Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shut Up, Frank!

We all have that inner voice inside of us. You know the one. It says you're ugly. You're stupid. Why do you even bother? This is never going to work. This is a dumb idea. You should just quit now.


Last summer, literary agent John Cusick gave a speech and he talked about that inner voice of doubt. He suggested giving that voice a name so that you can tell it to shut up. His inner voice's name was Debra. I decided to name my voice Frank.

Frank has been talking his head off lately. He's a manipulative son-of-a-gun, too.

See, the thing is, I live in Utah, where we seemingly have a large number of published and successful authors. They're a very welcoming and generous community, willing to teach and guide and mentor the rest of us along our path. I go to workshops and conferences, and there they are: James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Ally Condie, and a host of others. They're full of energy and happiness and I always come away having learned something or feeling good about the track I'm on.

Then Frank shows up. And he says, You can't even get a book published, let alone made into a major motion picture. Shannon Hale has an MFA. You'll never be as good as her. You're wasting your time.

So I take a week and wallow in self pity and eat my way through a bag or two of candy corn. Then I meet up with another great author like Ken Baker who says to me, "Yeah, it's a tough business. You have to love writing. But you can do it. Don't give up."

So you know what? Frank can just shut the **&%* up. He doesn't know what he's talking about,  anyway. He's a miserable wretch of a thing who is only satisfied when I'm unhappy. I'm not giving him the satisfaction. At least not today.

After John's speech, I thanked him for the inspiration and told him Frank says hello to Debra.

His reply: "And they can both go to hell."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Inner Eight-Year-Old

Dan and I recently returned from a Mediterranean cruise with the Larsens and the Emerys. It was magical, you guys; amazing sites, perfect weather, delicious European food, and funny, funny friends.

Remember getting the Weekly Reader at school? That was always one of my favorite days -- it was right up there with Tostada Day in the cafeteria. I learned all kinds of cool stuff in the Weekly Reader. When I was in third grade, I read about the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I loved the picture of its many arches. I loved that it leaned. The article said that one day, the tower would fall. I decided right then and there that I needed to see it before it came crumbling down. Fortunately, I recently learned that the ground beneath the tower had been reinforced, so that it would continue to lean for generations of third graders yet to come.

Last Thursday, on our way back to the ship from Florence, our guide detoured us over to Pisa. You'll be happy to know the tower is located around the corner from Ikea, if you're ever in the area.

The adult me took a bunch of pictures:

The eight-year-old me ran up and touched the wall. Then she bought this statue for 2 Euros.