Monday, May 05, 2014

Inspiration and Truth

* * * DISCLAIMER: After writing this post, I went back and re-read it before posting. This post is filled with sappy emotion and a-ha moments. If this is not your jam, be advised to look away. This has been a warning of the emergency emotional network. * * *

What a weekend this was. A busy weekend away from my family, where dad is in charge. It's hard to do that--when you're essentially the stay at home parent, going away for any length of time is daunting and takes some effort. But holy crap, what a weekend it was.

All weekend long, I was reminded over and over that being who you are matters. That being the best version of yourself matters. To quote Aibileen in The Help, it was as though the universe was telling me: ... You is kind ... you is smart ... you is important.

And it was the exact right message at the exact right time.

I spoke at a writer's conference about editing, and discussed my own theories about what makes for a good writer/editor relationship. I was blessed to see friends I only get to see once a year, make new friends and watch as one of my great friends won the non-fiction book of the year award--a joy that is completely self-serving as I was her editor, but something she fully earned. At the end of the day, an editor helps a writer produce the best story they can, and it's all about respect and trust.

From upper left: New shoes for the conference, good for 4 hours before whining ensues. Valerie, Lisa and Brandi prove to be quite a collection of characters. Posing with Rhonda at the banquet. Taking home Cara's book and waiting on the next one to edit! Dee Dee celebrates her win. Heather and I pose with her trophy for best Non-Fiction book of the year. Bonding with Marisa and Lisa. Celebrating life with bourbon--and Brandi. Brandi and Shel celebrate their wins.

I was reminded, again and again, that when we are true to who we are, that's when great things happen. When we listen to your hearts and guts and not just our heads. When we try to be real and connect. I learned that when we make choices true to who we are, they make an impact.

I critiqued several submissions and put my beliefs about editing to the test--that idea of respect and trust. I hope I accomplished this. I've been on the receiving end of harsh criticism that was broad and aggressive, and as a result of it, I've pouted, ranted, said a lot of swear words, drank a little bourbon and then forgave the person who was rude to me. Because that's not who I am. Critiques--even the critical ones--can be couched in respect. Because it matters.

At the end of a long, emotional weekend, I went to see the Oklahoma City Listen to your Mother show, and it was incredibly uplifting and emotional. I joked with the cast members that I didn't want them to be as good as our show was last year, but they were. The show was incredible, and having only experienced it from the stage, it was even more amazing to experience it from the audience. OKC is lucky enough to have a group of producers who go above and beyond just by being themselves; they create magic.

From upper left: The shoes made the weekend; cowboy boots in honor of Dad. This is what backstage looks like--Pepto, lipgloss and caffeine. Misti takes the mic. Our reserved signs. A feeble attempt at a panoramic stage pic. I struggled to capture the awesome.
All of their stories resonated with me, made me think, urged me onto the stage after the bows were taken to give out hugs and praise and to tell them "thank you." It takes guts and love and integrity and honesty to stand there and share your truth.

* * * We now return you to your regularly sarcastic programming. * * *

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