You might ask what a post about Melissa Peterman has to do with an inspirational blog. Allow me to explain that to you –
First, a little background is necessary. This blog exists for a couple reasons, and they are mostly self-serving. I like to post my flash fiction. These are stories written for a weekly competition that must be completed in 750 words or less. Just to make one point, flash fiction is truly defined as less than 1,000 words; it’s just this particular competition requires 750 words or less. Once I found out that I could actually write fiction, I wanted a place to post it besides facebook. I also have written a non fiction manuscript that I would love to see published via traditional means – a royalty-paying publisher.
In order for me to publish my book, I need what is called a “platform.” This is a ready-made audience that is interested in reading what I write. An easy task if you are a professional speaker, pastor, doctor or a well-known personality. I am none of these. I have a small circle of friends – and can’t even get all of them to read what I write each week.
In order to work some magic on the internet to create interest, I started compiling this blog. I also have a writer’s website, I write for several different ezine platforms as well as web content. I do have some SEO training and use that to push traffic to my blog. But even though traffic has increased, I need people to pull the trigger and become followers.
One of my outreach exercises to gain “followers” on my blog is an active account on twitter.com. I post snippets of less than 140 characters in the hopes that someone will click on my profile, then my blog and find my stuff so intriguing that they will join my blog and can’t wait to see what is coming next.
Once I joined twitter, I looked for people that I wanted to follow – literary agents, publishers and writers were right at the top of the list. Then I found Reba McEntire – one my my all-time favorite artists. It only took a little bit of snooping around to find Melissa Peterman (twitter.com/followtheblonde) – If you don’t follow her on twitter – do it – you won’t be disappointed!!
Now I love the show Reba, we have the DVDs of all the seasons at home.
But, at the risk of offending anyone…let me tell you, without the character played by Melissa Peterman on that show – it would have had a lifespan of one season. Of course, that’s only my opinion, but since it’s my blog – too bad if you disagree.
When I started reading the tweets that Melissa posted, I found myself laughing out loud. From the antics of Riley, the beating of Elmo and the renovation of her bathroom, she kept me hooked waiting for what was coming next. When CMT aired her “Am I the Only One?” special – it landed in the queue of my DVR and remains there today. From “The Singing Bee” and the “Crib” show of her home, I felt as if I got to know her.
I know she’s busy, but the first time she @replied to one of my tweets I was so jazzed I could hardly stand it. Everyone in my circle of friends heard about it. I think it was even more exciting than the times that literary agents reply to me.
Her recent appearance at a casino in Milwaukee was what has brought about this blog post. She made reference to “Grain Belt Premium” beer when on stage at the Reba/Kelly tour in Minneapolis last year. That’s the first time I saw Melissa on stage. What a funny lady. I walked away thinking that she is under-appreciated as a comedian.
Well, we are now living in Melissa’s hometown of Burnsville, MN – we figured a road trip to Milwaukee was a do-able weekend mini-vacation. So, I tweeted to Melissa that I would bring her a Grain Belt Premium to the show – her response? “I want 3!”
Driving over with the beers in the cooler, then packing them in a towel with ice packs inside my wife’s purse, we anxiously awaited the opening of the doors to the theater at the casino in Milwaukee. We were afraid that since the casino served liquor, they wouldn’t be too pleased with our BYOB… so we kept them hidden.
Melissa is amazing on stage, interacting with the audience members, bringing several on stage with her – one to help the fan get a date, one fan to sing backup to her ‘karoake’ stint. It is obvious watching Melissa that she loves what she does and she really enjoys her fans.
She is quick to bring up the fact that she spent six years on the Reba show – and is not shy to admit that she know she gets ‘overflow’ love from Reba fans. Let me say this, though – the overflow fans were not the ones at the Milwaukee venue. Overflow fans don’t know Riley’s name, or about the ‘poop the bed’ story so that they can throw candy bars on the stage as impromptu props. (If you haven’t heard the story, you’ve missed a good one.) These are your fans, Melissa – no overflow love here at all!
When Melissa was wrapping up her show, gathering things from the stage, I stepped up, called her name and gave her the three Grain Belt Premium beers. She smiled and said “Wow! Thanks.”
We waited at the “Authorized Personnel Only” door to see if she would come out to sign autographs – She did.
When she walked out, I was there, she sought me out from the crowd and reached for me. I said, “Did you think I’d forget your beers?” She said, “Thank you Michael, I already cracked one open,” laughing, and gave me a hug. I turned and introduced her to my wife. Now, my wife is not a touchy-feely-huggy person. Melissa reached out to shake my wife’s hand – but until Melanie leaned forward for a hug, Melissa did not make that move. This shows how intuitive and sensitive that Melissa is to her fans. An astute observation. Melissa did not assume that everyone would want a hug, she waited for my wife’s cue – what a classy, classy lady.
She posed for a picture with us and signed a photograph that said “Thanks 4 my beers!”
Sincere, reachable, sensitive, caring – how much more inspirational can a person be than that?
And she knew my name without my prompting her. Just how special is that? I can’t even put that into words. I look forward to watching her career and her fan base grow – believe me, it will.
Class always wins!
Melissa, to heck with the ‘overflow’ you have plenty of your own love coming your way.
Oh, and Melissa – if you want to follow my blog – I need 1,000 to get an agent to take me seriously – Feel free to join!!
Michael and Melanie