Lucille Desiree Ball was an
Average Joan who became
I Love Lucy.
Elaine Benes was an Average Joan with a penchant for big salads.
Charles Schultz was an Average Joe
who created a cartoon institution called Peanuts.
Average Joan Cartoon Created by Dee Boyd. - Floating Pear Productions
Charlie Brown and Peanuts Gang
Charlie Brown is an Average Joe (kid version) who loves hanging out with Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Franklin, Snoopy, and Peppermint Patty...
Rachael Ray is an Average Joan who digs cooking fast with EVOO. YUM-O.
Rachael Ray Show
I'm Joan B. Average and this is my cyber-journal about an Average Joan with a dash of extraordinary, living on the verge of possibilities.
Wow, I wonder if one of my characters would become a Barbie? That would be so cool.
That's me in beautiful Wailea, Maui at the Maui Writer's Conference. I'm a little camera shy. I like my clothes to stand in for me. Isn't that Hawaiian halter dress cute? Love the rainbow!
Can you believe it? John and Florine's youngest striking a literary pose amidst Pulitzer Prize, Oscar and Emmy Winners. Can I get a whoo-hoo! I KNOW!
It happened because I busted my tushy writing content like "How to Look Ten Pounds Thinner for Under $40" for a cable network's website. Interviewed authors for a book trade web site, who, for some, are better spinning tales of intrigue on their laptops than answering a reporter's question.
I braved an indecisive dentist and somehow found sparkling copy for a cleaning company and other less glamorous small businesses, and created brochures that sent customers flocking to them.
I earned this conference and dog gone it... I was going to make things happen, or ache trying. For once, I was going to be the Star, the Whiz Kid, the It Girl.
Writers would clamor around me. Agents would rush to set up a meeting. Publishers would phone their New York Offices to alert them to the hot manuscript they're sending their way. A bidding war would begin based on my dazzling pitch alone and all while I was still basking in the Maui sun.
Gloria Estefan's Conga song arrives in my head, I start doing "Da Bump" with a palm tree, (these open-air hotels are fantastic), until I see several stretched pairs of eyes that seem to say, "Are you on medicine? Oh yeah, like you've never done "da bump" with a palm tree in Hawaii before.
Oh stop pouring vinegar into my mango smoothy. A girl can dream. I sigh happily and fall into step with the other wide-eyed conference attendees.
Oh look, there's a group of writers from the coveted week-long writing seminar held the week before the conference. Those lucky duckies were selected for the seminar and worked on their projects at the elbows of pros. They're what we weekend attendees call the Creme-de-la-Creme Circle. I stared at three of its members.
They weren't just here for a weekend of workshops, meeting with agents and hobnobbng with authors, journalists, screenwriters and publishers. Their projects were destined to be on bookstore shelves and movie screens within a few years.
My heart pounded as I inched closer to the group.
"Okay, I can do this... one step in front of the other." I mutter. "This isn't high school... they're not the popular girls' clique, or the service clubs you tried to join but failed.
This isn't recess and you're not stuck turning the double-dutche ropes with Ditzy Doreen. You're a grown woman. You've prayed... you've saved... you are ready to be here. So put on your big girl panties and march on over there... introduce yourself. Find out what they know. Now go! What are you going to do when it's time to meet the real pros?
"Okay, let's do this thing?" I say aloud with fake conviction. My queen of procrastination reign was sure to continue.
Wait a minute... where's Daniel? (my husband) He should be here by now dropping off my checkbook. I was so excited this morning, I left my checkbook on our condo's kitchen island. I needed to pay for my ten-minute pitch meetings with the pros and they weren't cheap.
Our plan was to meet at the registration table I just past. I glanced toward the Creme-de-la-Creme like a kid staring at a row of new bikes with "Free" signs on them.
Well, at least the three women were sitting in front of the main conference hall, not far from our planned meeting spot. He'll find me there, I decided. Okay, take a deep breath and go. This is your destiny... go get it!
Suddenly, I hear the sound of cars skidding to a stop in my head. "What the..." My mouth pops open when two men move, revealing a fourth person to the group -- a man... my husband, Daniel!
There he was leaning toward the three women as if they shared a big secret. They laughed when he laughed. He's not that funny. (okay, yes he is.) They're glued to his every word. What's up with that? They're not tuning him out like I often do.
This man whom I've never seen pick up a novel, well along read one in our 14 years together was sitting in my seat. He was talking to my coveted writer's circle. He had entered the Creme-de-la-Creme Writer's Circle and HE WAS NOT EVEN A WRITER.
Did a coconut conk me on the head while I was doing "Da Bump" with that palm tree? Did I fall into Seinfeld's Bizarro world?
I head over there with the quickness. Danel smiles when he sees me and waves me over. I can't miss his sly grin and that "SEE I TOLD YOU I'D FIT IN" wink.
Why wouldn't he? He's the popular kid, the high school jock. He grew up as part of the "beautiful people" in a known snooty area of our city. He even went to prep school for goodness sake. OF COURSE HE'S SITTING WITH MY WRITERS' GROUP.
He introduces me. I stutter my pleasure in meeting them. Two respond with a yawn and the other, a glazed-over look. All seem annoyed that I interrupted their chat.
After their perfunctory pleasantries, they return to their conversation with my husband,THE NON-WRITER and totally diss me. I feel like a cat watching the world perched at a window.
Since Daniel's bed pillow sits next to mine, he tries to bring me into the fold, but it's not happening. Even he, the man I share my life with, can't help me out. Did they just invite him to lunch and not me?
He can't help but snicker since we both know he has no intention of lunching with them. He's going snorkeling with our cousins. SO TAKE THAT SNOOTY FUTURE OPRAH BOOK CLUB STARS. He suggests that I take his place. You would have thought he called them fat and frumpy. No way will I go to lunch with these stuck-up heifers.
So how come I hear myself saying, "where should I meet you?"
The pixie haircut one mumbles something incoherent. Thankfully my husband speaks snob, but doesn't live it. He kisses me goodbye, tells me to knock them dead. I'd like to knock something al right. His grinning face.
"Knock-em dead?" I reply. "You mean like you already have?"
He laughs and squeezes my arm, then vanishes in the crowd.
I STAND THERE SHOCKED BY WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Even he, the non-writer was a star at my writer's conference.
Fussing all the way to a nearby coffee station, I drink a cup of Kona Blend, pouring in extra cream and sugar. I deserved it. I could use a DQ Peanut Buster right about now. My first few sips has the desired effect and calms me. I hear the first speaker's voice boom through the PA system and drain the cup. My doubts and fears return for an encore appearance. coffee - flickr.com
I'm an imposter. What was I thinking? I don't belong here. I'm just an Average Joan with a notion. Maybe if I hurry I can catch my husband and swim with the sea turtles.
I turn to leave, but stop suddenly. (I wasn't really leaving. I paid a lot of money to attend.) Is that...? I couldn't have picked a better moment to see an old childhood friend. On a neaby chair was Charlie Brown living his life in a Peanuts comic strip.
He was this average kid who had an extraordinary impact on the world. He and his pals with their average personalities entertained generations of children and I'm sure will continue for years to come.
I swipe away my tears and dive into the above strip where Charlie plans a picnic on the phone. Snoopy listens as he tells the person that they'll let people bring what they feel is necessary. Snoopy comes up behind him with his dog bowl. I feel like Snoopy at this conference.
I head for the applause in the banquet hall, and for a moment imagine that the applause is for me as I skip to the podium to receive my Oscar for the Best Adaptation Category, for a script adapted from a novel, a Joan B. Average novel.
I enter the room smiling. Why not? I'm Joan B. Average (B stands for Blessed) with a dash of the extraordinary, just enough to imagine my novel, a family saga, developing into a popular television series. Samantha Who? pops into my head. And that one of my scripts or another novel could win me a nomination seat at the Oscars.
"Expect the best and you'll get the best, expect little and you'll receive little." A pastor's recent sermon echoes in my ears. "Speak things as though it is so, walk and work in faith within His will and they will come into fruition."
"Excuse me," a perky brunette says, crashing my land of Oz, and returning me to the Meet and Greet Cocktail Party that evening. I recognized her from my conference brochure, she's Sally Super Agent. Wow, she's smiling at me. A top agent is smiling at me. Wait... she's not smiling at me. She's smiling at the colossal shrimp chilling on a block of ice I'm blocking her from getting.
It's now or never. Stop looking like a crazy girl and network.
"Hi... I'm Joan B. Average."
I watch her drop a clump after clump of shrimp onto her plate without uttering a word. Aren't you the little piggy, I dare not say.
"I'm Joan B. Average, I repeat a little louder, sounding more like Minnie Mouse's twin Penny.
Sally Super Agent cranks her head around me, then faces me with a look of annoyance.
" I'm Sally Super Agent... and you are?" It didn't matter that I've said my name twice and wore a name badge. I look down. My name badge is on backwards. Nice.
"Joan B. Average." I cheerfully extend my hand. She puts a plate in it.
"Oh thank you." She walks around me. This time I'm blocking the bowl of cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. She drops lemon wedges and cocktail sauce on my plate. A lemon wedge splatters cocktail sauce on my chin and new Hawaiian dress. More cocktail sauce land on my sandals. After piling both plates with shrimp, she snatches the one I'm holding and leaves.
"Thanks Jan... nice meeting you."
That quick, she's gone, but not before Courtney, Star Scribe intercepts her and carries her second plate. She says her name only once. "Courtney, Star Scribe... it's nice to meet you.
So there they are, Sally Super Agent chatting away between shrimp bites to Courtney Star... a Warner Brothers Fellow, Yale grad, head of this, awarded that, excelled at this and broke the record at that.
Average Joan has left the building, just for a bit.
Average Joans aren't the life of the party.
We win the internships no-one want.
We become the flag girl instead of the majorette.
We get the responsible project, not the creative one at the job.
And we're misunderstood and underestimated.
We tend to fall into a box wrapped with a nice bow. Just when we vanish from everyone's minds, we break out, change it into a platform and turn that ribbon into a crown. No, not to put on our heads. Please... we don't like that kind of attention. We crown that passion pie with a ribbon of whipped cream and let everyone enjoy a slice.
Julie & Julia
Join this average joan's adventures into the creative world of possibilities. I'll take the average and hopefully transform it into something extraordinary. Look at Julie and Julia, the book about the bored temp who decided to do something extraordinary with a Julia Child cookbook.
Or look at Seinfeld, a show about nothing that became a Hollywood treasure. Four average friends, so nothing to write home about, but they still keep us laughing every night at 7:30 EST.
Average Joans sneak up on you, then go to town. Come along for the ride. We may hit some bumps, run out of gas and miss a shortcut or two -- all before reaching the promised land, a staff writer position on a television show and a book contract, a year from now, September 17, 2010. That's just the top of my Writing To-Do-List. I hope to check all or half off by that date.
Even if I only achieve one, you'll hear my screams of joy.
Are you an Average Joan? I'd like to hear about your passion. Do you have a year career goal? How are you getting to your destiny?