Creating the character of Nellie Olesen on the show "Little House on the Prairie" was an early part of her life, and since then has been prolific in her journey in helping people with AIDS. Now she's written a terrific book about her life's journey called "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch." (What a great title for a book!)
We met in a comedy class in the 1980's, the Harvey Lembeck Comedy workshop. Many laughs, many brilliant comedians, we all came together for a brief moment for a short film I made called "Video Valentino" which became my first feature "You Can't Hurry Love."
But our conversation was about "Flipside" and the people that you meet along the path of your life that feel like you've known them forever - and according to the thousands of accounts referenced in the book, maybe you have met them.
But beyond that we were discussing the power of creativity - and how her signing up for a lifetime where she was able to create a character that influenced people around the planet in the nasty Nellie, as well as working and helping in an AIDS hotline - that the same healing energy goes into creative endeavors that goes into healing endeavors. (according to the accounts). That the journey she's been on, the difficulties in her own path, have all made her into the person that she is today.
She told me about a woman who grew up in Japan, watching "Little House on the Prairie" and longing for the great open spaces that the show represented - the America "with a horizon" because she had little or no horizon in the small house she lived in, and it was crowded with other homes, and she longed to have someplace on a prairie where she could "see the horizon."
So when her life gave her the opportunity to find work in the US, she asked for Nebraska and got it. Because she really wanted to see what that world was like. (Never mind that the show itself was actually shot in Simi Valley near Los Angeles - it was the idea of Nebraska that was the inspiration.) And how this woman, upon meeting Alison, wept openly, thanking her for helping her to follow her dream.
Or the person who wrote to her from another country, thanking her for writing her book - and how he had been suicidal - literally had purchased the items to do himself in - and how he decided for "some reason" to read her book that night, and it made him laugh, and in the morning, decided against doing himself in. Alison said she looked this fellow up online and it turns out he's quite famous where he lives - and remarked how unusual it was to hear from a number of people that reading her book had kept them from suicide.
It's a small world we live in. It's a pale blue dot traveling through the Universe. And the ability to heal people, to move people, to save people is at our fingertips. It matters that you reach out to the person who pops into your heard, it matters that you force yourself to smile when you can't find the desire to - it matters to be kind, be compassionate, and reach out to those who might need only to hear "I cannot count the number of people who told me "Little House on the Prairie" saved their lives or the number of ways people have incorporated it into their lives."
You just never know who it is you might help via your work... and the struggles she went through allowed her to be compassionate to others.
FLIPSIDE - NOW ON SALE FOR 97 CENTS!!! (I guess Amazon is throwing in "my two cents" into the mix)