Quote of the Day: Be yourself. Above all. Let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. – John Jakes

I had the great good fortune to hear Lorna Landvik speak at our local library last Saturday. Not only is she a good writer, but also a great entertainer/speaker, and an inspiration. She told one great story after the other, and I laughed so hard that I snorted. I went with my writer pal Jill, who was brave enough to ask the first question. Lorna threw her a chocolate kiss and answered the much pondered question about agents and publishing. When no one knows you, it’s hard to get an agent. Once you’ve made a name for yourself, they take you out to lunch in NYC, even if you squirt lotion up the arm of your blazer and are wearing an old shirt underneath.

Lorna’s best advice to us longing to be like her, “Never accept ‘No’ as your final answer.”

After pouring her blood, sweat, tears, and great good humor into her first novel, Patty Jane’s House of Curl,” Lorna spent the next four years trying to get an agent or an editor to look at it. She received 30 rejections, and pointed out that that’s nothing. Many famous authors have received more than that.

While I was buying Lorna’s books and watching her sign them, I spewed out to her my own rejections and frustrations as a hopeful (sometimes hopeless) novelist. I told her about a NY editor who didn’t even like my idea for a novel. She said, “That’s ONE editor’s opinion.” And, “Don’t give up.”

And, as Polonius said to his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true.”

You must answer the call of your gifts. Whatever it is that stirs up the longing in your heart, go and do that. Whoever gives you inspiration and makes you think, “I want to be like her,” find a way to achieve that.

Dear Lorna Landvik, Thank you for coming to our little library in Brainerd and sharing your stories. You inspired me to live my dreams and never to accept “NO” as my final answer. May the blessings of your generous and humorous spirit ripple back to you this holiday season.

Your fan, Mary

Journaling/comment prompt: Who inspires you?