Saturday evening I ended up staying in. Original plans to visit a friend’s farm were revised, and thankfully the friend and farmer, was graciously understanding. I do my best to be loyal to the commitments I make and while dates may change, my intentions are ultimately to be loyal to the plans made.
So Saturday evening was now to consist of dinner and a movie at home. Ever seen the movie “De-Lovely” starring Kevin Kline as Cole Porter and Ashley Judd as Linda Lee, his devoted and understanding wife? There is a large and fine cast of characters, the Cole Porter extended family I’ll call it. The Porters had a long-term and loyal community, or so the film portrays. We should all be so blessed.
I’ve watched this movie many times: You can do that when you own the DVD. And in past viewings I have always admired the music and the vitality of Cole Porter, Kline’s portrayal of him and the retrospective approach to telling his musical story with the help of an Angel played by Jonathon Wright (whom I also LOVE!). This time though there was something different and special that struck me about the film I had not noted before.
There is a scene rather later in the movie wherein Cole Porter is living apart from Linda Lee who has returned to Paris and is taking time to determine what next for herself. Cole has been composing all night long after attending an opening of a new show, sans his muse. Morning comes and he is called to breakfast by a friend and house guest, but he opts to go for a horseback ride before breakfast. He takes a fall off that horse when the horse rears up over a hornets nest and falls on him, crushing both legs badly. In typical Hollywood style, Linda Lee returns promptly and rallies for Cole’s legs with the doctor and then with Cole over getting back to work. (Cross-checking revealed that Hollywood took some creative license in the Cole Porter timeline…imagine that…) But just take the scene at face value for the sake of the theme of this post. Please. And thanks!
Linda is the epitome of loyalty from the moment she binds herself to Cole in marriage, even knowing his idiosyncrasies. She loves all of him with a constancy and always with elegance and good breeding. She exemplifies tender, firm, loyal and love when it comes time to push him to self-reliance. “I can’t work the pedals,” he cries out in pain as she leaves his music room and encourages him to play the piano after bringing him home from the hospital. Outside the closed door to his study, she sobs as quietly as she can, as he shouts for help because he can’t work the pedals. And it would be years before Cole could work the pedals, but Linda Lee’s gentle insistence and support were always in the wings. And in the film, as in real life, Cole Porter would walk again and play again, though with less agility, but that was the least of Linda’s concerns. She wanted him to keep his spirit and reason for getting up each day, in tact.
There were several striking things that stayed with me this time.
1. Cole Porter wrote music that was forever sharing his inner thoughts and alluded to his personal life. And he wrote them as a man in the business of writing music and lyrics and playing for audiences small and large. What occurred in the songs was a reflection of what was going on his life. He was consistent in this way of being and creating music that remains compelling to me. He was masterful technically and also at sharing his heart’s pains and sorrows, couched in humor and tenderness. WHERE ever did you get the idea that YOU and your stories don’t belong in your writing?
2. Cole Porter had a devoted champion in Linda Lee who sometimes acquiesced to his eccentricities and others times put her foot down (though gently) when something needed changing for the overall betterment of his career. She was at times an anchor and others times a rudder, but always a “muse” that supported him in doing what he did best. She kept him focused and supported. And she had quite the network to expose him to. Do you have people on your team who believe in you and also tell you the truth about your writing and communications? Do they speak up? Do you take to heart what they offer? I’m not talking lip service here!
What struck me this time watching a film I enjoy for the music, the acting and the messages, is how AUTHENTIC Cole Porter was as a lyricist and artist and musician. He shared himself pretty much all the time through his songs.
Could you be like Cole Porter at his best in your writing and/or speaking to create connections that stick for the long term one way or another? Here is hoping that you are up to the task of being real in your self-expression to grow your business and client base WHILE also being a kind human being. That is a win-win!
May your writing and business communications always reflect your story, your heart and with as much transparency as is “just right.”