Janet Sumner Johnson
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A Mary Poppins Mother’s Day


09, 2011 |

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So, my Mother’s Day didn’t go exactly as one might hope. The eve of, I picked up my crying daughter from her crib, only to get covered in diarreah. The morning of, I woke up feeling like a piano was sitting on my chest,with a yucky cold. I hated to miss church because on Mother’s Day not only do all the children sing to you, but the men all bring these marvelous treats for the women to eat during the women’s meeting. Furthermore, I was supposed to pick someone up, and help with the children’s meeting, so it was actually a lot of work not to go.

My husband couldn’t help because he’d been working all night and needed to sleep before working all night again. After debating the possibilities, I finally concluded I really couldn’t (and shouldn’t!) go to church.  THANKFULLY I made this decision, because just as we would have been in the car on the way, my 4-year-old threw up. Yes, it truly was quite the day.

So when I got my two sickies down to sleep, I proposed to my 7-year-old that we watch Mary Poppins. I loved this movie as a kid (I even learned how to say Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious backwards – Docious-ali-expi-istic-fragi-cali-rupus, in case you were wondering). My son would never watch it before, but since we don’t usually watch movies on Sunday, he jumped at the chance.

This time was the charm. He loved it! And of course I loved it all over again. I even had to watch the “making of” portion in the Bonus Features. That’s when my son lost interest.

Still, I found it fascinating. Did you know that Walt Disney spent 20 years trying to get the rights to film this movie? P.L. Travers didn’t want to see her work desecrated by Hollywood. But Disney had fallen in love with the book, and he never stopped trying. He just knew that it was something worth pursuing. (Sound familiar?)

And did you know that Julie Andrews only accepted the part of Mary Poppins after she failed to get the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady? If you recall, that part went to the inimitable Audrey Hepburn. But guess who won the Oscar for Best Actress that year? I’ll give you a hint: it didn’t go to Audrey Hepburn. Ms. Andrews’ amazing success in Mary Poppins only came because she was first rejected. (Funny enough, she actually thanked the producer of My Fair Lady in her acceptance speech at the Oscars!)

So I won’t slam the morals down your throat, I’m sure you can see how these great stories might apply to us. But I will show you the picture my son drew while I was watching the “making of.”

Recognize it? If you don’t, go watch it again. If you’ve never seen it . . . well hurry and rectify that! Mary Poppins is an inspirational film. So simple, yet so complex. And even though my day may not have been all one might hope, I’m okay with that. Somehow, after seeing this movie with my son, I don’t feel so gloomy. And that’s the best a storyteller can hope for, isn’t it?

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You Asked for It!


16, 2011 |

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Thank you for all the questions! I appreciate your patience with my brief episode of Tabula Rasa-itis. So here we go:

Justine Dell asked: What is your biggest fear? And don’t say something lame like spiders or something.

It’s a good thing you clarified, because I TOTALLY would have put spiders. 🙂 But beyond those, I would have to say my biggest fear is split in two:

  1. Losing any member of my family. (But whose isn’t, right?)
  2. That my best won’t be good enough . . . whether in writing, or raising my family, or whatever.
  3. Have you noticed that I really like lists?

Joanne asked: If you didn’t write, what would you do creatively?

Hmmm . . . this is a hard question because there are so many ways to answer it. I actually love music and play the piano and (dabble in the guitar), but I don’t have the discipline to practice enough to become good. So while I’d do it for fun, I don’t think it could ever fill in for writing.

And I’ve always wished I had any talent in illustration, but alas, ’tis not my lot. BUT, if we’re talking about an imaginery world here where all things are possible, then this would be it. I’d be an artist for sure! Oil paintings and maybe water colors. 🙂

Stina Lindenblatt, after acusing Justine of cheating, asked: What is the thing you like best about writing fiction?

Honestly, it’s getting lost in another world. I’ve always been a daydreamer (and I was master of doing it without getting caught in school), so I suppose it was a natural shift to write fiction. But who doesn’t want to escape their reality at some point for a more exciting place where you are important or even essential to the well-being of the world? The possibilities are endless! It’s why I’ll be writing for the rest of forever even if I never do get published.

Jackee took the liberty of asking two questions (such presumption!): What would be your ideal writing life?

I’m a little torn about this question because my ideal writing life would probably exclude all of my current life. But see, then it wouldn’t be ideal anymore. So trying to strike a balance . . .

Question #2: When did you first know you wanted to write? (But not necessarily get published).

I think the first hint that I enjoyed it was in High School. I sent an outline for a Disney-ified version of The Pied Piper to The Walt Disney Co. 😀

Oh, yes I did. I knew nothing about query letters or anything, and I didn’t even want to get paid. I just wanted my idea to be the next Disney animated feature-film. I still have the response they sent stating that The Walt Disney Co. does not read outside ideas. My un-read letter was included in the package. Really, I’m quite proud of my first rejection. 🙂

So I have this personal rule about long blogs . . . I try to avoid them. And this is getting long, so I will have to respond to these in batches. No worries, if you asked a question, I’ll link back to your blog (if I have your link) and respond. I promise.

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