Monday, February 27, 2012

Not a Sorry Samurai

For those of you following me on my path to publication--a journey fraught with sharp turns, obstacles to trip over and plenty of crossroads--here's a tale of one of my "creative" marketing attempts.

As a writer--one who is supposed to be creative--I am forever "thinking outside of the box" when it comes to getting word of my writing "out there"--something beyond the usual Facebook and Twitter promotion. So, when my friend and fellow author, M.G. Miller, informed me that George Takei, a former internee of Rohwer, (where my Broken Doll characters, Sachi and Nobu were internees) would be narrating with the Little Rock Symphony, I decided I had to attend. Later, another writer friend, Bud Hanks, sent me an email with additional information about George Takei's appearances in Arkansas.

It seemed the forces were with me. Oops. Wrong movie.

If I could only have the chance to talk to Mr. Takei . . .

I knew my chances were slim, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Once I purchased the tickets to the concert, my question then became, "How can I be gain the attention of George Takei in a bold (my friend, Ruth Weeks, calls me Samurai Jan), yet dignified manner? (I am half-Japanese, after all, and my misbehavior could potentially embarrass not only my mother, but many generations before her.)

  • Sit in the front row, flashing the Vulcan salute?
  • Wear a Trekkie outfit?
  • Paint my face like a geisha?
  • Tattoo "I need to talk to you" on my forehead?
  • All of the above?

Okay, those were bold ideas, but hardly dignified.

So, I here's what I decided to do:
  • Wear my evening jacket, cut from a genuine kimono, purchased in Japan.
  • Bring a copy of the Ramblings Yearbook, (1945) from Topaz War Relocation Center, where my mother and her family were internees.
  • Bring a synopsis of my book . . . just in case.
  • Bring business cards . . . just in case.
Ruth and I sat in the front row, center seats. When the time came, Mr. Takei walked onto the stage, and I turned to Jell-O, almost like when I watched Michael Bolton walked onto the stage many, many years ago.(However, I didn't scream uncontrollably with Mr. Takei. I might have, but that would be undignified.)

Unfortunately, we were sitting so close to the stage that Mr. Takei's placement for his narration was blocked by conductor Philip Mann's pant leg. I strained to move around that pant leg to see Mr. Takei, knowing that if I couldn't see him, he surely couldn't see me. But, too much straining would look . . . well, undignified.

When his beautiful and moving narration was complete, Mr. Takei left the stage. I slumped in my seat, no longer concerned about looking undignified.
Philip Mann and George Takei
Then, the orchestra began to play Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy. It was as though the sun began to shine again. A full symphony and 400+ voices, all conducted by the passionate movement of conductor, Philip Mann.

For more than an hour I had chills over the beautiful sounds of the orchestra and choir, recalled my days as a flutist and sat on my hands to keep from mimicking the conductor. On the way home, Ruth and I stopped for dinner and talked about everything under the sun.

In the end, the glow of Mr. Takei's Japanese dignity, melted my boldness like the sun melts the snow. But my path to publication is also lined with many flowers, and yesterday was one of them.

How could I be a sorry Samurai?


  1. Nice try, Jan. It might have worked out. You did all the right things, but entropy intervened. Keep trying.

    1. ed_quixote, would that be as in #2? :)

      en·tro·py   [en-truh-pee] noun
      1. Thermodynamics
      a.(on a macroscopic scale) a function of thermodynamic variables, as temperature, pressure, or composition, that is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process. A closed system evolves toward a state of maximum entropy.
      b. (in statistical mechanics) a measure of the randomness of the microscopic constituents of a thermodynamic system. Symbol: S

      2.(in data transmission and information theory) a measure of the loss of information in a transmitted signal or message.

      3.(in cosmology) a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature (heat death).

      4. a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.

  2. Sorry you didn't get to talk to him, but it sounds like you had a good time anyway. You should email him and tell him you talked. With so many other people there, he'll likely not remember ;)

    1. Thanks, Mike. And thanks again for letting me know. I'll continue to pursue less creative methods, until the next idea comes along. :)

  3. What? You didn't throw him an origami paper plane with your phone number in it? I want to see your jacket!

    1. Linda, now that would have been bold AND dignified. :) Wish I'd thought of that. I'll send you a pic of my kimono! :)

  4. Loved your recap, Jan. Wish you could have talked to him, but your story was entertaining even without that feature :)

    1. Thanks, Madison. It was still a great time!

  5. The Dignified Stalker starring Jan Morrill and her trusty sidekick, Dixie Dandelion.

    In this week's episode our heroes leave their masks & capes in the car and attempt to blend with the crowd while stalking the ever-elusive George Takei. Just when it appeared he was within their grasp, Mr. Takei dematerializes and relocates to an undisclosed dressing room.

    Frustrated, Dignified and Dixie open a bottle of saki and plot strategy for their next attempt.

    1. To hell with this dignified crap. Next time, we grab him backstage!

    2. Russell, THAT'S what was missing . . . a bottle of sake! Loved you little story of Samurai Jan and Dixie Dandelion. There may be a series there. :)

  6. Sounds like a perfectly heavenly evening. I'm in full-on envy mode right now. I do regret that you were not able to connect with George. Perhaps all that good karma you are building up will combine to bring about another opportunity?

    1. It was a wonderful day, even without the meeting, Keli. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy classical music.

  7. You may not have gotten to talk to him but your energy surrounded him and set into motion a series of events that are yet to manifest. You did good, Samurai Jan.
    The 400 person choir was awesome and I yearned to be on stage signing with them. Thanks for inviting me and the trip down and back was magical as well as tons of fun. I don't think George could handle Dixie and Samurai so maybe it was a good thing we acted dignified. (at least this time)

    1. Ruth, I kept imagining myself as Philip Mann. I think I'll have to try out that conducting thing. It's on my bucket list now. Thanks for coming with me -- you made my day!