We Shot the Messenger and Seat 11E

 

The whole thing started with a red-haired guy being in 11- E – which was my seat – on a flight to Vancouver. This dude had a friendly face and told me to take the seat beside him, because someone was in his and the attendants would work it all out. Ergg, I was already frustrated because I had just left the book I was immersed in, about staying in your creative zone (news flash: turn off your cell), at an airport coffee shop.  As the plane lifted into the early winter sky I heard the guy tell the woman to his left that he had a company called Creativision.  What? Creative what? My ‘a synchronistic thing is about to happen instinct’ was tingling.  His name was Shawn MacDonell and he gave me details about his company @_creativision sparking my curiosity. Shawn has the gift for releasing your story from you in a simple manner and soon it was me telling this stranger in 11 E enough about my family of six for him to catch-up to me in the luggage area and say, you and your kids should have a web site. People like stories like yours.

We all thought it was a fun concept but who would have thought that wrestling everyone into agreeing to a name would be such a huge biggest hurdle. That alone made us realize that  www.weshotthemessenger.com would require a whole lot of familia give and take, and devine amounts of patience.

Life is funny, right? The people that we seem destined to meet come to us in novel ways.  I must have told Shawn in 11-E about Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest – my book about that stage of life when you switch from taking care of a kids-me-on-boatbunch of rambunctious, hungry, lovelorn teenagers in your home – to instead longing for their attention, or guiding their insane mishaps as they stretch out into the world alone.  But over that pack of teeny pretzels and a peppermint tea I yakked more about how those four kids were now all in some way or the other involved in the arts, which led him to suggest the web site for our “genetically intertwined media group”.

Rose, my youngest daughter, had a childhood dream to be a singer, her brother, Levi, aspired to be the person at the drive-through window who gets all your money, her brother, Kyle, imagined being a stuntman as a kid, and my eldest daughter, Shea, was an artist from the moment she picked up her first purple crayon. 4-kids-rose-baby Click, click, click into the present and the would-be singer is a photographer; the McDonald’s window guy performs stand-up comedy and writes for film, the stuntman became the guy filming the stunts, and is now a filmmaker, and the eldest, well, she never really changed. They all thought the web site was a compelling idea, (er – I think they did – nothings easy-peasy with five bosses) but in the mean time we hired Shawn and Creativision to push us to define our goals and to create fun promotional tools on earlier projects.zoecolehudsonlily icons

Fast forward three years and finally the web site exists. My kids are an independent lot and work solo or with artists in their chosen fields, but remarkably they do come together – even across long distances to share ideas, applaud new creations, boost each other’s brave artistic egos and have been able to collaborate occasionally – the best of these was a daring comedic film, Disabled and Dangerous, written by both Levi and our funny friend, Barry Varga, to raise funds for ALS, which Barry has since fallen victim to. Kyle and his company filmed the short comic movie, Shea did storyboards and Rose, Levi, and I mobilized a community of stunning volunteers. Their dad acted in it (quite valiantly) and was an executive producer.D and D leaving bank with cops

The kids (aside for supplying me with two-hundred pages of ‘Oh my God, she’s/he’s where? Doing what?’ in Text Me, Love Mom, also made hilarious promo videos for the book. Shea painted the wistful cover and Rose flattered me with her photograph for the back. Rose takes photos for all of us when asked, Levi writes scripts for Kyle, Shea storyboards for the guys, we must all be part of Levi’s stand-up muse.  Babysitting Shea’s little girls so that she can make art, also results in a lot of art, though the little girls and I do not have dramatically different levels of raw talent. It all goes round and round in a whirl of cooperative artistic nepotism. Shea says, that even when we’re busy on our own projects, We Shot the Messenger’s purpose is so that they can cross-pollinate.  Need a photographer?  Check out my sister. Want to see Vancouver’s funniest comic – you gotta see my brother?  Looking for a film maker? Turns out I have this other brother. Need a mural? A painting? Or the most unique grownup colouring book? I have an older sister. And our mom – she wrote a book about the bunch of us.  4-kids-on-driveway-best You have to see the ABOUT page and the BIOS.  We’ve each independently worked out how to assemble a website over the years, but this one was put together by Shea because she’s the easiest of my children to bribe into doing things. I just dangle a night without her darling daughters under her nose, and bam, look who shows up in my kitchen ready to work.easter 2012-ish-22

It took forever and a day to come up with the name –  www.weshotthemessenger.com  Click on CONVERSATIONS in the menu to read that wild funny ride.  It will give you a feel for the stubborn, comedic, annoying, love we bounce around. The site will grow, it’ll change, we’ll argue some more, I’ll post dumb mom things and risk being booted out. Like us on the www.facebook.com/weshotthemessengermediagroup/   and follow us on Instagram @weshotthemessenger and twitter @weshotmessenger. It’s been a delicate operation, encouraging my kids to create all this, because actively endorsing something taints it with uncoolness. But they’re not afraid to shoot the messenger. As long as I’ll let them mock me every step of the way, they’ll take an idea, and run with it.

*a gazillion thanks to the guy I married, who stands behind us all.

Mother of the Bride – a Fun Ride

Cover of "Wedding Flowers"

Cover of Wedding Flowers

Wow – five days until my daughter’s wedding!!  For the last three  days I’ve admitted to some people that I’ve been “oddly emotional” and they all reply – “What?  Of course you’re emotional – what’s odd about that?”  But I think I was surprised by my own tears in the pompom warehouse (no kidding – millions of pompoms under one roof) and even, can you believe it – over the phone to the indifferent desk clerk at the honeymoon spot (making sure that they acknowledge the honeymoon couple in some nice way – and they do  – with chocolates and wine) because except for a very few, very mild panic attacks (breath deep, in through the nose, out through the mouth)  I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of helping my daughter plan her hopefully lovely, ‘ smallish’ wedding.

My husband and I like to entertain – small scale in our home or cottage, with flowers from the garden, homemade food (okay – yeah, I cheat a bit on that) drinks, and the right music on the iPod.  My daughter’s guy has a similar background, and she and the wonderful young man she’s marrying  have the home in their community that friends spontaneously  gather at and so they regularly put on impromptu dinner parties as well.  So come on, tell me – how could we not have crazy fun planning a party where we don’t have to cook or clean up – but get to set the stage, make it dazzling (we hope) choose the menu and dance lots?  She’s an artist so indulged her passion for drawing by designing invites and seating charts (her small obsession), and programs and thank-you cards and EVEN those signs at the side of the road that say “Wedding this way” – paying no attention to my, “But honey, those don’t have to be art – they might get rained on and people are just speeding by.”

What were my obsessions? I admit I did tromp all over two cities looking for the right lacy socks for the flower girls -all women of a certain age will know the ones I refer to, I’m going to start importing them.) But I also was stuck on retro qualities from cousin’s weddings back in the day – the ones  where we ate homemade Ukrainian food and polka-ed and did the stupid chicken dance.  This wedding is on the coast on an island that takes two ferries to get to (just ten minutes each, honest).  There won’t be perogies, and maybe not the chicken dance, but there will be bright pompoms on the cars and match books with the couple’s names on them (if they arrive in the mail this week) and flower petals sprinkled down the aisle by tiny girls – the bride and groom’s niece, as well as their own fourteen- month-old toddler who may or may not help her cousin with those petals (okay – not).  There will be flowers grown on the island by a local young woman – dahlia’s and whatever else grew this summer, and groomsmen who have never been groomsmen before and bridesmaid’s in the same category, accept for the one whose done it five times this summer (bless her). There will be lots of young people who have never even been invited to a wedding or maybe one way back, but not a close friend’s.  Both families will walk down the grassy aisle and my sister will perform the ceremony.  There will be a cousin playing Davie Bowie songs on his guitar as the bride walks towards the groom with her dad, and I guess, this is the part that is making me cry, because I’m crying now, is that it’s been a hec of a fun ride, helping to put this together – fun, of the sorts that makes me happy.  That’s what we’re supposed to pursue right?  So now, after so much anticipation I’m tearing up.  Our two families have worked together so that the guests  that we love (even those slow to RSVP) could be well taken care of on the day that we join each other by the seaside, while our dear daughter and the good man that she is marrying stand together, with their little baby girl nearby and promise to keep loving each other for a very long time.

And the best advice that I can give the new couple is to cherish the day, to let others entertain you on Sept. 24th but most importantly –to  have fun on your day.   Just remember, we’ve got your back.