Jun 13, 2012

Never Surrender Blogfest

This week, in honor of the release of Elana Johnson's sophomore book SURRENDER, she is hosting a blogfest where the participants talk about a time when we didn't surrender.  And, as if that wasn't enough, I'm also over at the writer's dojo writing about a different experience.

I started playing the piano when I was four.  My grandma taught me my first lesson, and when my mom saw what had been started, she continued it.

I practiced every day until I was 16 when my confidence got shaken.  You see, there is a high school competition called solo and ensemble, where people first qualify at the school level, then region and then state.  There were probably a dozen pianists within two years at my school who were all on level, but I made it to region.  I had my piece down.

At region, I got reamed.  Completely ripped a new one.  And as writers, we are all aware that some critiques are not going to be kind, but this guy slammed me.  I was just sixteen.

I seriously thought about quitting the piano.  I cried and cried, and I'm not really an emotional person. I looked at the piano and tears welled up every single time.

But then I started missing the piano.  I missed making music.  I missed the feeling of the ivory under my fingers.

So I went back.  And then, in a stroke of stubbornness, I decided that just that one person wasn't going to take away something from me, something I was really good at.

A year and a half later, I entered a pageant competition pretty confidant I could win one of the talent competitions and that would $100 for textbooks at college.  And I won the whole thing.

Over the course of the next two years, I won talent competitions, learned the ropes at Miss Utah, was an attendant, won another local competition, won the talent at the preliminary night at Miss Utah and was a top ten talent finalist as well.

Playing the piano paid for most of my college education.

I'm planning on utilizing these skills again *when* my book comes out (whichever one it is) because if we let one person govern what passions we pursue, what will we become?

When have you showed power over those who would bring you down?

22 comments :

Nick Wilford said...

I'm glad you didn't let that one guy put you off and keeping going definitely paid off in this case! Definitely a good lesson to apply to writing. BTW, you're one of the winners of my crit giveaway. Just email your chapters to me at mcwilfo(at)gmail(dot)com when you're ready! :)

Kyra Lennon said...

Awesome! It really sucks to get knocked back, especially when you're young! Well done for dusting yourself off and having another go!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That's awesome how he taught you that important life lesson even though I doubt that was his original intent. :)

J. A. Bennett said...

I love this story! What an inspiration! I would totally love to hear you play sometime :)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Stopping by from the blogfest....what a wonderful story! I'm a teacher too....sometimes I don't understand why adults feel the need to tear kids apart like that. But, what a determined person you became after that! Thanks for sharing your story!

Leigh Covington said...

Tasha, this is brilliant! And awesome! And I'm so glad you shared and learned from this. You need to share this story ALL.THE.TIME! I love it! Thanks for the inspiration today!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, you dear girl! Thank you for this. I've been feeling like a serious waste of space and thinking I should take up Harvest Moon full time.

" if we let one person govern what passions we pursue, what will we become?"

Yes!

S.P. Bowers said...

That is so cool. I LOVE piano. I took lessons for several years but didn't progress as much as I should. I have a very short attention sp...Oooo, something shiny. Honestly I just didn't enjoy practicing. Even the desire to be able to play well couldn't get me on the bench.

Simon Kewin said...

Every time I get a rejection. But I just sigh and move on. You're right: never surrender.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Paid for your college tuition? Now that is really turning it around. Almost makes you want to hunt down that guy and show him all you accomplished.

elizabeth seckman said...

Awesome story! And you're right, we can't give that much power to a single person.

kelworthfiles said...

That's a great and inspiring story! This may seem like a small thing, but I feel like I needed some perseverance when I was recently learning to drive - after giving it up before getting my licence when I was a teenager.

It took two solid weekends in a driver's ed classroom six hours a day, about a dozen sessions with my driving teacher, and hours of practice driving around with my brother in his car before I felt ready to book my first road test. I flunked three road tests - one of them I ran a stoplight and the testing lady told me to go right back to the drivetest parking lot.

But I passed on my fourth try, and now I've got my own car and I'm loving having that option. (Even if I don't really love traffic and paying for gas, sigh.)


I'm looking for some ninja writers to interview for my Ninja spotlight series. If you're interested, go to http://kelworthfiles.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/im-looking-for-a-few-good-ninjas/ to find out more!

Leslie Pugh said...

Wow! That is a really inspiring story! To think that you might have given that up because of that terrible critique when you were 16. I'm so glad you didn't and I loved hearing how you used your talent for pageants and to pay for college. So awesome!

Nicole said...

Good attitude! Way to not give up.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

Yay you, Tasha! That's a great story and fun to know you've had that stubborn streak since you were young. It will serve you well in this business :)

Krista McLaughlin said...

That's great that you didn't give up and after that you did so well! I'm impressed that playing piano paid for your college, wow. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Look at you go, girl! You show that person that you're a killer piano player. I'm glad you didn't quit.

Also, there's a girl in my ward who was Miss Teen Utah. I know it's not the same thing, but maybe you know each other? The pageant scene and whatnot. Her name is Heather Lyman.

DL Hammons said...

Awesome story! YAY You! And it was such an excellent preparation for the writing challenges ahead. :)

Sophia Chang said...

Dang girl you're amazing!!!!!

Hart Johnson said...

Good for you for getting back to it! I think you're right, at a certain age these things can be so powerful, but one person should never have that power over us!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Way to Go!!! That's a great true life story of determination and believing in your self!

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

This story makes my heart happy. I had the worst stage freight at solo and ensemble, so I never did very well. I'm very glad you didn't give up.