done anything for some time. After all, years past, there was NEVER a talent show where I didn't write and play a little song on the piano, or do a funny skit, dressed up in a ridiculous outfit, singing an equally ridiculous song.
Here I am in the wig I had saved from one of those skits:
This time, my friends want me to sing. I used to be a pretty good singer, I was singing all the time, and I loved to sing all types of music from bluegrass to Italian art songs. As I grew older, I let it go: I was busy doing other things, also I had a serious of operations that caused me to lose core strength. SO! Sadly, that part of my life is pretty much over. I was okay with it, as I got very busy with helping other artisans and providing vintage style jewelry supplies at B'sue Boutiques
My son Jordan said, "Mom, we can do it! You are so used to doing the You Tube videos. Just look at them and do what you can, and speak it like Johnny Cash, if you have to." Johnny Cash? Now there's a concept, LOL.
SMILE was originally written in the key of G. Jordan and I played around with it and I discovered that if he would change the key to B flat, I could manage it. Then he suggested we do a guitar break after the second verse, then come back and sing that last part again, modulating the key of the song up to C. When you change the key at the last verse or portion of a song, I always think it sounds hopeful. Sort of like that sun shining through!
Jordan created a beautiful arrangement for me and he will play the guitar. He is a very good guitarist.
So! Tomorrow I will take that challenge, and no, I don't think it will be recorded. But I am looking forward to it. I like to push the ticket! It's about keeping those skates on, moving along and trying something new. There is always a new horizon to discover, but we will never find it, if we don't try.
I wish you many new discoveries and beautiful new horizons in all of your creative endeavors.
Just be sure to smile!