Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Monday, December 31, 2007

G'day, the eve of 2008!

Greeting the new year is a very special time for me. The sense of renewal is a great part of my life nearly every morning, but an "official" renewal day shared with most of the world is totally inspirational in this humble home.

An American friend of mine, a published writer, posts at the end of her emails: "There are only two types of pain you can control: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Choose."

Um, I'll take column D - discipline.

American poet laureate Maya Angelou says we must always choose courage; that we are left to live with regret when we become timid, afraid to speak up or speak out or take action to protect our souls, believing incorrectly we have something to lose.

When push comes to shove, that is what I have to ask myself: what, in reality, do I have to lose by being honest, standing up for and taking care of myself? Not to the exclusion of someone else's feelings, but to be fair to me.

If someone is not a genuine friend, the loss of that person from my inner circle, someone who does not in the end understand, respect or really care for or about me is not a loss, but the gain of more self-respect and inner strength. The outcome, no matter how uncomfortable the temporary upheaval, is always the appearance of someone new who is a genuine friend - or a turnaround of a relationship that results in greater understanding, closeness, fun and happiness.

I've quit jobs for reasons of maintaining professional integrity - and was fired once for the same reason. I was news director/morning anchor for two radio stations simultaneously - one FM rock, the other AM jazz.

The program manager - who got her job by cruelly sabotaging the previous program manager (pm) - sent me a memo literally telling me not to report on my newscasts the most serious stories of the day. She actually listed the subject matters (environment, "feminist" issues, politics) - I refused. And was fired.

Interestingly, a news staff member read the memo as well, and refused to say he saw it or provide me a copy after I was fired because he was afraid she would fire him from his new job replacing me as well. I'm sure he regrets this decision.

Because guess what? He soon got the boot as well.

It is to laugh - the reason the FM pm told the media I was fired was because my newscasts were "too liberal." This was during the Reagan administration when the Teflon president got away with declaring ketchup a vegetable in kids' school lunches (tomato is a fruit, btw); when media drank his Kool-Aid and media managers didn't want him to be the subject of "fair and balanced" reporting.

I joked with my friends at parties that she must know about my new book, "Commie Dearest." (At the time the best seller, "Mommie Dearest" was out - a tell all [and I mean every detail] book about Joan Crawford by her abused daughter.)

It's an old trick. Try to discredit the person who is well considered, so if she or he discloses what *really* happened, no one will believe you. As it was, I pretty much said nothing because I knew that folks in the industry would find out the truth about her sooner or later. I'm way into karma on these things.

Word on the street was she fired me because she was jealous of the positive attention I received everywhere I went at Public Appearances when we were together and she was basically ignored. At least that is what the station manager said at the new best-ever radio job I landed just three days after she let me go.

I said I thought it was because I was just about the only person at both stations who didn't smoke, drink or do drugs and they were all afraid I would "narc" on them. Nope, I've waiting 20 years to do that.

I'll never forget her counterpart AM pm telling me he wanted to meet with me. He took me for a drive, parked in an open area and lit up a big ol' blunt as he rolled down the window to blow his murky smoke out on that chilly day and then held his "meeting" with me.

I watched him get high as he *thought* he was giving me profound insights about how I could do my job better. I told him I had to get back to the station - it was, after all, right in the middle of my workday. I smelled like his smoke when I returned to work, so avoided standing next to people.

Later that day, I quizzed him on the points he made at our meeting in his car to make sure I understood him, thanking him for his input. Actually, I fabricated statements he did not actually make, because I knew he wouldn't remember what he really said. Sure enough, he agreed with all the stuff I made up. Thanks again. Very insightful. Think Jim in The Office. That was fun.

The scene of the firing was particularly special: I was in bed with a large cast on my leg. I had just broken my ankle bike riding and needed surgery to put it back together. My parents stood outside the door as AM and FM pm's split the sheets with me. They gave me a one-week severence check. My dad and mom regretted being so nice to them. You know, offering them a cuppa tea and all, the way you would any visitor to their daughter's home.

Listeners actually revolted when I got the axe. That was special.

The station's programming ultimately became predictably anemic; the FM program manager, no stranger to sicker living through chemistry herself, moved to other FM pm jobs and became universally detested in the industry where ever she worked.

I have no idea where she is now or what she's doing - and often wonder if she ever found her soul, got clean, and regrets the decisions she made in the name of clawing her way to the middle.
At any road. I'm where I am today, because of or in spite of people like her, and that's just fine with me.

I've been asked to write my autobiography, and think I'll start making notes "next year" (hours away!), and write it in 2009 or 2010.

My major new year's resolution: Keep Active!

I continue to lose weight and become more fit; I'm healthier and stronger now than I have been probably in my entire life. Being physically active is the key for me, along with a terrific nutrition program. I start working out five days a week in the early morning with a boot camp buddy Jan 3 at a nearby gym under the keen supervision of my booty camp coach.

I look forward to it - and all 2008 has to offer!

Enjoy greeting the new year!

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  • At 1:11 AM, Blogger Digger said…

    "Clawing her way to the middle" - I *love* that! LOL! Excellent. Happy New Year ceep. May it bring you all you dream of.


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