I love stories of grit. Nobody would play Bob Marley's music when he started. It wasn't traditional enough. No worries. He brought a Mr Whippy van, and drove around the suburbs of Jamaica, playing his tunes on its tinny speaker. When kids ran up to buy an ice-cream, he'd sell them a record.
Rex Hunt, the ex-AFL player, used to stand in the outer commentating games to himself. Everyone thought he was mad. Once he was good enough, though, he recorded it. And made a career as a media personality.
Silvester Stalone, far from my favourite movie identity, an unemployed, struggling film extra, was offered $1,000,000 for his Rocky script. He declined, and asked for a share in the profits instead.
I once met a woman in fashion, an expensive industry, who started with nothing. She tabletop danced for years to raise money. Wore the lowest of our society to make things of beauty. She now has an international label.
Leo Burnett is a multi-national advertising company, miles from me and my world. Go into any of their foyers, anywhere in the world, and you'll find a bowl of apples, the company logo, on the reception desk. I'm told the company's founder started the business at the hight of the Great Depression. People told him "Apple logo? You'll be selling them on a corner for a living within a month." He replied: "No, I'll be giving them away." The man's long gone now, but I ate one of those apples once. It tasted sweet.
Nicky Winmar was a Champion indigenous AFL player, who grew up several hundred kms south of Perth. While all the other kids were out kicking the footy or fishing, he would be flooding his clay back yard until it was a slippery mud heap so he could practice his wet weather skills and make it in the big league one day.
Raymond Carver, the famous American writer, had five kids, so did all his writing between 11pm and 5am. Who knows what he did for sleep?
Cypher was a great little Si-Fi film. The man who wrote, starred, scored, edited and directed it did so on a budget of $7,000. Not wanting it to look cheap (it doesn't), he then spent over two years in post production, patiently making it perfect. I own a copy, and sometimes watch it just for that.
I used to work all day in the factory, go home to write, pick up my girlfriend from her waitressing job around 10-11 pm, spend time with her, then, when she was asleep, slide back out of bed and write more, usually until about 3-5am. Then off to the factory again. This doesn't make me special. There are thousands of us, hundreds of thousands of us, the world over. But when I do stuff like that, it's not a choice. It's done without thought. Something I am. And, when I'm working and I can hear the silence, my world not spinning, the lack of noise pubs and sport and bush work provide, it's good to remind myself of these stories. To turn it all into a victory.
This is the the success. The trying. The doing these things that we are.