my book: an introduction...

so this is it...this is my baby that i've worked on for a year and a bunch of change. i figured i'd start with my introduction. this week i'll post three  two different parts and pieces from the book. i would love any and all critiques, suggestions, comments, opinions, and most importantly i would LOVE for you to tell your friends and friends' friends to read.

thank you so much for your help and support. don't be surprised if those who comment pop up in my thank you pages.


Dreams are crazy, funny things…

They can shape your life, direct it, guide it, hold it in place. Basically, bend you in any direction it so chooses and call you its bitch. I don’t know if anyone has ever mentioned the downside of a dream to me but it’s the unexpected surprises of my life’s dreams--the good and the bad--that have molded me into the person I am today.

Many moons ago, as a wee lassie, I remember sitting in front of the television, legs crossed, hands holding up head, watching some amazing movie and thinking the people on screen were the most amazing gift-givers in the world. I was blown away that I could zone out and forget who and where I was…I was the person on screen. I was experiencing what they were experiencing

In that moment I knew what I was supposed to do when I grew up. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. Oh no. It was much more complicated than that. I knew what I was meant to do. How a four-year-old could grasp her life purpose at such an early age I know not, but I did and after that day I was never the same. I never faltered. Throughout the years, aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends alike would all challenge my resolution to act. ”What about being a lawyer, Tish?” they asked. “That could be really fun.” But I never budged.

I had caught one of those stubborn dreams that attack your soul like a disease. It was bigger than me and much more than just a wish to be famous or rich. I was good at observing people. I could empathize in a way I knew wasn’t normal for a kid my age. I could see that people in fact did not wear their hearts on their sleeves and maybe that could be the reason people were so drawn to cinema.

Whether someone needs an excuse to cry or laugh, gasp or boil from the inside out there’s a need for people to watch film. There’s a need—a desperate one actually—for people to identify and relate to others out in the world. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, not all of us will have the lucky privilege of being stuck on a bus that will explode if it goes below 20 miles per hour, so we sit in a theater and watch someone else go through it and we feel richer for the experience.

Now most kids would have been content with letting the actors go through the motions while they sat in a nice safe and cozy theater observing—but not me. I wanted to have the faux adventures and bring people along for the ride. Movie-goers watch people express any and all emotions freely on film. Emotions that all humans are made to feel and show but for whatever reason won’t. I got to see the strong girl break down over a love lost. I saw the pain a young girl experienced when told she was ugly, and I witnessed what love looked like when no one was supposedly watching. I was an alien child who had found home.

Every time I stepped onto a stage or got in front of a camera I came alive. I was in my first play at four (Shout out to all those girls who played dolls in their Christmas pageant!). Throughout the years, I continued to act when I could, wherever I could. My dream grew more clear and sound. Slowly but surely I developed a plan to make my dreams come true. I’d go to college and right after that I’d move to New York or Los Angeles to act. My dream would grow legs come hell or high water!

I know I just skipped a whole lot of years right there. While my childhood was cute and nostalgic, I’m pretty sure no one really cares to hear about how playing a mama sheep in the first-grade play changed my life so I’ll stick to the grown. I will say though that my dream was kind to me as a child (I had no idea I was coddling and molding my cute little aspirations into a beast that would boldly dictate and drive my world). Because of that, I was able to have a typical childhood that left me well-rounded and able to hold a conversation outside of the world of acting. (Thank GOODNESS!) I lived life, which holds the best hard-knocks lessons a gal can learn if she plans to go into the profession of expressing emotion. So yeah, childhood shaped me up nicely. If this were a movie I’d do a fast-forward montage to show that we were skipping lots of life and moving directly onto what this whole book will center around: A grown-up dreamer trying to make her passion a reality.

A dreamer of dreams… I’m still amazed to this day how powerful my dream has been. I think the day I drove out to Los Angeles with my best friend Jen--life neatly packed into the backseat of my car--I didn’t have a clue as to just how powerful my dream was. I still didn’t realize my dream was calling the shots. On day one of my trip I broke down crying.

 In that moment, I finally realized I was leaving everything behind and starting a new life. Something Miss Type A personality hadn’t planned for or really thought out. At that moment of clarity I acknowledged the beast of a dream I had created. It had the power to throw me into the zone: A place where thought chilled behind and something greater/bigger/larger than me took over and propelled my body to move, speak and strut like a darn puppet.

You would think that type of power would have scared the living snot out of me, but I took it as a sign that if something powerful and invisible could move me like that then it was meant to be. There was no struggle. I never wanted to fight against my dream. In fact I felt more like myself when I was acting. The realization that you’re witnessing your authentic self can be most addicting. I could be sick, injured, whatever, but the minute I’d walk out onto a stage or recite lines the icky stuff would fade away and I’d divide into two. There would be the one who you’d hear and see performing and then the other me floating above myself watching and observing everything. That floating self was the voice that sealed my fate. I was always so proud of myself. Proud that there was something I could do that was greater than my stage fright. It was greater than the butterflies that would always find their way into my stomach walls right before I’d perform and greater than the bubble guts that danced around, torturing me with fear that I’d mess myself in front of a crowd full of people.

For years I lived this way. I was confident going into auditions and I was certain and steadfast about my path. Like the stinkin’ yellow brick road that everyone loves to bring up when they find out I went to school at the University of Kansas, I had a carefully and identifiable path. I knew what it looked like and I knew where it would take me. Sorry for the ongoing metaphor, but like Ms. Pigtailed Ruby Shoes, I had no idea what would happen once I entered that far away city.

In hindsight, I’m glad no one mentioned the wizards (i.e. agents telling you, you have to do the work before I’ll grant your wishes) or the horses of a different color (it’s always who you know, how much money you flash at the door or what secret name you’ve dropped to work on set.) Otherwise not even my idealistic faith in my dream could have overpowered that harsh reality. I ran to LA with open arms with the mentality that I’d take it one audition at a time. (The fact that I thought I’d have auditions to take one day at a time was so cute and idealistic.) The tears that sprang on day one of the drive were tears of fear. A self-described control freak, just the word unknown could produce hives and twitches. Other than that, I had no idea what LA would be like. I was smart enough to realize the media’s description of those trying to make it in LA was off, but dumb enough to think I’d be the who would make it the first month in town.

I’ve now been in LA for over five years. Obviously that one month deadline I gave myself stretched a bit and grew to a more realistic size. (I now have a 10 year plan because that’s what folks in the biz have magically come up with.) I didn’t go from one month to ten years easily either. I’m not exaggerating when I admit that my dream has bullied me beyond belief. That dream of mine was a sneaky, sly beast. If I would have endured the stuff I do now back home in the Midwest I never would have made the journey out, honestly. The path to the mountain top always starts with an easy flat road. My starting point just happened to start with a damn 45 degree incline.

That start led me to do something I had never thought to do previously, though. I created a blog to document my life. Somehow, I knew that my torture would need to be recorded. If not for others’ entertainment then for my own need to vent and resolve all the crap that would be thrown my way; even to possibly track my activities in case I turned up missing in this wild city. Thus Luv and Kiwi was born. I’ve kept chugging away, writing each day, since the week prior to what I fondly like to call the Tishy Diaspora—my big trek across the U.S. of A to conquer tinsel town. It’s definitely helped me make sense out of my crazy adventures. After reading a couple of posts, you realize quickly that my big mama jama dream is calling the shots and I’m Pinky the Mouse asking Brain “What are we going to do today?!”.

My dream is definitely driving this show. I sit nervously in the passenger seat, covering my eyes, scared out of my wits wondering what lunacy is waiting around the bend.

To honor the process of a hard dream pursued, I decided to pool blogs from struggle’s past and create a book. I knew I couldn’t be the only one swimming around in my failure’s pain. Misery loves company, right? The posts I have chosen are in no specific order. There’s no rhyme or reason, other than they all relate some how to specific lessons I learned on my journey. The method to my madness is simple. I’m hoping that my flashbacks of past and ongoing battles will hopefully explain to folks (my mom) why I’ve stuck with this dream and why my usually creative brain won’t settle for another career to pursue. It also wouldn’t hurt to hear someone else validate that the same crap happens to them from time to time and I’m not the only one trying to be content with my day to day oopses, failures and emphatic no’s.

The structure was an easy one for me. Every chapter begins with one of my original blogs that I’ve written throughout the years. I always write the darn things in green to honor Langston Hughes—my favorite poet—and I’m not so big on editing them before posting, so you get them in their pure quirky (read grammatically challenged) form.

The truth is no one ever writes about the dream while they’re actually in the process of attaining the dirty beast. It’s always post-dream retrieval. The blessed lucky authors who have achieved success love to skip to the good parts. They assume we want to hear all about what life felt like once they had success safely in their hands; what it first felt like blah, blah blah. So, we the readers, follow along and happily skip over that small sentence in chapter two where they describe the struggle they had to endure. We read in that tiny paragraph how the author ate ramen noodles and lived in a box for a day and then was discovered.

We’re lulled into thinking this type of struggle is sufficient, but apparently my dream decided I needed more than a day of life in a mean box. Because I’ve dealt with struggle for a sufficient amount of time and have managed to stay sane and alive in the process, I’m now demanding to know more about the hard times. There’s a reason everyone and their dog has to read The Grapes of Wrath in high school or college. We gravitate towards life’s challenges for some sick reason.

That’s where I come in. I haven’t reached the top of the mountain yet. So for all those like me, you’re not alone. No matter if it is medicine, the stage, bull riding or putting in hair plugs for the follicle-challenged, going after a dream takes work. It takes chops, balls and tears. OH MY GOSH DOES IT TAKE TEARS!!! Funny thing though, we silly mortals all tend to believe we’re the only ones struggling with our goals and dreams. We think we’re the only ones staring off into space wondering how in the heck we’re going to make this work. We also think we’re the only ones that both hate and love the paths we’ve chosen. There have been many days where I’ve given my dream the finger. They say there’s a fine love between love and hate. My love fluctuates more than the weather in Kansas. I apologize if I’m bursting your bubble of solo sorrow, but being alone in this battle isn’t such a bad thing. Hopefully my stories will help you get through some rough patches and save you from premature balding. And for all those that are reading this because they’re family, friends, or have been paid to do so, I hope this book helps you understand my masochistic lunacy a bit better.

A girl can dream anyway can’t she?


  1. Tish,

    Your intro makes me want to read more.....what could be better than that!


  2. Tish,

    Here is how I know that you are on the right track: About a year ago I decided that I was going to write a book also (how many of us have said that?). At first, the engine was steadely steaming along and the book was practically writing itself. Sadly though, I found myself giving the book the good o'l finger more and more often as I grew frustated with the process, and as of today, it has been about 6 months since I've written a word.

    The begining of your intro caught my attention with the tactful reference to "Speed," and every paragraph after that made me want to fake an injury so I could go home to write (yes, I read it at work).

    It came to mind as I read on that rarely do we remember a dream in its entirety and full detail. There are always those "blank spots" in between the significant moments that actually determine the outcome of the dream. How many times have you been trying to tell someone about a dream you had and you start your first sentance with, "I don't know how, where, or who, but...?

    your writing made me feel like you have a clear image of where you want to end... just not sure how you'll get there. I say, fill that blank as much as you can so that when you get to the end and the time to tell is before you, it'll be the greatest dream even told.

    Thanks for sharing your work.


  3. thank you omar...that means a lot to me. a lot of writers put down their babies for awhile and come back.

    zadie smith _on writing_ you should check it out sometime...inspiring to boot!

  4. Okay, now I know why the dream of being a nurse just never left. And yes, at times, I want to give it the finger and do the easy thing (whatever that is). Reading this makes me what more. Thank you for sharing. Don't give up!!!!

    Love ya,
    Aunt Tammy

    p.s., your grandmother is laptop challenged. I will print this out and let her read it. I'm sure she will have a comment or two. lol

  5. more, please? :)

    LOVE you.



  6. Hey Tish. I loved it. I simply loved it. Every word was just you. I could imagine all those words coming out of your mouth. I've ALWAYS thought you were the funny, creative, inspiring one of the family. And brave! You have to be to move away from everyone you know to the crazy world of L.A. I wish I had the balls that you do. I am so eager to read more. Reading your work gives me an ever better sense of who my cousin is....and I couldn't be prouder!


  7. anne thank you so much for that. i'm trying my hardest to keep my voice AND be a good writer lol...a lot of folks twitch when reading my stuff lol (blushing) thank you for giving me a reason to whistle as i stroll into work.


  8. Very good! I would actually read the book and you know I'm not a reader.

  9. lovely..just lovely! i wanted more details about your childhood! i love where this is going. so glad you shared it with me..


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