Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Time To Hit Pause

I have a few things on my plate, as they say, that are demanding my time and energy, so this blog is on hiatus until further notice.

I hope it won't be too long before I'm back to post again. In the meantime, enjoy the great fall weather. God bless and keep you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Matter What

I say I am a writer. 

What if I don't write every day?

What if I don't want to be negative and only write on the days I feel good?

What if I write when I don't feel happy and illuminate the dark corners of my life?

What if I'm just real?

I can write if I am happy, sad, moving forward, stagnant, grateful, or struggling.

I should. Life is all of those things, and more.

No camping on the banks of "that river".

Still, I hesitate. 

Who wants to read the negative bits of being a dreamer?

Does anyone care?

Do you write, no matter what?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Mentor

Have you ever had a person in your life that was your "go-to" for information and advice--someone who supported you and guided you on your path?

A mentor. 

I have never enjoyed the privilege of a spiritual mentor, but I was fortunate to have one in my journey into my modeling career. This unique individual was my fashion photographer, Michael Wray.

I can easily say that he was the most interesting, complicated, and probably the strangest person I have ever known. He was an amazingly creative and talented photographer. You will never see his best work, because he kept it safely guarded. I counted myself highly privileged that he showed it to me.

When I walked into my first photo modeling class with Michael, I had no idea what was ahead of me. When he picked up his camera and we headed out of the studio to the top level of the parking garage, I was at a loss to understand what could possibly be the point of shooting anything up there.

I had a lot to learn. Case in point:

Photo Credit: ©2007 Michael Wray
  Michael's vision for me on the top of the parking deck--the power business shot

Make me want to click the shutter, he would say. And if I didn't, he wouldn't, and he would walk right on by. Ouch.

I loved his class. He made me uncomfortable. He pushed me. And we became close friends.

Photo Credit: ©2007 Leland Holder
If not for Michael Wray, I never would have gone to Miami. He challenged me, I listened, I acted. He made me. As a result, I had experiences I wouldn't trade for anything.

He didn't just push me out of the studio nest, he told me to call him with every detail of my agency encounters in Miami, every casting call, every callback, every booking. He would call to make sure I was okay if we hadn't spoken in a while.

I owed him.

After I returned from Miami in 2009, for reasons unknown to me, Michael had chosen to put our friendship on the back burner. No matter how often I called and left a voice message or emailed him, he chose not to respond; even to the news of my marriage to Leland.

A year went by. I wondered if any of our mutual friends had heard from him. I was hurt and confused. Then, I wondered if he was okay.

Suddenly, one day, my phone rang and Michael's number and name showed up on the screen. Shocked, I answered the phone. He asked me to join him for dinner at one of our hangouts on Highland Ave. I was so happy to hear from him, I said I would meet him outside the studio in the parking garage and we would drive to the restaurant together.

At the appointed day and time, I parked my car, got out, and as I moved toward his car, he got out and stood up. What I saw terrified me. My round faced friend was thin, gaunt, and scary looking. I hugged his bony frame, looked him in the eyes and asked, Are you alright?

Suddenly, all those questions about why he ignored me for a year didn't matter anymore.

My friend and mentor was dying.

On this day one year ago, after 2 weeks of hospice visits, watching him fade and miraculously come back for a while, I sat beside his bed, my hand on his chest, while he took his last breath.

I remember Michael and I having so many conversations about life, and inevitably, we would laugh and say, Can we go home now?

He's home.

Thank you, Michael. For everything.