Does anyone remember the TV show The Swan?

Was I the only person in America to watch that cheesy reality show The Swan?

I might have been.  It was cancelled pretty quickly.  But the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling was one of my favorites growing up, so of course I would be tuning in.  Much to my dismay it was cancelled after the second season.  So, if you weren’t in that original audience, here, check it out.  But read the rest of the post first!  Oh, okay, you can go now, but come back.

See I didn’t lie—cheesy, right?  Anyway…the gist of this show, was that Ugly Duckling women were given a panel of specialists—a cosmetic surgeon, a dentist, a personal trainer, a therapist—and in only three months they would be transformed into…wait for it.

Swans.

There was a competitive piece to the whole show too, because the best transformation got to be THE SWAN, while the other imitation Swans were kicked off and sent home with only their veneers and lipo-suctioned thighs to keep them warm at night.

That probably sounds a little snarky.  And I suppose it is.  But the snark is not directed at the contestants; it’s more about the whole idea of a show like this.

Did I mention that I never missed an episode?  Can you say hypocrite?

Anyway…the reason I decide to resurrect the show for this post is that there is an analogy to my writing.  Or maybe it’s a metaphor?  Whatever.   I think the transformation is like the revision process, especially for our earliest work.  If you watched the video did you hear when someone said:

This process is not easy, as we know.  It’s painful, it’s hard work. 

I couldn’t agree more!

Revision.  Rejection.  Friends, like the personal trainer in the show, urging me to trim some fat and transform.

Here’s another line from the clip:

You have to wear your scars like jewels.

I love, love, LOVE this!  Why hide what you went through?  I don’t mean whine, “Oh, poor me!”  But there is no shame in transformation.  So your writing didn’t start as a swan.  So what.  Does anyone’s really?  Is there even a swan when it comes to writing?

Maybe.

The most swan-like writing I’ve read in recent years was W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe.  But I’ve read a lot of ostrich, grackle, ibis, heron, bald eagle, swallow, chickadee, even dodo bird writing and I must be a bird watcher because I can appreciate it all.

So, while swans may be rare.  And graceful.  And beautiful.  They aren’t the sole bird in our great, big world.  Nor should they be.

In the show’s final episode each season, they had what was called The Big Reveal.  The contestant stood in front of a curtain and the judges asked “Are you ready, Betty Lou?” (Or whatever her real name was) and then the curtains swept open to reveal the Swan who had emerged from the Ugly Duckling.

So, I wanted to let you know, next week’s post is The Big Reveal.

I know, that’s a cheapo way of building tension to bring you back to my blog. But frankly, this post has gone on long enough and I promised myself when I started this blog-thing I’d keep it fairly short and mostly sweet.  So, until then…

October 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized.

4 Comments

  1. Kerry O'Malley Cerra replied:

    Nope, never watched the show. But I love, love, love the comparison of writing to the ugly duckling transformation. I hope in the end, my book’s not one to get booted off.

    I’ll def be back next week for the big reveal. Can you give a hint? I’m so not patient.

  2. Jill replied:

    Great post, Shel. I hadn’t heard of that show but I’m going to look it up right now…you definitely have me curious!🙂

  3. Tawnya replied:

    Not sure if you are still posting on this blog…. But, I was one of the original Swans! Yep, so just ask… I can tell you all the dirt, behind the scenes … Nely Galan stories! Or you can just read my book The Swan Diaries xoxo Tawnya Cooke (yes I lost to Cindy) but it was a hell of a ride…

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