On August 20th, Sheryl and I celebrated 22 years of marriage. It was a Thursday night, and both of us had plans taking us in opposite directions (a pot-luck with some church folk for Sheryl, a concert in the city for me). We were a bit disappointed to not spend the evening together, but we knew that our love was what mattered, not when we celebrated. Saturday would work just as well, and our plan was a good one. Spend the day together with the boys, then make our way to the book store and eventually to our favorite Italian place in Salt Lake.
Good friends turned us on to Michelangelo’s back when the restaurant existed in the basement of the ugliest building in Sugarhouse. The decor was minimalist (that’s a nice way of saying bland, dark, awful), but the food was exquisite. House-made noodles and sauces, a good wine list, nice people, made our visit something worth repeating. We returned a few times, but somehow missed the notification that they were moving location. One night, we went down to eat and the basement was vacant.
I feared they had gone belly up (as seems to be the case with too many good places in SLC. Chains rule the roost more than they should), and was quite pleased to learn (almost two years later) that they had moved to an above ground location just a few blocks away (with much better decor).
We try to introduce all our friends to Michelangelo’s, and unless they are all very good liars, no one has been disappointed.
Moving to the suburbs has actually made us go more often than we used to. It is our go-to location for great pasta and special nights.
After a day shopping with the boys, we were starving and pasta thoughts convinced us to eat before going to buy books.
The restaurant didn’t appear all that busy from the front, but when we entered, it was obvious something big was happening, and few of the staff were rattled. The service is always friendly, but can sometimes be less efficient than might be ideal. This night, the hostess was a bit frazzled. She wandered about, trying to seat people and greet those that were coming in. She mumbled something to us about a party making things crazy, and then lead us into the dining room.
She sat us between two large groups, one that had arrived just before us, and another that was already three or four bottles deep in wine. Two more tables directly across from us were filled with 10-12 people each, all laughing and drinking, making happy noises.
We had walked right into the middle of a birthday party. The gentleman next to us was turning 60 and his family and friends had gathered to celebrate. At first, Sheryl and I were a bit shaken by the loudness of the revelers. We worried with such a large group taking precedent that our food would be delayed or we might get lost in the shuffle. Our server quickly put that fear to rest, bringing bread and drinks in very quick order. Once I felt like we would not be forgotten, I was able to relax.
About three minutes after our salads arrived (mine a lovely Caprese, Sheryl’s her favorite beet salad), the wife of the birthday boy (giggle) began her first of several apologies regarding the volume of her group. We laughed and I promised her we weren’t bothered. She was still concerned with our comfort, and from that moment on, insisted that we become part of the celebration. She told us stories. Introduced us to her husband and many of the guests, who also told us stories. Soon, food was being passed to our table, including slices of a delicious birthday cake, as well as a very good glass of wine. I felt almost like we had always been part of their celebration, like we were invited guests. It was an excellent and bizarre sensation.
Sheryl and I are pretty laid back folk, which worked out for both us and the birthday party. Another couple might have been annoyed or made a stink about the craziness. We just enjoyed ourselves, met some new people, ate some delicious food and were grateful for our good fortune.
The act of writing is what makes someone a writer.
It’s alright to feel insecure, just don’t allow insecurity to stop the writing.
All writing has some value.
That said (or written), there is good writing and bad writing. Good writing can come from bad writers, and bad writing from good writers.
Mistakes should always been learning experiences.
Practice helps make better writing (and writers), as does being able to accept harsh criticism. Critiques are not personal attacks, don’t take them as such. In my experience, I’ve written almost as much awful stuff as quality pages. I’m grateful for those who point out my weak writing. These are the people that care most about my development. I trust them.
Being unwilling to edit is not helping your writing. No text is perfect, especially a first draft.
Finding a community of writers to ask advice, bounce ideas off, is a good thing, but being unwilling to offer the same services in return is quite selfish (anyone want to be part of my community? I’ve always got advice and writing to share).
Getting paid for what one writes is a nice bonus (or so I would imagine, as I have not yet received any payment for all this awesomeness I put on this blog), but in most cases should not be the motivating factor (I’m right on this one, I’m sure of it) for wanting to write.
I don’t know everything about writing. Tell me what you’ve learned.