Once, back in Russia, I parked my car overnight near my house instead of parking it in the garage. The next morning, I was preparing to take my little daughter to the swimming pool when my next-door neighbor suddenly grabbed my attention. He was so agitated! He spoke very, very fast, pointing to the back of my vehicle. I couldn't understand what he was saying, so I went to him and to my huge surprise, I realized that the back tires were gone. Neat, accurate rectangular red brick structures were supporting the back end of the car!
My first thought was to thank God that my Mom was not around to tell me that I should've parked in the garage, given the shaky economic conditions of my Soviet country, but my temporary psychological comfort was abruptly interrupted by her voice.
"Ha!" She had decided to visit us that shiny Saturday morning. This was, after all, the Soviet Union. Perhaps God was elsewhere.
My Mom's voice proclaimed, "Janna, this is what happens when the car does not spend the nighttime in the garage," but that was not the end of her thoughts. My Mom, who had endured World War II and knew that one needs to survive in any given circumstance, continued, "Janna, you can't leave the car outside. You have to drive it in the garage... Now!
My helpful neighbor quickly installed the spare tire, but the fourth one… was still a problem...
"How can I do it now, Mom?" I asked, repeatedly counting the tires and realizing each time that there were only three. "How can I drive on three tires?" I asked facetiously.
"Janna! When you want it you do it!" was her reply.
My feelings bounced between anger and the desire to burst out laughing. Time has passed, but I still remember one thing: "Janna! When you want it you do it!"
This conversation took place in the days just before my country began to crumble. Life was lining up a generous supply of adversity and turnabouts. My Mom’s words "Janna! When you want it you do it!" echoed in my memory when I needed support. They helped me to cross the Atlantic with almost no money or help.
At that time, the Soviet government allowed emigrants to exchange only $126.00 from local currency. So I had a choice: I could stay and keep what I had, or go…
Going wasn’t easy. A narrow window of opportunity had opened, but just barely. Bureaucracy tried to freeze the status quo with one hand and extort the last kopek from anyone who dared to leave with the other. Ethnic tensions, held in check for decades by Soviet power, found new voices and raised new threats. Not all neighbors were helping with tires. Some were stealing them. Some were trying to steal the country. Go. Definitely go. Tough choices are easy when you have no option. I took my $126.00, my mother and my daughter and dashed for the border.
Two weeks after arrival to the USA. My Mom, my daughter and me.
The full story is told in my book Love Is Never Past Tense. I never thought about writing a book. I thought about writing a letter to my future grandkids, so they would know their background appreciate what they have and know how they got it. I started that letter, but it never stopped. The story kept running and running out of my quill. Then I realized that I could wrap this story into an inspirational second chance romance, so I did that!
Doubts crept in. Who would read all this material I produced?
A thought about publishing a book knocked on the door… Was this thought knocking on my door? I believed it, and then, (let’ I did not. Who will read it? – was the next thought. Doubt was trying to steal my tires, but in my imagination Mom's voice repeated "Janna! When you want it you do it!"
Another pity party showed up as I flew home after a seminar. On my lap, I had a proof copy of the book. I was scanning the lines, double checking for mistakes and possible flaws. The thought 'who will read it' was following me even in the sky. Doubt was sharing my seat, but opportunity was in the seat next to me.
Opportunity can show up anywhere
The man in that seat wondered what I was reading. I briefly shared the story and he asked to see the manuscript. He started reading as we took off from Philadelphia and didn’t stop until we landed in Chicago.
Alex was a PhD graduate from Yale. As we parted he handed me his business card and asked me to let him know when the book would be published. He said he wanted to buy it. “No, no, no!” I protested! “I’ll send it to you!” I was so happy that someone wanted to read it. I was thinking, 'A man?! Reading a love story?!' was in my head. Then I heard myself saying to him, "Please… No need to buy it! I’ll send it to you!” I heard my voice say.
Months later, I sent him the promised copy. After reading it, he called me and said that he could picture a great movie based on the book. A movie? I hadn't imagined! The story for my future grandchildren was gaining traction.
Alex took on the role of my excited neighbor mounting the spare tire and eight months later, the Jewish Federation of Omaha Nebraska invited me to present Love Is Never Past Tense. They flew me to Omaha, offered me a great hotel and placed an article with my picture and my biography on the front page of their newspaper! They bought, as far as I remember, two hundred books.
Three tires on. "Janna! When you want it you do it!" Life doesn’t stop, it keeps going and going. A new idea evolves in my head and keeps disturbing my world. I imagine a book trailer would be a great reward for all my trouble. I dial the first film maker my internet search provides and run into a guy who won an Emmy. He makes my book trailer and more than that - he becomes a friend.
My book trailer catches the eye of a screenplay writer who decides to read the book. He falls in love with Love Is Never Past Tense and writes a screenplay. The movie Alex imagined has materializing.
We all know that opportunity comes from within. First, you need to decide. Then, everything falls into place. Not immediately, but it does! Did someone say that thoughts are materializing? They do!
Now I am looking for a new adventure. Is it a new adventure or is it a sequel of the same one? Is this the adventure that we call life? Is it really the case that when you want it you do it?
Do it, even when a whole set of tires is not available!
About Janna Yeshanova:
Janna Yeshanova MA, MEd, ACC is the self-published author of a great historical romance which tells a true story. Love Is Never Past Tense is an old-fashioned love story with an original twist of modern history and intrigue woven in.
Love Is Never Past Tense is a true story of the closing days in the Soviet Union as told by an estranged couple whose lives are shaken by the country's collapse. It shows how lives were twisted by world changing events, how political turmoil pushed them onto different continents, and how they managed to reconnect years later. Just as Doctor Zhivago is a Russian Romance set at the opening chapters of the Soviet era, Love Is Never Past Tense uses a second chance romance to show its closing days.
On December 6, 1987, a crowd of 250,000 people demonstrated in front of the White House to demand that Gorbachev (who was visiting at the time) allow Soviet Jews a path to immigration. This protest helped open a window of opportunity.
She and her family became part of that immigration, but the opportunity was short-lived. Invitations and approvals were needed and the door to the United States was closed again for those whose exit visas were stamped after September 30, 1989. My visa, which she still has, is dated September 28.
Janna left the Soviet Union as an adult shortly before it disappeared. Back there, she taught college level Russian Language and Literature and had a wonderful opportunity to direct a play with her students.
Janna is a dynamic and powerful life coach, premier trainer and motivational speaker. Compared to the Energizer Bunny by one of her international clients, she leverages her passion and engaging style to help people overcome adversity and spark the possibilities of their lives.
The rest is on her websites:
loveisneverpasttense.com - to learn more about the book.
life-spark.com - to learn about Janna
The book has been adapted into a wonderful screenplay and she is looking for a production partner to give it life. You can connect with Janna right here on Stage 32!
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