Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Touching Shoulders

When I was first dating my husband he read me this poem and since then I have always loved it. I thought about it when we were at the Whitney's this last weekend. About what a privilege it is to rub shoulders with the people that were there. So I wanted to post it and share. I don't know who wrote it originally.

There's a comforting thought at the close of the day, when I'm weary and lonely and sad, that sort of grips hold of my crusty old heart and bids it be merry and glad. It gets in my soul and drives out the blues, and finally thrills through and through. It is just a sweet memory that chants the refrain: "I'm glad I touched shoulders with you!"

Did you know you were brave, did you know you were strong? Did you know there was one leaning hard? Did you know that I waited, listened and prayed, and I was cheered by your simplest word? Did you know that I longed for that smile on your face, for the sound of your voice ringing true? Did you know that I grew stronger and better because I had merely touched shoulders with you?

I am glad that I live, that I battle and strive for the place that I know I must fill; I am thankful for sorrows, I'll meet with a grin what fortune may send, good or ill. I may not have wealth, I may not be great, but I know I shall always be true, For I have in my life that courage you gave When once I rubbed shoulders with you.

Whitney Awards:

I'm SOO bummed. I went to the awards and I FORGOT my program! I've searched everywhere and I must have left it on the table after it was done. I could just kick myself in the shin. Especially since I really wanted to keep it as the first one I ever attended... to remind me that great writing and writers have their moment. (If there are any extras OR if anyone isn't planning on keeping yours, please can I have it??)

Maybe someday it might mean something more to me? Ya know? Not that it didn't mean enough already. The whole event was just neat neat neat! Great to see Kerry Blair get a lifetime achievement award. All the support in seeing her up their on stage. Being so happy for her and all that she has inspired in others. And glad to have rubbed shoulders with her in ANWA. (I'm glad to say I finally read my first Kerry Blair novel!!) This is an accomplishment for me because I've only been an ANWA member for 2 years this fall! (Yep, that's right, I'm new AND I'm the President! How did that happen?)

And then to hear from Orson Scott Card and the great things he said in his acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award. It just inspires you to be that much more onboard with writing to join the movement of LDS writers in the main stream. I'm really grateful for all that he said and if I could get a copy of it, to look back on it when I get discouraged, that would be something nice to remember for all time. (Besides the fact that this last year I also became a big fan of his too!) Don't ask me why I didn't pick up one of Card's books earlier. It's been on my list of things to read, I just didn't get around to it until I was married and had kids!!

If I'd been paying better attention to names I would have realized that when they made reference to another author in the room finishing up the "Wheel of Time" series I would have KNOWN that they were talking about Robert Jordan's books and that the author his wife picked to finish that series was in the room as well!! *Head desk*

Okay I'd admit it, my brain is in a funk and I'm not the brightest crayon in the box this month. DOH!

Next year I'll be on my game much better!

And of course, everyone who got an award!! So excited and happy for all of them. And even just the nominees! Everyone who was nominated had a book that other people read and they told their stories. That is fabulous in and of itself.

Honestly, I had my break down moments at this conference. No particular reason, just that I feel I'm starting all over from scratch. Well, I did at a few moments. And I happen to be particularly emotional this month. More than usual. Hormones can really be a curse at times in your life. On the upside of this, I didn't make a huge scene in front of people, well, maybe just a few... and they were all completely supportive and comforting. You know who you are and THANK YOU!

It was all reminiscent of when I was in College and I was politely kicked out of my figure drawing class. And I say politely because I left the class not because I had done anything wrong, but I wasn't really ready to be in the class and learning the instruction my teacher was giving at the time. I'll probably remember that day for the rest of my life! And not because I was upset, but because of everything it did for me because I wasn't ready to be there. I wanted to be there. REALLY bad! I could see it, understand it, and accept that Mr. Barksdale was doing exactly the right thing. But I wanted to be there in every thread of my being. I wasn't ready. I was sad, frustrated, and really emotional about it. I could also tell that I really made him uncomfortable because I was crying, and I didn't think he expected that reaction.

I mean can you imagine, very strong big artist type telling a very young little lady that she just got through without his notice and isn't ready to be at the level everyone else is. She needs to go back a step, and the whole time she's sobbing. He just didn't know what TO say.

A year later I was back in his class. He remembered me, was excited to see I was there and ready. And I was really ready that time to learn what he was teaching. I just had to go through one hard day and one hard realization that I wasn't there just yet. And then a lot of work afterwards. It made me a better artist though. It made all the difference to let myself just be and allow the learning process to happen instead of make it happen. I think that is when I really realized that my journey and the journeys of others aren't the same and don't have to be the same. There is a difference between letting it happen and making it happen. Some things you learn at a pace you can't predict or control. And sometimes your path isn't going to be a step by step goal that you reach. Some goals have to be felt with the heart, learned with practice, frustration, and patience. That isn't always easy. But its worth it.

I had one of those moments at this conference. Just a personal A-Ha moment. Good signs, I say. And I will remember this experience for a long time to come. Just like the drawing class experience. It's earmarked into my memory. And now that I've written about it, even more so.

I won't feel guilty if I'm not where I imagined myself to be writing wise at this point in my life. I won't make up unrealistic expectations and make things as I want them to be. But I'll be patient and work hard and see where things are in a year or more. The thing is I'm not always the most patient person. *laugh* And that does not work to my benefit!

I'm sure I'm not alone in that though.

Okay, so I meant to write about how wonderful the Whitney Awards where and I ended up writing about the meaning of my life! Maybe that is the moral of my experience. Being at the Whitney's inspired my creative existence. It instilled just one more reason, one more purpose to write, write, write! Because the pen truly is mightier than the sword. There is power in words, and if you want to make a positive mark on the world you can with words. I guess deep down I do want to, I mean it isn't the only reason but it is one of the many. Even if it is just a fantasy story that everyone reads and likes. J.R.R. Tolkien did it. C.S. Lewis did it. Lots of others have since then too. And before them as well.

This is just one more experience to add to the accumulation of what makes my journey get to where it goes. I am grateful for it. I want to appreciate it and never forget it's importance. Cause someday, maybe I'll be one of those people inspiring others and I may or may not even know it. I think taking time to appreciate the little things is what makes doing anything creative important. It's the little things that make the magic happen. It's the little things that keep you going when you feel like you want to quit.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

LDStorymakers Conference

Overall... totally rocks!! I'm coming back next year because I love it so much! This has to be a yearly visited conference. (Just like the ANWA Conference too.)

I came up with some of my fellow ANWA members, Tina Scott and Valerie Ipson, to rainy Provo Utah. (At least it is raining this weekend. Which is okay in my book because I'm inside taking classes!) I've gotten books and tons of great classes to help improve my craft! (Notes to remember it all.) I've met other authors and gotten to know new people who are all amazing!

Like I said... it totally rocks! And I can't say anything more. I'm still here at the conference right now writing this entry during a break. I have yet to attend the Whitney Award Gala... so that will be my next post. Probably when I get home because I don't have the internet access in my hotel room.

If you get a chance to come to the LDStorymakers Conference next year, DO IT!