I'm waiting for my flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles when I catch a familiar face gliding by. "Hmmm. No, can't be." Then I hear his voice. Yes, it was the terrific actor, Peter Coyote. Giving him his privacy, I go about my business. Just then I hear my husband Bill call out, "Hi, Peter." Oh lord. They start talking. Peter is headed to L.A. to talk about a new acting part. More chatting. Bill tells Peter about my "Horse Sluts" book and articles. Oh lord, again. I join the guys, and we compare writing experiences. I tell him I'm headed to L.A. for a radio interview and research on a horse-related article. Peter tells me of his friend in L.A. who is big into horses. Then zip, we all get on the plane. I spent the 55 minutes to LAX debating about giving Peter Coyote my business card and asking to interview his friend. Sweating out the decision, I realized that outside I was dressed "very chic-literati." Inside, I was wearing my pajamas.
When the heck did that happen? I used to stride through the world in the high-heeled pumps of self-assurance. I'd stride through any door into any experience. When did the doubts and second guessing creep in? The clarity of the revelation knocked me on the head. The internal image was movie-vivid. I was sitting in seat 1A, but the window, in my PJs. I felt rumpled and unsure. My hair was flat on one side, and I had chenille marks on my face. Not really, but that's what I felt inside.
"Should I? Shouldn't I? What would I say? I must get the pitch down to two lines, well, maybe three. Don't gush. Don't mumble. Remember who you are. You get paid to write. You are a writer. No, he'll feel imposed upon. Maybe not. Dream up a short punchy line to make him feel good and show how saucy you are. But you aren't "jonesing" for a date - you just want to connect - so don't salivate. Do I look alright? Maybe a little lipstick?" This conversation went on for 30 minutes behind my sunglasses until ... I committed to speak to Peter Coyote - the actor - screenwriter - book writer - famous person. That's when I faced down my internal PJs.
To have any success as a writer, I have to be audacious. The only PJs allowed are the ones I wear at my desk, but even then I slip on great CMFM shoes when I send a pitch or make interview phone calls. I remembered that I can do this - I can talk to Peter Coyote - the person.
I crafted two direct, fully packed lines. The first line I would speak while I handed Peter my card - no - two cards, one for his friend. The other line would be to show I appreciated his work history as an equal. My internal pumps were getting higher, and I was wearing my chic-literati jacket and slacks again. Whew!
I slid two business cards into my blazer pocket. They would be ready - easily - accessible - no awkward fumbling. My fingers felt for them as I practiced my lines. I'd be glib and natural.
The plane banked over Santa Monica Bay. I was returning to where I was formed - where I was fearless. This was the perfect place to reach back to that courage. Now that I'd seen my internal PJs, I would be aware that they lurked inside me, ready to slither up my legs and embrace my core. I vowed that I wouldn't let them. They'd be rebuffed by a mental snapshot of a chic, black, Jackie O sheath with "don't mess with me" pumps.
Re-checking my pocket for my business cards, I marched off the plane and dawdled purposefully at the Arrival/Departure screen. Peter sauntered up to me. I smiled, located the cards and said, "If your friend would like to discuss the possibility of me doing an interview, have her contact me." Then my zinger, "Remember, you are the centerfold for those who think. Knock 'em dead." Well, being an attractive, artistic man in his 70s, he gave me a large smile. I think I made his day! Even if I didn't get an interview, I was thrilled to have made another human being smile. Peter and I wished each other good luck and went on our way. "Now, that's the old Candace," I grinned.
Maybe we all need to take a gander at our inner mirrors to see how we are dressed. PJs, smeared sweats, "done-lap" trousers, thread-bare muumuus, saggy-at-the-rear gym pants. We need to dress for success on the inside, too. There aren't any excuses for shlumping around in down-at-the-heels emotional shoes. I felt great by re-acquainting with my old self, and I gave another human (OK, a famous human) a big smile.
Oh, by the way, my phone rang that evening. Peter Coyote's friend called. She said that Peter had told her to phone me. Would I like to meet her at the stables in Glendale so we could talk? We ended up having lunch together. I/we are working on a magazine article. Who would have thunk it?
Candace Wade wrote the book "Horse Sluts - The Saga of Two Women on the Trail of Their Yeehaw." She has contributed to Horse Nation, Mature Lifestyles, Riding and Writing, The Tennessean and is a member of American Horse Publications. Candace writes political diatribe, wrote "Hillary's View" pet column and four unpublished film scripts. She learned to ride at age 46 and still rides at 59+.