849. Sometimes You Just Have to Throw Your Hat Over the Fence
“Most people don’t know what they’re good at, don’t have a natural talent. Like me. So sometimes you have to find one or kind of create one for yourself. You have got to put food on the table and send your kid to school. So, there are those reasons. I think if we are good girls or boys, we try to fulfill the expectations that are inevitably held for us. If we’re bad girls and bad boys, we’re fighting against those expectations. But in either case, we’re still being driven by other people’s expectations. I think it just takes some time and maturity and mistakes and unhappiness to start to find what is it that makes you excited in the morning, that makes you want to be doing whatever it is that you want to do.”
Allegra Huston is the author of “Love Child: A Memoir of Family Lost and Found” (audiobook 2019), the novel “A Stolen Summer” (paperback 2019), and many screenplays including the award-winning short film “Good Luck, Mr. Gorski,” which she also produced. In 2019 she co-founded Twice 5 Miles, to publish how-to books on “the stuff nobody teaches you.” The first two titles are “How to Read for an Audience” by Allegra and “How to Edit and Be Edited” by Allegra and James Nave – both are the only books available on these subjects.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“My brother, Jason, from my biological father’s side, was quite unhappy with the work he was doing for an architectural engineering firm. I was in the publishing field as an editor and while I was very good at it, I felt like I should be doing my own work. We went out to dinner together and made a pact that instead of continually complaining about our circumstances we would go into work the next day and hand in our notices by noon. This was 5 weeks before my 30th birthday and Jason was almost 35. We each did just that with no plan whatsoever about what we were going to do next. Our main goal was to simply quit whining about our lives and do something about it. We each began to freelance—Jason become a successful freelance architect and designer and I landed a job working for a film distribution and production company. And our stories evolved quickly from there!”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
1. What I fervently believe and what I stand for is that you can make a family of whoever you have in your life, regardless of the chain of DNA. That’s exactly what I did and that is what my memoir is about.
2. My favorite thing to do as a child was to read. I went to Oxford University and read English because it came easily to me. A friend introduced me to a job at his publishing company because of my skills, which was my start at becoming an editor. You never know where or when the next opportunity comes from, so always be open to the possibilities.
3. In my experience, most people don’t know what they are good at—what they are naturally good at. It often takes time, maturity, mistakes and even unhappiness to lead you to what you really want to do. Interestingly that may not be where your greatest talents are, but it may be what fulfills you on a deeper level.
4. At major turning points in our lives, the circumstances are rarely perfect for us to make the next move or decision about what to do next. The obstacles may be vast, but it’s at this point that you “throw your hat over the fence,” or in other words, “just go for it!”
On Her Bookshelf
Love Child: A Memoir Of Family Lost And Found, by Allegra Huston
A Stolen Summer, by Allegra Huston
How to Edit and Be Edited: A Guide for Writers and Editors (The Stuff Nobody Teaches You, Book 1) by Allegra Huston
How to Read for an Audience: A Writer’s Guide (Twice 5 Miles Guides), by James Nave’ and Allegra Huston
Connecting With Allegra Huston
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