Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tyra's going to UT and other dreams come true

If you watch Friday Night Lights (okay, if you are planning to watch FNL, spoilers coming, so either stop reading or read on and live with it), then you know that Tyra Collette, who finally came to believe that "college is possibility" and finally stopped having enough hate in her heart to jump start a car and finally believed dear Landry when he told her that he believed in her no matter who else didn't, got into UT in the season finale. And while that took the teensiest bit of suspension of disbelief for we Texas folk because we know Texas still has the top ten percent rule and that UT's freshman class last year was comprised of over 70% of only top ten percenters and that in the real world, Tyra would probably not only have been wait listed, she'd have had to go to UTSA first for year, it was still a moment that made me cry. As did the moment when big brother Billy Riggins ("fixin' cars and drinkin' beer, what else could you want?") grabs hearthrob Tim Riggins and tells him he's going to college even if it's hard because he needs to set that example for Billy's yet unborn kid that you can do better and you will do better, end of story. And I cried when Lyla finally forgave poor Buddy and admitted that she really did want to go to Vanderbilt. And when Matt Seracen decided to stick by grandma... Guess I've been crying a lot here.

But here's the thing about why Tyra's story really grabs me the most. She is a girl who has been vastly underestimated her entire life. She has been pigeon-holed as the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, dismissed as the girl who could make it but won't. And with some luck and a couple of people who never stop believing in her, she proves those naysayers wrong. She didn't give up in her heart - not ever - even when she could barely stand to keep believing because it was so easy to stop.

And I guess that's how I feel about how crazy wonderful it is to log onto Amazon and see a book for sale with my name on it. I am not from the wrong side of the tracks, but when you go with a whole heart after a dream for so long, it's easier to believe it won't happen than to believe it will. Less risky that way. And you discover that some people find it hard to be generous about other people's dreams, which kind of stings. But like Tyra, you eventually come to the understanding that you're not doing this for other people. You're doing it for yourself, for the story, for the sheer joy of the craft, and for the simple reason that the Muse has given you a gift and it would be a travesty to waste it.

So I guess that's why I've loved FNL and why I loved the indie film Sunshine Cleaning that I saw last week. They're about possibility. About never ever giving up, especially if it feels easier. Success it seems is part hard work, part unexpected gift. It doesn't always happen with the quick ease of a slot machine win, at least it hasn't for me. As agent Jen and I discussed just recently, some people are the slow and steady types. Like Coach Eric Taylor - to leap back to FNL one more time - he isn't about the show and the glitz. Some people fail to see the value of that slow climb. But I'm not one of them.

Til next time...

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