Recently my wife and I attended a Celebration of Life ceremony for a good family friend. They became a good friend of the family because, at first, they were my wife's patient.
For many (many) years, once a week - my wife the RN would drive to their home to deliver their life-saving IV medication. And due to the nature of the treatment, she would spend hours once a week, every week, at their home. Start the IV meds, wait three hours, remove the IV, drive home. For privacy issues (HIPPA Compliance?) I'll call him Frank. (...or is it Francine..???)
When I did the math, it was hundreds of three-hour visits. Once a week, every week. Over the course of seven or eight years. Because it took hours for the IV medication to be administered and monitored, the majority of the three hours was spent sitting, and talking. Talking, sharing, communicating, bonding, supporting. Once a week, for three hours, for years.
My wife could not (and would never) share any medical details with me (her husband) but she did share amazing stories about Frank, his wife, his family, his business, his children, his grandchildren. I met Frank only one time (in person) around two or three years ago. I drove my wife to one of her visits, when my wife's car was in the shop.
I was going to sit in the car with my laptop for a few hours - but I was invited to come inside - and saying no was not an option. During that one meeting - my only time with Frank - I was mesmerized. The home was beautiful, in an amazing neighborhood. This man was obviously very successful. There were pictures of family, friends, vacations, outings on every wall in the house. Today, I was the one (this time) to sit with Frank for three hours. To talk about, well, life. We talked about business and sports and family and politics and religion and....and......and..... three hours just flew by. Our three hours together felt like thirty minutes, at best.
If I had to describe Frank, he was like the real-life version of George Bailey from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." As I type this, I am feeling pretty confident that you have seen the movie, and that you know the story of George Bailey. It's a safe bet.
In the case of It's a Wonderful Life, that miracle actually came many years AFTER the film's initial debut. When the movie was released it was such a flop that it ended up closing down the studio, and more or less ending Frank Capra's career. If you want to learn more about the amazing back-story of this now famous and classic movie, you can click here.
You may think of It's a Wonderful Life as a Christmas movie, but director Frank Capra never saw it that way. Though Capra suffered greatly for his art, It's a Wonderful Life eventually got the credit it was due, and Capra did too. In 1982 Frank Capra was awarded the American Film Institute's lifetime achievement award.
At the ceremony, Capra said: "Don't follow trends. Start a trend! Don't compromise. Believe in yourself. Because only the daring should make films. And only the morally courageous are worthy of speaking to their fellow man for two hours in the dark."
Now as I sit and reflect, I think about the hundreds of people that I have interviewed over the years. I think about all of the authors that have "given birth to a book" and how so many of them have their own amazing life stories. I think how it truly is a miracle that ANY OF US have seen the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Ah, but we did see it, right? And for someone like me, I probably have now seen that movie at least a dozen times - and I'll be watching it again with the family this Christmas!
It's a Wonderful Life is based on a novel of the same name by Phillip Van Doren Stern, written in 1938. When no publishers responded to the story, Stern instead printed it on Christmas cards, which he then sent to friends and family. One such card wound up in the letterbox of film producer David Hempstead, who showed it to movie star Cary Grant. Enamored with the story, Grant brought it to RKO movies, and it was eventually sold to Liberty Films for $10,000 and starred James Stewart as George Bailey. The same Liberty Films that had to close their doors and shut down, because the movie was such a terrible flop and financial disaster.
Ah yes. Books. Books that become movies. Movies that flop. Movies that flop - are the same failed movies that eventually change the world.
Hint: write that book. If you have a book inside of you, give it life.
My first book comes out in 2023 - TommyCapone.com.