‘I try on my Twitter page to acknowledge everyone that reaches out to me. I try to make my page – I can’t control the rest of Twitter – but I try to make my page a safe place for people’ – Yvette Nicole Brown
The butterfly effect: the concept that small causes can have large effects, that a butterfly could flap it’s wings and ultimately cause a tornado. Have you ever seen the butterfly effect in action? Ever wondered what would happen if you just took that chance, applied for that job, wrote that letter, or in my case, sent that tweet?
It was early March 2013 and I was getting married in 3 weeks time. We’d already decided that we would have my brother do a reading at the ceremony, he is one of Dave’s bets friends and, well my brother, so had strong links with both of us, and the natural Weatherstone foghorn of a voice so was the obvious choice. It terms of what he was actually what we wanted him to read, Dave was happy to let me choose something, and I knew exactly what I wanted.
Being a lifelong fan of the MTV Show The Real World, a poem that was written back in 1994 by San Francisco cast mate (and now badass superstar cartoonist) Judd Winick about making new friends, and sharing experiences together had always struck a chord with me. It was cute and funny yet the sentiment was so endearing and, well for want of sounding like a cliché ‘real’. Although it will have been heard by millions of people through the TV show, choosing it felt personal to me.
I tweaked it slightly so that it was a little more appropriate for a wedding, rather than 7 twenty somethings living in a swanky house on Lombard Street, mainly omitting the word ‘snot’ (not sure 99 year old Gran would approve of that!). Coincidentally, after picking the reading and making my amendments I noticed that Judd had recently joined Twitter (blue tick and everything!)
So being the typical Brit, I thought it probably best to reach out to him and ask his permission to use his work. That’s just basic manners. The last thing I wanted was MTV barging through the doors of the ceremony room with a cease and desist letter and carting me off to reality TV jail on my big day.
To my surprise Judd responded almost instantly giving me his email address and asking to see a copy of the updated version of the poem. I nervously sent it over, worried that he’d think I’d ruined his work, although half hoping he’d re word it for me to make it even better. After all, every poem needs checking before sending it off to one of the many poetry publishing houses! He loved it though and wholeheartedly gave his permission for us to use it.
It doesn’t end there though. What he did next, as way of a wedding present, was send me an illustrated version of the original poem which he created as a gift to the other housemates on the show. So now that’s 7 people who have a copy and me. We were so touched we printed it off and framed it and it now hangs proudly in our kitchen.
I emailed Judd again to let him know about this post I was writing. He again responded straight away and said this:
Of course I remember you! I do get a lot of mail, but yours was special. And I really mean that. It’s been 22 years since Pam and I appeared on the real world and we are always stunned how much it still affects people. We think it mostly has to do with the impact that Pedro Zamora had on their lives, and the world in general. There’s nothing more stunning than meeting someone who wasn’t even born yet when the show was on, and wants to tell us how much the show meant to them. They managed to catch it online somehow, or caught a rerun– and will truly say something along the lines of ‘it completely changed my life.’
There’s often lots of negativity on twitter, or people thinking that hiding behind their computer screens gives them carte blanche to say whatever they want, particularly to famous people. But for me this is a perfect example of how you can make amazing things happen if you’re brave (or cheeky) enough to just ask the question.
Here’s the version of the poem that was read out at our wedding: