I was off running some errands over lunchtime on Wednesday of this week, and I happened to drop into the Borders in Henrietta. I saw a sign advertising an appearance hanging in the front window. Then, as I got closer, I realized that the date and time matched with what my watch was saying: 8/15, 1pm. I read the name, shook it off, then got closer and read it again. Nope, I read it right the first time. John Waite was playing inside the Borders right now.
Who's John Waite? you might ask. People that are younger than me might not remember, and those older might not know. Heck, even those of the same age might be hard-pressed to put a name to the song until they heard it, but I bet a ton of you remember this:
"Missing You" was a big hit back in 1984, and got played in fairly heavy rotation seemingly every summer after that. I liked it at the time and it definitely hits the right nostalgia chord every time I hear it on the radio. And, being a child of the media as well as a child of the 80s, I knew who sang the song when it did come on.
Then, in the late 80s, he joined the "Super"Group Bad English and hit the big time again with this power ballad:
So, what was this man, who had been at the top of his profession at least twice in the past, doing playing an acoustic set at my local Borders?
The answer: What everybody else does. Work. Apparently, he's got a new album out that he's been touring in support of. He played a few cuts from the album and was signing afterwards. He was out there, promoting his product and meeting the people who like what he does and put their increasingly-hard-earned money down to purchase it.
I've been to enough writers' conferences and book signings to see how it works, and I recognized what John Waite was doing and appreciated it. He could easily retire or fade into the bliss of nostalgia, but he loves his music, and is willing to work to promote it. His professional life is not in the past, but in the present, or the future. He continues to create and work toward making sure he can continue to create.
Should there come a time when I am able to get paid for being creative and have people read what I write and like it enough to spend money on it, I'd like to think I would be willing to work to cultivate that situation and make it work.
If I become a writer, I want to be like John Waite.