When I knew it was time to put out an essay collection, I kept debating on what its title should be. I wanted something that would jump out at the reader, saying "Come on, read me!" I wanted something that would fit who I was, what I write about.
A year ago I was asked to write an essay about the Muppets and how they influenced me (the movie was coming out soon) So I went to youtube and I'm telling you, youtube is a Muppet fan's version of Heaven. There's just so much: the pitch video Jim Henson put together for networks, a Valentine's Day special they did with a pregnant Mia Farrow....
several appearances when they were on Ed Sullivan, and a great one when Rowlf the dog hosted a summertime variety hour and sang "We Live In Two Different Worlds" with Kathy one of the singers from The Doodletown Pipers. Yet it was the tribute to Jim Henson that made me cry. And it gave me a title.
The special was put together six months after he died. Kermit is absent, but he sent a note saying he wanted the other Muppets to put together a tribute to Jim Henson. They're all scratching their heads. Who is Jim Henson? Wait a sec, he was the guy that signed their checks! And he was always you know-down there. Where the other people were. How strange. The hour is spent with the Muppets finding out about him, then finding out that Jim Henson died. If anyone could doubt that puppets couldn't be good actors, I would love for them to see that clip.
Heartbroken, they started to read the condolence letters. Gonzo appars shaken. Miss Piggy sounds like she is about to cry. Even Statler and Waldorf, the old coots in the balcony, are sad. Finally Fozzie says: "Cancel." There was no way they could pay tribute to him, this man who was so amazing. Everyone looks dispirited. Camilla the chicken clucks sadly. Then Robin (Kermit's nephew) comes up to Fozzie and says that Jim is still inside all of them. And that's when Robin said something that perked me up. "Take what you got and fly with it."
I perked up because it was such a beautiful thing to say. Everyone started to sing "Just One Person" one of Henson's favorites. But I sat there thinking that is how I lived my life. I've always took what I had and just flew with it. Sometimes I failed. Sometimes I was told no way you can do that. But I always took what I had to see what happened next. I sat there in front of the computer wiping my eyes. I had my title.
Anyone who knows me knows I love the Muppets. I used to keep the Muppet love on the lowdown because I was worried about what people would think. But Muppets have become the next Betty White. They never really went away, but they're cool again. They're inspiring new people. Bret Mckenzie won the Oscar for writing the song "Man or Muppet" he thanked Jim Henson. Amanda Hocking wanted to see an exhibit on Henson, but lacked the money. She decided to put her ebooks on smashwords, and by October she not only had enough money to see the exhibit she also was one of the best selling authors on Amazon, with a multi-million dollar contract on the way. And I think that's so amazing.
Jim Henson died twenty-two years ago today. In honor of his spirit, I wanted to do a giveaway of Take What You Got And Fly With It. However, you have to work for it. Tell me, either on facebook, twitter, Red Room, goodreads, and shewrites, who your favorite Muppet is. You can leave it as a comment on this blog, or write a blog of your own then send me a link.
Naming your favorite Muppet is pretty selective. I ask people not to badmouth choices. Which means don't badmouth one red-furred guy who tends to talk about himself in the third person. Many people have opinions on this little guy. Some people will debate themselves to death on this little guy. I have some tenderness towards him; one of my niece's first words was "Melmo." All I ask is let people say what they have to say, and be polite.
I'll be picking three winners to get Fly. The only deal is if you won my previous contest for I Woke Up In Love This Morning, then you're out of luck this time. However go ahead and write about Muppets; share in the Muppet love! Just have your entry done by Friday May 17th. Then do something incredibly silly. Do it for Jim.
And after you write about your Muppet love, read my guest blog on David Abrams' blog on the latest Anne Tyler novel!
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries