Yes - The Word with
Heather René Dunaway

Written by: Heather René Dunaway
Heather Dunaway dressed as Ace Ventura, Pet Detective for Halloween. She is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, white tank top and black and red striped pants.
Heather Dunaway as Ace Ventura, Pet Detective for Halloween 2019

Have you ever seen the movie “Yes, Man” with Jim Carrey? Well, it was released in 2008, so I don’t feel too bad about any spoilers that might be shared here. You’ve had plenty of time at this point.


Basically, Jim Carrey’s character, Carl, is down for the count. He’s become this super negative guy who avoids his friends and just, really doesn’t see the point in trying. He’s not in a good place, mentally. He eventually winds up at a seminar with a motivational speaker who tells him to seize the opportunity and say “yes!” Eventually, he makes a promise to answer “yes” to anything that presents itself to him. ANY. THING. The movie gets really weird, really fast. But in the end, it all works out for the best. Things seem to turn around for him. Or was it just his outlook on life that changed? Hmm…


I watched this when it first came out. I think Jim Carrey is a great actor. I’m a child of the “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” generation. See photo evidence above circa Halloween 2019. Admittedly, some of those older jokes really didn’t age well, but Jim’s delivery is always spot on. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked.


I decided to rewatch “Yes, Man” when it popped up on Netflix the end of 2017. Literally almost 10 years after it was released. I was in a little rut, artistically and really contemplating my next move. I had just wrapped up my first “Seeds” showing, and I felt like I had hit a wall. When that happens, I sometimes turn to comedy movies to empty out my brain. Well, this comedy did the opposite in this instance.

It gave me an idea. What if I said “yes” to every art opportunity? So, I made it my 2018 New Year’s Resolution. I was going to say “yes.” Open call for art? Yes, I’ll apply. Opening for curator? Yes, here’s my application and proposal. Want to live paint at this event? Yes, I’ll bring my easel. We need some artists at this market. Yes, I don’t know what I’ll sell but I’ll be there.




And when I say it worked…


I feel like it really opened doors for me. I got to meet lots of people, go places, and do interesting things. I mean, what did I have to lose? I just really opened myself up to a lot of new artistic opportunities and work. It was also humbling in a way, because some of the opportunities weren’t, what I had felt at the time, on my level or something I would have gone out of my way to do before. I really just Nike’d art. Just did it. Yah know?


Last year I had gotten invited to a meeting at Westobou with their Executive Director because, according to Kristi, I just always seemed to apply to everything they put out and my name was everywhere. We talked on what I saw myself doing, what I saw for the arts community as an artist. It really got some juices flowing. Pretty soon after, I saw a post for a job opening with the Arts Council and the next thing I knew I was sending in my resume, because “yes” why not? And I got the job (shocker).


And it’s all thanks to “Yes, Man.” Well, not all. I like to think my drive, vision and talents had something to do with it too.


What I’m trying to say is, say “yes” more. Who knows what that little three letter word can do for you.


That’s the word.