Susan Speaks: Realizing a Dream


This was going to be a letter, but as it evolved, it’s really a blog post. So… here it is.

I feel a real need to say a big, loud, public thanks to everyone at the Metallica Club and the various groups (band, management, label, and so forth) as well as the organizers of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony who made it possible for me and the Tour Manager to attend last weekend’s affair. Without the chance to buy tickets through the MetClub, I’d have probably never seen a dream come true: To attend a RRHOF induction ceremony.

It probably sounds odd that a writer dreams of the sort of boring (in theory), stuffy (in theory) industry event as was staged last weekend. But before this writer chose fiction over all else, I spent a long time positioning myself to work in the music business. I turned down not one but three job offers from one record label, alone. There were other labels, too, who showed interest in having me come work for them, but in the end, I couldn’t deny it. Writing fiction is what I’m meant to do.

Choosing one life over another doesn’t always mean the end of the dreams that fueled me through long nights on stage crew, through delicate discussions with record label reps over why I couldn’t play their bands on my radio show, or through interviews with musicians that didn’t go quite the way I’d envisioned (The Great Kat was an experience I will possibly never get over). Certainly one glance at my fiction will show that I never truly left the music world. I can’t go; I belong here, even if it is on the sidelines. Hardly a candidate to watch most of my music-related dreams come true.

Yet I continue to find a way. My desire to learn promotions from the inside was realized when I stepped up to throw together a fan convention. Oh, I may not have had to deal with guarantees and gate receipts and all that, but I did it nonetheless. In typical Susan fashion — some would call it Metallica fashion — I found a way to make it happen on my own terms. I jumped in, both feet first, and came out at the other end standing upright. Maybe a little battered, a little bruised, but definitely wiser and richer for the experience.

Same for last weekend, although the risks were fewer. So were the obstacles.

If anything, it was easy. Entered raffle for tickets. Purchased tickets. Lined up place to stay, at an exclusive bed-and-breakfast that only cost me a copy of my book. Two babysitters vied for the honors of putting up with my children. We drove 105 miles. Jumped the public transit. And voila. Dreams came true.

Being there became bigger than simply watching my favorite (real-life) band be honored. From the moment the TV broadcast began, I was reminded of my true love for music, not simply for the one band who’d enabled my presence at the ceremony. Earlier in the day, as my family had toured the Museum, I’d tried to give my kids a feel for the bigger picture. How bands like Little Anthony and the Imperials may have been allowed to get up on stage and perform, but they weren’t allowed to be served dinner by the same people who were paying them for their gig. How rare a woman like Wanda Jackson had been, rocking out alongside the boys. We owe these pioneers much, the least of which is for the songs and melodies they produce. They changed the world.

Once upon a time, I’d dreamed of being one of those people who work behind the scenes. I wanted to be one of the people who make the musical magic happen for the thousands and millions of a band’s fans. I wanted to be able to stand at the side of the stage and look past the band I was working for. I wanted to look out at the audience and know that I was, in part, responsible for their being there. My first novel was about a woman who does exactly this. It’s safely under my bed now, but anyone familiar with my fiction knows that it was the start of something great.

I chose a different route from my musical ambitions, a route where I am both entirely behind the scenes and, simultaneously, the star of the show. But it’s where I can meld my two loves into one. Best of all, I can share it with anyone who picks up my book or who stops by my blog. Choosing fiction over my music career didn’t mean an end to those old dreams. There was no box to shove those ambitions and fantasies inside of, no lid to close, nothing to keep them from laying, dormant, until the time was right and they could come true.

Yeah, it took my membership in a certain band’s fan club to make it happen. That’s why I owe a huge thanks to the people associated with Metallica and with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s an old saying that the means don’t justify the ends. This time, they most certainly did.

Now, onward to conquer my next dream. I have so many, it’s hard to choose which will come true next. And that’s the beauty of it. I didn’t choose this; it fell in my lap. It’s reminded me of my love for all music, not just the heavy stuff I usually prefer. It gave me more than I expected, and for me, that’s how it’s best.



  1. Webbielady

    April 12, 2009 6:24 pm

    You are very lucky and very determined to reach your dreams. I mean, not so many people have the courage and motivation to reject such offers given to you…. and three times rejection of those offers? All I could say is, wow!

    Webbielady’s last blog post..VOTE FOR MY ENTRY: Better Late Than Never

  2. Lucy Lopez

    April 13, 2009 4:27 am

    So many dreams and so little clock time! How shall we choose?

    Lucy Lopez’s last blog post..Would you rather be ‘invited to’ or ‘challenged by’ life?

  3. Shelley Munro

    April 13, 2009 4:57 am

    It’s interesting the twists and turns that our lives take.

    Shelley Munro’s last blog post..March 2009

  4. Alice Audrey

    April 13, 2009 10:52 am

    Funny the way dreams have a way of updating themselves. Congrats on fulfilling a big one.

    Alice Audrey’s last blog post..Random Pix

  5. Zorlone

    April 13, 2009 12:26 pm

    Sometimes, being behind the scenes can be more promising too…

    Zorlone’s last blog post..A Gentle Touch

  6. Zorlone

    April 13, 2009 12:27 pm

    Sometimes, being behind the scenes can be more promising too…

    Keep on dreaming!


    Zorlone’s last blog post..A Gentle Touch

  7. Bobkat

    April 13, 2009 2:49 pm

    How weird. I was very recently reminded of my love for music as well so I can empathise. How cool though that you got to go to the Induction! Wow!

    Bobkat’s last blog post..Back again!

  8. Darlene

    April 13, 2009 7:09 pm

    Susan, awesome post! I am so excited that you got to realize a dream of yours. I just know others are around the corner for you~you’re just of those people who go after it and get it.

    Darlene’s last blog post..GIVEAWAY: 3 Copies of BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker

  9. koe whitton-williams

    April 13, 2009 9:11 pm

    wow – what a great post and what a great thing to do. . . I had the chance. . . 12 years ago (just after my son was born) to go the the grammy awards. It was, almost, a dream come true. . . to be in the audience at the grammys. I’ve not been to the R&R Hall of Fame. . . thanks for taking me there on your blog.

    koe whitton-williams’s last blog post..Sailing Away

  10. Joely

    April 14, 2009 9:00 am

    What a great story — dreams do come true! Now here’s to your next dream!

  11. Anne

    April 14, 2009 8:50 pm

    It sounds awesome. How great to actually achieve a dream.

    Anne’s last blog post..Random Thoughts About Drugs

  12. Wylie

    April 15, 2009 9:25 am

    A rare look into Susan’s soul. Thanks for the peek 🙂
    Glad not only that you HAVE dreams, but that you have many. And that they’re being realized.

    Speaking of dreams… I’m going back to bed.

    Wylie’s last blog post..I LOVE BOOKS!!

  13. Janet

    April 16, 2009 1:08 pm

    And you got to see Jimmy Page play live!!! Doesn’t get much better than that.

    Janet’s last blog post..happiness is contagious!

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