Friday, 6 February 2015

Opportunity Knocks by Debbie Bennett

I remember the original Opportunity Knocks from my childhood. I don't recall the late 1980s revival, but then I didn't have a television for a while back then.

But it does knock, doesn't it? Opportunity. And often when you least expect it. Take the other day for example and we're out at an RSPCA centre, looking at cats. With Andy being allergic to a lot of furry animals, it's becoming a mission to find a cat he can tolerate - different cats produce stronger/weaker reactions. And bizarrely it's a long-haired cat that he seems most comfortable with ...

So we head off for a pub lunch, (paid for by the discount we negotiated in Maplin earlier while buying a joint business asset of a projector - it always pays to haggle). We decide to go to a pub in Whitchurch where Andy renovated and replaced all the lead-light windows last summer. We've not been since it re-opened for business and it's already gaining a good reputation for food. There's a piano in this pub, and it was fairly quiet at about 3pm, so Clare gives a impromptu rendition of Frozen (with no music) and gets a round of applause at the end. Buoyed by audience-appreciation, she segues easily into a medley of other stuff, both classical and popular.


And the pub manager is at the bar and wanders over to ask how old she is. We tell him she's 18 (and she can sing too) and he asks whether she'd be interested in a couple of hour slots once a week playing piano for diners. So Clare comes back and they chat and she's probably doing a trial in a few weeks with a view to becoming a permanent fixture one evening a week.

So it's not just about being in the right place at the right time; it's about making the most of every opportunity that comes your way. For me as a writer, that means always carrying book postcards with me in case anyone asks (never pushy, just available). It means pitching for a slot at the local literary festival, with no real idea of what I'll do if I get one, but I'm sure I'll think of something. I'm speaking at our Women's Networking Day at work, theme: stepping outside of your comfort zone - because all writers do that, don't they, every time they put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? I volunteer to blog anywhere and everywhere somebody will have me - because you never know who might be reading. All it takes are six degrees of separation and those opportunities just might lead on to something bigger and better.

Life is what we make it. 


5 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

Absolutely right, Debbie. All the major events and changes in my own life have been the results of accidents, serendipity. Luck is out there but it won't find you if you just sit on your bum waiting for it.

Jan Needle said...

i'll second that, bill. although i did go into a pub once with my tin whistle (and not quite sober) and started to play. far from offering me a slot, they offered to call the police and have me removed. no taste, some people. good advice though, debbie

Kathleen Jones said...

Good luck to Claire - what a lovely thing to happen! You're right Debbie it's all about seeing the opportunities when they pop up and grabbing them.

Lynne Garner said...

As with Bill many of the biggest changes in my life have not happened because I planned them, they came along when I least expected it. If I hadn't been made redundant, not able to find a job which 'pushed' me into deciding to go to university late in life I'd never have become a writer.

Lydia Bennet said...

Very true Debbie! good to hear about your daughter's opportunity.