Okay, so it wasn’t a real date.
But the thought of having an hour and a half conversation with an inspiring author and sportswriter makes me happy. So join me in my mind as we order some wine. (I’ll have a glass of Riesling, please.)
I recently attended a recent National Writers Series event at the City Opera House in Northern Michigan that featured Mitch Albom. I graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences, so I had a professional as well as personal interest in what he had to say. I also consider myself a sportsperson. I enjoy watching football, basketball and golf, and dance is as athletic and graceful as any other sport. I became a fan of Mr. Albom when his first book, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” was recommended to the world (and me) by Oprah.
ESPN is on continuously at our home. Its recaps of big games are great, but my favorite segments are the “tear jerking” stories of REAL people with REAL stories of TRIUMPH over adversity. Mr. Albom excels at this type of story in his Detroit Free Press column, and on his own web site. (Hmmm…I think I’ll have beer instead.)
My own ‘Tuesday with Mitch’ (The date was Tuesday, July 2) was an enticing, intriguing, entertaining conversation about life, sports, social media and the never-ending changes in journalism for both print and television. During the event, he shared humorous stories about his sports column, the effort to complete the biography of University of Michigan’s Bo Schemblecher and his coverage of Olympic events. It was a VERY entertaining evening.
His most memorable moments, along with the discussion of his charity work, however, were his thoughts about the many best-selling books he has written. Ironically, most seem to deal with “death” and “after-life.” This fact became of point of laughter with the audience. Some of the 500 or so with me on this ‘date’ wondered if he has some obsession with dying. He responded by saying that even though most subjects involved death in some way; the most important point to take from those stories he told was “HOW to LIVE.” (Disclaimer: I am not quoting “my date” Mitch in anyway, I am simply sharing what I remember, what I “heard” and what I specifically learned that evening.)
Doing a thirty-second recap of inspiration for those who could not join me, these are the top 5 things I learned from best-selling author and sportswriter, Mitch Albom:
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. (On air)
1. Life is hard, have a sense of humor. Writing can be lonely, have a sense of humor.
2. Authentic journalism is hard work. When you make a negative or rude comment about an article, remember that hours of research, development, etc. went into writing it.
3. When looking for a story or writing a story, make an effort to find that unique angle…something that you can feel in your gut, or makes your heart beat faster. If you can physically feel something within yourself…. write that story.
4. Being a “Storyteller” can be a powerful gift. People will come and go in your life for different reasons, but sometimes when you listen to their stories, you can be inspired to tell it to the world.
5. If you can have a positive impact on somebody else’s life with your stories or things that you write…even one person… THAT should be considered SUCCESS.
One more disclosure in the interest of true journalism: my ACTUAL conversation with “my date” Mitch Albom was more of a “fleeting ‘Hi, I love your work, can we take a picture although I know you need to move the line along,” moment. Not memorable in any way to him, no doubt, but to ME…LIFE-CHANGING. (I DID get the picture, however.)
Thank you, Mitch Albom for inspiring me with your work, your stories and for our “evening out.” I am striving hard to be a “Storyteller” like you.
P.S. I am anxiously awaiting your next book, that we happened to get a sneak preview of: “The First Phone Call from Heaven – A Novel.” (Scroll down for amazon links, if interested)
Mitch Albom Books