Monday, October 21, 2013

BIG Mistakes

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and change things?

I'm a vocal performer. Lots of us get stage fright. Some of us have nerves. I learned long ago all you had to do was channel that nervous energy into your performance. So yesterday I stood in front of somewhere between 150 and 200 people on steady legs, ready to do what I've done 1000000000000+ times before.

One minute into the song my mind went completely blank. After the first three seconds of utter shock--when I realized that blank wasn't going to clear--I glanced down at the "safety" sheet music in front of me (the copy I always use just in case). My accompanist trundled on, trusting that as a skilled performer I'd be able to hop right back in.

But I couldn't. My eyes glazed over the music. I couldn't comprehend what I was reading.

Have you read the Michael Vey series? I felt like Taylor Ridley had rebooted my brain. This was truly and honestly the first time I had ever completely lost it in the middle of a performance!

My accompanist looped the measures and came back to where I dropped into a mental abyss, but I still couldn't crunch the words. Finally--miraculously--(someone must have been praying for me) on his third loop my brain reset and the words just came out of my mouth.

After thirty second of bewildered silence.

But what happened next is what really surprised me. I recovered. Blunder over, I hopped back in and finished the number with gusto, drawing tears and heartfelt gratitude from the audience.

As I've thought back over this experience, I decided this was a teaching one. We may make mistakes, but they're not what counts. What really matters is that we press forward and finish with all we've got.

So if I could go back in time, would I change this experience?

No.

But if you could go back in time, where and when would you go? My buddy Pk Hrezo just unveiled the cover of her NA debut novel, and I've been dying to share it.


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Buttterman Time Travel, Inc. releases November 12, 2013--one day before MOONLESS.

So ladies and gentlemen, have you made a mistake you wish you could change? If you could go back in time, when and where would you go? 

69 comments:

  1. There is nothing scarier than freezing onstage! I'm glad you recovered and took something from the experience!

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    1. Me too. Actually I had to go home shortly thereafter because of dizziness, so it must have been something going on with me.

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  2. Hmm...I don't think I'd go back and change anything. Not that I've done so many things correctly; I haven't. But from those poor choices or mistakes I've grown.

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    1. So true. What would we be like if we could go back and wipe the slate clean? I think we'd have a ton of people who resent us for being perfect.

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  3. How awesome that you recovered! This happened to me in a grad school speech once. I was trying to be impressive and do the entire presentation with no notes. Big mistake :)

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    1. Yikes! Grad school speech? Whew! I hope you recovered well.

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  4. Wow! Butterman (Time) Travel sounds like a great book.

    As for changing things, yeah, I would. There have been times when I've hurt people by saying something that I didn't mean. I'd change those in an instant. But, on the other hand, from those experiences I've learned how important forgiveness is. I guess I wish I could've have learn in a better way.

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    1. I hear you! I used to be captain oblivious when it came to offending people, and gosh I would have loved to avoid all of that. But the lesson needed to be learned.

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  5. This sounds like a really great novel!

    Would I change anything... no, I wouldn't have some of the people in my life if those "mistakes" didn't happen.

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    1. I hear you there. In one character interview the hero was asked what he would change about himself, and he said nothing--because it all makes him who he is.

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  6. Oh geez, I hate being up in front of people! I hear it's something you get used to eventually, but I guess even seasoned performers like yourself freeze at times. Glad you got back into the song! I bet the audience didn't even know it was a mistake!

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    1. It's true. One person commented she thought I'd paused to add emotional emphasis. Crazy, right?

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  7. I was so afraid I'd freeze when I was in the school play back in high school. I still have nightmares about it!

    This sounds like a great book! ☺

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    1. After playing Maria Rainer (Sound of Music lead), I spent the next 5 years dreaming it was back on and I'd forgotten half the lines.

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  8. Good for you for recovering. And you're so right, something like this can be a learning experience. Although it would be nice if learning experiences could be a little easier sometimes LOL. I know I've had plenty but ultimately I try to look at the mistakes as things I needed to do to get to where I am now.

    Love this cover and I know the book will be fantastic.

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    1. It's true. What you are is a result of the experiences you have.

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  9. I've frozen on stage, but I usually pick up again really quickly. I'm actually on stage all the time (four times a week) because teaching is like performing. It was harder at first, but I got better with practice. Though staring out at all of those faces and wondering if the words would ever come back is easily one of the most frightening moments.

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    1. Oh I know what you mean about teaching being like performing! I teach a group of 50 every Sunday (and sometimes between), but this wasn't like that. This was like a senior moment.

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  10. Great post, Crystal! I didn't know you were a singer as well as an author. I'm a nervous wreck anytime I have to get in front of people - whether it's for book readings or work-related speeches/training events. But getting back in the groove when all of the pressure is on is quite a feat! You go, girl :-)

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    1. Thanks! I'm still just bewildered it happened in the first place.

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  11. I've made mistakes where I've hurt people and if I could go back in time I would change it. It's kind of a paradox. I try to be more thoughtful and I'm definitely kinder as a result of the past, so would going back to change things change that?

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    1. Not if you could keep your current stream of consciousness. ;)

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  12. ACK! I'm glad you recovered.

    I adore the premise of this novel!

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  13. You're so talented, Crystal. Hadn't a clue you were a singer as well. Wow, impressive! Maybe the audience didn't know you'd zoned out? That happened to me once when I was a beginning teacher and being evaluated. There's no way to describe that dreadful feeling--but the supervisor thought I was merely waiting for students to answer a question. Whew!

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    1. Whew! My goodness, I'm glad the supervisor assumed that.

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  14. I was a singer for years, too, and always kept the lyrics by my side, and still occasionally went blank, just like you. Usually, when the audience started looking at me like I was growing antlers, I'd pretend to cough and take a quick sip of water. By the time that was done, I'd usually find my place and no one was the wiser. Heh-heh-heh. ;)

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  15. I've only had that happen once and man, you're right--who high-jacked my brain. What makes it worse is you know the words backwards and forward. Very true also is being seasoned you don't run away or off the stage you take a deep breath and plunge in and finish. Reality is, while we're very aware of the small mistakes we make, the audience rarely is, and unless we panic they won't even notice. :-)

    I like the premise of PK's novel. It's on my TBR pile. :-)

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. It's so true. It's all about how you present yourself. One audience member really thought I did it on purpose. LOL!

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  16. I've had one of those blank moments before.
    And it's like we tell our daughter when she's playing her accordion, "Don't stop. Just keep playing like nothing's wrong."

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    1. Yeah, I guess I could have just started humming. LOL! It's a little trickier with lyrics. ;)

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  17. So true that it's important to go on from the mistake. I've definitely blanked out before too.

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  18. What a fantastic real-world lesson you shared with us! Something I willdefinitely have to keep in mind when I'm competing in my next tournament!

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  19. Amazing lesson. I tell myself to regret nothing, but if I could go back in time, I'd tell myself not to get any student loans and just work through school. I'm 40 and still paying them off!

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    1. Ug. I hear you on the student loans. My husband is constantly wishing he had saved all the money he made as a teen.

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  20. I blanked out during one exam. Just forgot everything. Then took a moment and read...it came back.

    Congratulations to PK and to you for your releases!

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    1. Oh my, don't get me started on tests. I know that feeling well.

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  21. I used to sing, and I too once forgot the lyrics to a song during a performance. It was an Italian aria and I just completely blanked on everything. My accompanist kept playing the intro and I just kept not doing anything.

    Best performance ever.

    Well...maybe not.

    Congrats, PK!

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    1. LOL! An Italian aria? Oh man, I miss those days. Nothing quite so beautiful as Italian when it comes to singing--but when you don't exactly know what the word mean you're singing, they are much easier to forget.

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  22. I love your intro to PK's book.

    I'm always impressed when athletes and performers have their "moments" and are able to pull out of it without making a big deal about the mistake.

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    1. That's the true essence of a performer, eh? I think it sometimes lends to a stronger emotional response.

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  23. There are things I would change but most of them are times I've hurt others and I wish I could take away their pain. My father never said mistakes, or trials, he always said they were opportunities. I try to keep the same outlook. It's not always easy.

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  24. Wow! That intro left me breathless. I have definitely done that. I've sung solos, duets, in small choirs, etc, and one year at New Year's Eve I froze singing Silent Night in a 350+ packed church. It's a song I've known by heart since the age of ten, and the words were gone, my voice felt like it disappeared even with the cheat sheet in front of me. I wish I could say I recovered fully, but when I managed it, it as really quiet. Someone told me later it sounded "reverent," and I nearly laughed, because all I could think was that I was definitely praying all the way through, but I hadn't intended it to be so quiet. God has a way of teaching us important truths in those moments that feel like failures.
    There are definitely more painful experiences that I would go back and change, but then I wonder, would I be who God wants me to be now, if I did?
    Great intro!

    I'm interested in reading the book!

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    1. Oh my. It's so funny the way people interpret these things. You must have covered pretty well.

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  25. Love the story about the singer, it truly expresses the idea of learning from the mistake and moving on. My DD sings alot, must remember to share it with her.

    They Call it Mellow Yellow

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  26. Wow, thanks for sharing that experience with us. It's true - we need to press on, and not wallow in the mistake. It can lead to better things!

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  27. No. I've lived long enough to know that mistakes usually are the best teachers.

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  28. Oh. My. Word. I know that feeling...
    Sounds like you handled it superbly. Like the true professional that you are.

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    1. The kinds words are much appreciated, Michelle.

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  29. I have nightmares where I am in a high school play and DO NOT KNOW MY LINES. Terrifying.

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    1. I used to have those kinds of nightmares. It's been long enough now I don't...or maybe I just can't remember my dreams after being jolted away by demanding littles. ;)

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  30. I've made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think I'd ever want to go back to change them. I'd be too afraid of unanticipated repercussions!

    Also, I'm so, so impressed with how you recovered like that. I probably would've just broken down into a panic attack!

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    1. I saw one of my AMAZING performer friends do that in a similar circumstance. She had prerecorded accompaniment, so she just smiled and gasped, "oh my," until she could get her feet back under her.

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  31. OMG I'm so impressed that you even perform in front of that many people, let alone jumping back in after freezing. Wow. Yes, there are definitely things I wish I could go back and change, but then again, those mistakes made me who I am to day.

    I'm so excited for Pk! Love the cover AND the premise!

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  32. No, like you, I think mistakes are how we learn. What's that Samuel Beckett quote... "Try, fail, try again, fail better?" Something like that, lol. As long as we're moving forward!

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    1. Oh, I love that quote, Nick. How have I never heard that one before?

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  33. Oh my word that must be terrifying! I've experienced a similar experience during my final economics exam. Unlike you, though, nothing came back. Had to redo the subject. But you know what? I don't regret it either.

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    1. I hate tests. I'd much rather be singing. ;) I guess that information is pretty solid after taking the subject again, eh?

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  34. Hi Crystal, you have shared a great lesson. I can imagine how you felt and the blank you had, it happens also to me but when I studied at uni and had to take exams. Yes, I did mistakes in my life but I think I wont change anything since is from them we learn the lessons. Kisses! xo

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  35. Wow. I've only frozen once, but it was on the phone. In front of an audience... Glad you got through it okay.

    If I could go back in time... I have no idea if I would want to.

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  36. Crystal!!! How did I miss this?? So sorry I'm so late. As you can imagine, I've been racked with things to do and wasn't sure when this was going up. But THANK YOU so much for that fabulous intro and heartstopping story. I can only imagine. I conquered similar fears by giving presentations, when I dont care for public speaking at all. My nerves get all jumbled. But they were such great experiences as well.
    I always think of Jim Morrison who wouldn't even face his audience when The Doors first started performing. It's actually quite common for superstar frontmen to start out shyly.
    I'm so glad you were able to pull thru on that. Those things help build our character. Didn't know you were so multi-talented! How cool! Man, I wish I could sing.

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Hit me with your cheese!