Thursday, September 2, 2010

La La La, De De Da

We've all got one: the phone message we can't delete. It's a small child lisping something adorable, or a spouse saying he or she's sorry, or the guys on the bowling team yelling "Happy Birthday." Today, for your reading enjoyment, I present mine.

Back in May, one month after A House to Die For's publication, my twenty-two year-old-son Matt called from the Bahamas. (He's an engineer on a luxury charter yacht.) Getting my voice mail, Matt left me a message that begins with two lines of a song. Reach back in your music memory to Billy Joel's signature ballad, Piano Man, and you've got the tune.


My mom is a real estate novelist, who never had time to talk to her kids.

Now, the "never had time to talk to her kids" part is so NOT true, but the first part is dead on. Thanks to Midnight Ink, I AM a real estate novelist. Wahoo! My mysteries featuring a kick-ass real estate agent have made my most cherished dream of publishing fiction come true.

Matt's message is saved on my phone in perpetuity, or -- as they say here in Maine -- for-EV-AH. Each time I play it, I get a huge, goofy grin on my face.

We all know that the writer's life isn't easy; sometimes it can be pure drudgery. There are days when the very act of putting words on paper physically hurts. But tossed in here and there are little gems that keep us inspired.

Do you have a quote by your desk that motivates you? Or a message that you can't erase? Tell me, but if I don't respond, it's cause I'm talkin' with Davy, who's still in the Navy, and probably will be for life.


Vicki Doudera said...

P.S. That's Matt and my daughter Lexi reading on board Distraction, Matt's sailboat.

Alice Loweecey said...

Oh, yes! I have a message from a crit partner dated October 2008. In it she said that my chapters gave her nightmares 6 months after reading them, and I should never give up the publishing hunt. (I write horror too.)

And curse you, Vicki, for the Piano Man earworm! :P

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I have a magnet stuck next to my computer at home with my personal mantra: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." - Thoreau

My other favorite inspirational quote, tacked next to it on a sticky note: "Do, or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

Vicki Doudera said...

Alice, that is quite the cool comment. Six months! And yes, many of us will be humming this song today...

Sue Ann, I love that quote of Thoreau.

My friend Tess says: "Never give up. Finish the book. Write all the way to the end." I have that next to my laptop.

Lois Winston said...

I'm partial to a quote from Galaxy Quest: "Never give up! Never surrender!" My critique partner always included it in her sig line. ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN was her favorite of my books, and I'll be dedicating the book to her memory.

Keith Raffel said...

Thanks for the post and the pix, Vicki.

Lois, your quote from Galaxy Quest reminded me of one of Churchill's: "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense."

Sue Ann, here's a quote from Theodore Herzl that could be a corollary of Thoreau's: "If you will it, it is no dream."

Darrell James said...

Vicki- I've always held onto a quote by Paul J. Meyer:
"Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically work toward, must inevitably come to pass."

Keith- Yours is way easier to remember.

Beth Groundwater said...

The quote on my desktop is:
"Never, never, never give in!"
— Winston S. Churchill

And to help keep my priorities straight, I have my own question stuck to the computer monitor "If you had 1 year left to live, would you put this on your schedule?"

That's made me get off the social networks lots of times!

Karen said...

I love Billy Joel. I remember the first time I heard Piano Man. I became an instant fan. I'll love hearing that song in my head all day today!

I had a reminder yesterday to help me remember how far back it was: Over 20 years ago, my husband left the following message on my office answering machine: You are the most wonderful wife. I don't see how you could be any more perfect.

I kept that message on the machine for months. Unfortunately, I am an employee, not an employer, and finally, one day, my employer asked me to erase it. However,
you can see that I have never forgotten it.

And, in the same vein, I must also share that, one year not so long ago, my son gave me a birthday card on which he had written, "I'm so lucky to have been borne by you." No one can tell me to erase that! --Karen Dyer

Jessie Chandler said...


Great entry! I had one message I cherished, from my mom not long before she died. Then something happened to my phone, and POOF, no more message. So if you have something you want to keep, figure out a way to do it that will keep it safe forever :-)

One quote that I live by is actually from my grandfather. He oince told me, "Jessie, you can do whatever you put your mind to." I have found this is pretty much true...except for where chocolate is involved!

Vicki Doudera said...

How great to read all your responses and have more inspiring quotes at my disposal. To some people it could seem strange that we are all so influenced by a few sentences that somebody said "back in the day", but that is the power of words, right? It makes sense that, as writers, they would be especially meaningful to us.

G.M. Malliet said...

Mine is "Never, never, never quit!"
I've heard several versions of this Churchill quote, but the gist is the same.