Sunday, April 18, 2010


I love those square card and magnets they sell at good bookstores, the ones that have short, inspirational quotes on them. I have one on my fridge. It's a quote by Emerson that says, "To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch . . . to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!"

There is another quote on those cards and magnets, though, that I have seen hundreds of times but would never buy and put on my fridge. It scares me a little. Which is ironic, because the quote on that card goes, "Do one thing every day that scares you." And that's not really how I live my life. I am cautious, conservative, measured. I don't throw caution to the wind, I don't dance outside naked in the moonlight wearing a red hat, and I don't take big risks. All throughout my growing-up years, whenever my mom would drop me off someplace (school, soccer, a birthday party, youth group), she would yell "Be careful!" at me as I got out of the mini-van. So I am.

But last week I did something that scares me a little. I signed up to attend the Bear River Writer's Conference in June. It scares me because I am going to be among a bunch of WRITERS, and I don't really think of myself that way. (Yet.) I think of myself as someone who spends 95% of her time and energy being a mom and 5% of her time and energy writing things. I mean, I feel like I might become a writer, someday, if I work at it more and carve out some time and if my brain doesn't completely turn to mush after going on six years of sleep deprivation and wiping butts. It scares me because I am going to be surrounded by actual published writers - names that you probably know, if you read - and expected to produce work and read it aloud to strangers and . . . gaaaaaaah.

So I am scared. But I am also encouraged. Every time that a friend sends me an e-mail to compliment an article I wrote, it helps. Every time a reader writes to say that a post made her cry (or laugh, or read it aloud to her spouse in bed), it helps me believe that it might be possible one day for me to legitimately call myself a writer. If you have done that, I am grateful. It gives me hope, and the courage to tote my computer and my muddled brain to a writer's conference for a weekend this summer.

For now, I'm off to a book club field trip to have dinner downtown and see David Sedaris. Nerdy fun at its best!

1 comment:

  1. This is terrific news! I can't wait to read all about your experiences. Yes, it will probably be a little scary, but also immeasurably inspiring. And I think inspiration is one of the most necessary things for a writer. (Also, by the way, you are a writer.)