The Star Polisher

by Carol Hess on April 11, 2011

(dedicated to my friend, Emilio Rojas)

About twenty years ago, I met a very interesting, rather mysterious, and definitely quite attractive Mexican writer named Emilio Rojas.  The publishing house where I was working had bought the English language rights to Emilio’s bestselling El Pequeño Hombre, and Emilio had come to our offices in Massachusetts to work on the translation of his book. 

Strange things started happening the minute Emilio walked in the door of the funky old house in which our offices were located.  That’s when the publishing house and the lives of the people who worked there were turned upside down and spun around, mine included. 

That’s also when I was introduced to the Star Polisher, a character in Emilio’s book.  Emilio even hinted I was a star polisher, but I didn’t understand what he meant, and I didn’t pay much attention.  I was too busy working on the book and trying to stay grounded in the middle of the tornado whirling through our offices. 

I eventually left the publishing house, but Emilio and I remained friends.  I visited him a couple of times in Mexico, and he came to visit me after I moved to Maine.  On each occasion, strange things happened, my life went careening off in an unusual direction, and I began to think I was in the presence of a sorcerer.  I’m not sure I wasn’t. 

All these years later, I finally understand why Emilio called me a star polisher.  And I understand why he dedicated a story to me that talked about the star polisher being someone who illuminates our dreams.  He was trying to tell me my life purpose, but I wasn’t ready to hear it. 

Back then I didn’t want to polish anyone else’s star.  I wanted to polish my own.  I didn’t want to illuminate anyone else’s dreams.  I wanted to illuminate my own. 

There were just a couple of problems with my plan.  I didn’t know what my star was, much less how to polish it.  And I didn’t have a clue what my dreams were or how to illuminate them. 

There was another thing I didn’t know back then, but I’m fairly sure Emilio did.  It’s something I’ve only recently discovered.  If you are a star polisher, then the way you polish your own star and illuminate your own dreams is to polish other people’s stars and illuminate other people’s dreams. 

Emilio said it best in the very last story of his book entitled Little Friend in English (p. 124).

Concerning the Star Polisher’s Profession

Once while traveling, I came across three star polishers.  I asked each one of them in turn why he had chosen that profession.

The first replied he had done so because it gave him the opportunity to see his own reflection every day.  The second said he had chosen it because his ancestors had always polished stars.

The third said: “I am a polisher of stars because I’ve noticed that often they are guiding lights for someone who has lost his way.  But I really do it because I want to become a master star polisher.  Then I will be prepared for the day when I meet my own star.”

I suspect you might be a star polisher, Dear Reader.  Maybe you’re even a master star polisher.  Tell us if you’ve met your own star and what it looks like.

by Carol Hess


Categories Personal Empowerment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Monica Dennis April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Had to think about this one. If I understand correctly what a star polisher is, I would say it is someone who is not just an inspiration for me but whose inspiration somehow moves me to action I probably wouldn’t have taken on my own.

The people who immediately came to mind were Sandy Martini of, whose quiet encouragement makes everything seem totally easy to do, and Angela Jia Kia, the founder of my networking group Savor the Success who, despite doing huge things, shows us all the little hurdles she too has to jump and reminds us that no matter where you are in your business, everyone has to deal with the same junk.

But then I thought some more. Who has been polishing my star all along? Then I remembered my two most important folk who don’t polish like they used to but they did enough to last me a lifetime. You’d think it would be my parents but isn’t it funny how kids don’t always allow their parents to have this role no matter how much they covet it? My two polishers are my paternal grandmother who, by simply listening to what I said and taking it seriously for as long as she was alive, made me feel like I wasn’t crazy for being the way I am. “You got it natural,” is what she would usually say. There was usually some likeminded relative she sould point to as well. The other is one of my aunts who would say things and send letters out of the blue telling me how amazing I am long before I realized there was anything to be amazed by. Their inspiration wasn’t the stir to action kind like Sandy and Angela. It was more the kind that showed me greatness in myself before I believed what I was seeing and made me unapologetic for doing things the way I do.

And having had all that has made it easier for me to be a star polisher too, though I call it using my God-given talent of encouragement. He has made it possible for me to say things to people that make them realize they are great and they can do anything they really set their hearts to do. I guess you can say my grandmother and my aunt filled me up with this gift so that when I got older and more aware of myself, I’d be able to do the same thing for others. It’s quite fun to polish other people’s stars. I love seeing them shine! 😉


avatar Carol Hess April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm

What a wonderful, thoughtful comment, Monica. First of all, I think a star polisher is anything and anyone you want it to be. And I would agree with you about Sandy Martini — she’s definitely a star polisher. It certainly sounds like Angela is too. I like her transparency.

It seems you are descended from a line of star polishers and are carrying on the family tradition. “You got it natural.” :) I too had an aunt who was a star polisher — a couple of them in fact. I consider myself very fortunate. So many people don’t have anyone in their family who can reflect their light back to them.

But then that’s why you and I are here, hanging out at a website called Star Polisher. They can come to us and we’ll darned well show them the star stuff they’re made of, right Monica?!


avatar Monica Dennis April 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm

lol! You are quite correct! :-)

“…descended from a line of star polishers…” How regal is that? Love it!


avatar Carol Hess April 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I think we should design a star polisher crown — or at least a tiara!


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