The day of my last post from last week, I checked out Barnes and Noble, looking for the latest issue of Writer’s Digest magazine.
While flipping through it, I noticed this article:
It began with a quote from Stephen King, which said if you didn’t have the time to spend reading, don’t bother picking up your computer or pen to start writing a story. You read what you love and write about that certain genre, hoping you’ll be successful. But then it says, reading is all good fun until you easily slip into jealousy.
The article dives in with these little bullets to determine if you fall into one of these positions of envy:
“Do you long to be like writers who interact with people you admire? You’re hungering for their network.”
“When perusing author websites, are you struck by their lists of publications? You want their success.”
“While reading, do you feel like you could never write something on that level? You’re lusting for talent.”
Those three statements are slightly true. I want their 50th birthday celebrations, their long lists of books they have in print, and their talent. Steven Moffat has an impure talent for the Doctor Who episodes such as “Deep Breath” or “The Magician’s Apprentice”. Neil Gaiman could cause a riot with Trigger Warning from what I understand of it (I will read some of it soon), and J.K. Rowling captivated me with her stories about a little wizard who was my age back when I was going to middle school. I grew up with the Harry Potter books.
And those who are lucky enough to know those souls, I want to be around them. But it’s as if I could never get close enough. It’s just like my first Fall Out Boy concert I ever went to: a bunch of excited girls jumped up and down and started running to get more autographs, and I ran after them, only to be stopped by my own breath and my cell phone, my dad paging me to come home.
Safe to say, I didn’t get any autographs or souvenirs that night. It fell down as one of the worst and best nights ever, though my favorite rock concert memories came from when the Recher Theatre was still around, playing small rock gigs until midnight. Now that it’s a seedy nigh club, I’m home all of the time, thinking, where did all the time go?
This is why I gave up on being a rock and roll journalist a long time ago. Rock and roll is dying out, and hip hop and pop music won’t stop growing, which makes me sick. It’s almost as if a part of me is dead.
And that reminds me of a song I adore:
“She’s imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken but won’t ask for help
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine…”
As you may have guessed, I can’t get enough of Sara Bareilles’s book Sounds Like Me: My Life So Far In Song. She’s been through a lot: divorced parents, her first heartbreaking time in Italy, condescending songwriter after songwriter, three albums, judging on The Sing-Off with Ben Folds, and now, making a Broadway musical. This woman needs a Tony award and a Grammy sometime soon, because she’s been through so much as a struggling singer in her early days.
She also has a hard time with her body image, thinking that she’s “fat”. I empathize with her since I’m 140 pounds and I still think I should be as skinny as a ballerina or those girls who usually audition for dance recitals or community theatre. I’ve always been jealous of them.
But Sara Bareilles did a lovely thing with one of her essays. In “Beautiful Girl”, she writes love letters to herself, pumping herself up with self esteem: “You are learning empathy, and what it feels like to be left out… it’s going to serve you well. It’s going to guide you toward people who love you for who you are, so hang in there. Trust me that things are moving in the right direction.”
And in every letter, she says, “You are beautiful.” This captivated me on a level that promotes the power of positive thinking.
This is moreover the one thing I need in my life, since I’m usually way too hard on myself. Every time I open Scrivener or Word to one of my novels or stories, I keep thinking, “Is this publishable?” And every time I start writing in it, I say, “No. This is garbage, it’s never going to sell as much. And no way am I ever going to be a bestselling author.”
I’m not giving up. Not yet. Not until somebody tells me, “Stop writing because your writing will never be good enough.”
Though the quickest way to my heart is with a good book and some chocolate to go with it. Nope, I’m still going to write. Writing helps me cope.
There used to be a girl who was kind and had a messy bedroom. She’s one of the most loneliest girls in Baltimore, but she would find a way to have fun anyway. She strode to be perfect, but wasn’t perfect, and she got her heart broken so many times when she was in school, but she made it without help. She would never give up hope.
She is gone, but she used to be mine.
Written by Sara Bareilles, this song breaks my heart, from the new musical Waitress coming in April:
And my favorite song for inspiration, from the film 500 Days of Summer: