Best Quote Ever by an Author: “I’m handsome.”

The new philosophical wave for authors is about to catch fire: true vanity.

It all started in my wife’s 3rd grade classroom. Each student was tasked to write their own book, complete with an author’s biography and everything. One student, clever boy he is, decided that he couldn’t deny the truth in his biography. As he outlined his family and pets and the other mundane issues of his life, he decided that the truth of himself couldn’t be kept under wraps under longer, so he wrote the vivid truth in his biography: “I’m handsome.”

Perhaps if more authors embraced this reality and let the world know how remarkably good-looking they are, how could the general readership resist? I’m sure it would have to translate into more book sales. It’s time we, as authors, come clean and let the world know just how attractive we are. Now, if you find yourself on the other end of the good-looks spectrum, photoshop is a distinct option you should explore. After all, even Paris runway models use it, so authors shouldn’t be shy. They did, after all, hang out in Paris in the 1920s. There’s a historical claim there that even models can acknowledge.

If photoshop is  not an option, then go ahead and hire a model to stand in for you. We already hire editors and book cover designers, so we might as well look good in our mugshot on the back of the novel. It’s time to let the world know just how devastatingly handsome and beautiful we all are. After all, what would people do without books to read? They might as well have Greek-god-like sculptures to represent the people who gave them their hours of entertainment.

(Note: The 3rd grade boy who started this trend, it has been reported, later confessed to his teacher that when he presented his autobiography to the class, he might edit out the “handsome” part because he didn’t want to brag. Perhaps he’s on to something. There’s no need to let the world know just how beautiful authors are. This is one smart boy!)


Is Using a Thesaurus Cheating? (And other stupid thoughts.)

Is using a thesaurus cheating? (And other stupid thoughts.)

Sometimes I feel like I’m competing against everyone’s outside perceptions.

Here’s a stupid example. I went through a phase when I thought that good cooks never had to consult a cookbook. When I’m writing this now, I realize how stupid that sounds – as if someone who is an amateur cook for his family would naturally have accumulated every way of cooking known to man in one’s brain so he never needed input from others. It’s ridiculous, I know. But it was like I thought that a cookbook diminished how good my cooking was. It’s like I thought, “Anyone can follow a cookbook, so if I want to be better than anyone, I better not follow a cookbook.”

I remember once when I took this concept to extreme and I decided to make a cake from scratch and from my head. Yeah, stupid, I know. Well, I did it, and it tasted exactly how it should have tasted – bad!

Now what about writing. It’s cheating to use a thesaurus, right? I mean, every writer should already have the Oxford dictionary memorized. All good writers know all of the “literary” words, and we dare not admit that there might be a word we don’t know. It’s logical to think that a writer has such a fantastic memory that he or she can remember every word in the English language exactly at the time when a new sentence demands it.

Maybe there are those brilliant individuals out there, but I’m not one of them. Sometimes my brain feels like mush, and there is nothing but juvenile words jumping forth onto the page. Sometimes I need help. Sometimes I need a recipe to help remind me of the ingredients.

I’m tired of living and writing and cooking like I have to naturally be the best in every given situation. I am human. I need the help of others, and, after all, resources are there for our use. I can’t imagine another reason why a thesaurus exists except to give people additional words with the same meaning.

We need to stop insisting so much from others. We are all who we are, on a journey of discovery, and we all need to continue to learn and grow along the way. Let’s let each other do that, and let’s encourage each other to continue to grow.

I am now comfortable being myself, even if it means that I need to look at a recipe every now and then.