Something really cool happened the other day. After spending a lot of time outside at the inauguration protests (where a limo was set on fire in front of me lol), I went into a coffee shop to warm up my hands on a cup of coffee. There were a bunch of professional photographers in there setting up camp for a bit. We’re talk’n the kind of photographers with huge fancy cameras and big ass lenses and probably more crazy stories from traveling the world than I will ever know.
Anywho, I asked one of them if there were any police blockades between there and the subway and they said no. Just as I was about to leave, one of them said, “Hey, is your name Melanie?” I’m all, YEAH! How’d ya know?! He told me he knew my stories from Kevin Allison Risk! podcast. That he’d heard them all and was a big fan of my work. “Did you recognize me BY MY VOICE?” I said all excited/confused. Kinda. He did recognize my voice, but he’d seen my picture on my last episode. He told me my stories were really moving, that he hoped I had another one coming out soon, and then he asked me if I was writing a book. Why yes I am! Or rather, I’m waiting for my agent to shop around the proposal as we speak. Anyways, he said lots of super nice things to me and told me to keep doing what I’m doing cuz I’m really good at it.
It’s rare that people in public approach me and talk to me about my stories. But when it happens, it just delights me. Maybe my ego a little bit, but mostly my soul. Because there’s finally a face to put on those anonymous listeners. It’s someone looking me right in my eyes and saying “I heard you, I felt it, and it moved me.” That shit goes a long way with artists of any type. Maybe if i was famous I’d get sick of hearing that shit. But since I’m a relative nobody, it means the world. Because making art is way more rewarding when you know someone other than you enjoys it.
So if you know someone who does good work and their shit means a lot to you and they aren’t famous yet, tell them. Those moments are what keep them going. What help them show up to the blank page when they’d rather watch Law and Order SVU reruns cuz that shit is way less scary. It’s what helps them believe in their talent when all the industry people ever say to them is No and You Suck or nothing at all cuz they literally won’t reply to your emails or pitches. Your feedback feeds the artists the way their work feeds you. So thanks to anyone who’s ever taken the time to tell me that shit. It’s truly what’s kept me going. If it weren’t for some of you, I would literally be teaching English in Korea right now after my “fuck this I give up” moment last fall. So thank you again.
(the story I’m referencing is here)