TAKEAWAY: Life will put obstacles in our way, but we must continue to pursue our dreams and live the creative life we were meant to live.
“Never give up on your dreams.” That is what Barry Manilow told a young Wendy Bradshaw when he pulled her up on stage in front of 12,000 people at Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace and sang a duet with her. Many years later Wendy is continuing to pursue her dreams, and feels that pursuit is keeping her healthy after a tough battle with cancer.
I interviewed Wendy this summer in her beautiful home in Salt Lake City, where I also met her daughter and several grandchildren. (See my video interview with her below.) I was near the end of my 35-state road trip across the United States interviewing artists, and I was pretty tired when I made it to her house (I had awakened that morning in Wyoming). But Wendy is bursting with energy, and being in her presence charged me.
What hasn’t Wendy done? She’s the top-rated jazz vocalist in Salt Lake City. She has composed and recorded world-healing music inspired by a dream visitation from a Nez Perce ancestor. She founded a recording studio. She’s publishing a series of children’s self-esteem books built around a mouse private detective and recording music for them that could be featured in a TV series. (If you watch the video, the mouse costume you see has Wendy’s daughter inside and Wendy’s grandkids embracing the mouse.)
Perhaps its her Native American blood, but Wendy is very connected with forces beyond herself. “It’s like the universe is pulling me along,” she told me. “I get an idea in my head and then all of a sudden, before I know it, there I am in the middle of creating.”
“That’s why I’m going to be well now,” she says, “because I’m really living who I am and being what I am supposed to do and what I’m here on this Earth to do.”
It’s hard to pursue your dreams when there are so many reasons to believe you won’t succeed. As novelist Michael Swanwick told me, you have to set your goals high, so even if you fail you will have achieved something. But Wendy taught me that there is never any excuse good enough not to keep trying.