Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give It Up or Stick It Out?

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. - Josh Billings

Though I still feel pretty young, I'd like to think that I've been around the block a few times and can give good advice.  Sometimes I pretend that I could be an expert at anything.  You know the show that aired in the late 1990's, The Pretender?  At one point I think I even had a crush on the main character Jarod (Michael T. Weiss).  I loved that he had the ability to be anything he wanted to be from a doctor to an airplane pilot. 

In real life, being an expert at everything can have its hardships.  First of all, it's difficult to stick with something long enough to really become an expert.  A true viruoso spends years and years practicing, rehearsing, performing, failing, and starting over again.  Second, there isn't enough time in the day to spend those years and years working at many different things without being spread too thin. 

A friend of mine recently came to me saying she wanted to give up on something. She didn't know if it was worth it to continue since she wasn't at the level of success she desired to be at during this time in her life.  "It's like it's never going to be good enough," she told me.  I thought on what she said for a long time.  I'm not one to give up on something, but at the same time I believe that there comes a point when its okay to let something go. 

For example, I love sports.  I could really play just about any sport and I enjoy it.  During The Pretender era, I participated in volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming, and diving.  I worked hard at all of them.  By the time I reached my senior year of high school, I realized that I was never going to be Varsity material at any of them (unless I liked warming the bench).  I made the decision that I wanted to do something my senior year that I loved and could do successfully.  I ended up not trying out for any teams, but instead participated in a musical.  Was I a quitter?  Some might say so.  Did I care? NO!!  As an adult, I am glad that I stuck with the sports long enough so that I can join a pick-up game without the fear of being a complete klutz.  And being in that musical confirmed in me a love of music that I have continued to enjoy through the years.

I love the Josh Billings' (a famous writer and speaker in the late 1800's) quote from above: Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.  My expert advice is to stick with something until you get there and stay with it while you love it.  If you dream of being a famous cook, do all the work it takes to get there (practice, schooling, apprenticeship, etc). If you love it, keep doing it.  Even if you don't open a famous restaurant and earn millions of dollars. Share your love of food with friends and family.

Of everything, the best advice I have for those Pretenders out there who aren't sure if they should continue or give up is to read this letter by Rainer Maria Rilke .  If you don't want to read it, you can get the condensed version from Sister Act 2:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Playing Dress-up

I love to be something I'm not. 

Me at Book Club Night for
Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor
Now most people may think by making that statement that I have a low self-esteem or that I don't like who I am.  Not true!  Most days I love my life and sometimes I think too highly of myself.  The reason I love being someone or something else has more to do with making life interesting by experiencing something out of the ordinary. 

The first musical I ever tried out for, I got the leading female role.  Don't worry, it wasn't necessarily because I rocked the stage or even looked the part.  I was just in the right place at the right time. It was also called Little Luncheonette of Terror, basically a teeny bopper remake of Little Shop of Horrors. The sub-par script was overshadowed by the catchy music.  My favorite part: I got to pretend to be someone else.  That someone else also got there first kiss on stage, a traumatic slobbery surprise! Shame on him.

I've only been in seven or eight musicals since then.  Each one of them, I played someone new, and each time I've loved it.  I've been a ballerina, ghost, singing tree, one of the ten virgins, diva, angel, and fairy.

Besides acting the part, the best part, hands down, is dressing up.  Putting on a costume is like stepping into someone else's life.  Want to feel like a princess?  Dress like one.  Wondering if you'd make a good Scarlett O'hara?  Be her! Wish you'd grown up on a farm?  Throw on those chaps and cowboy boots.  Yee Haw!

I dress up for everything.  Halloween starts months before October 31 so I can get a head start of my costume.  I know some of the members of my Delicious Reads Book Club cringe at the thought of sometimes dressing like characters in our books.  Not me! I get all giddy and then my mind starts turning the gears on what to wear.  I run the Provo Halloween Half Marathon every year now. Not so much because I want to stay fit or prove a point.  I just want to dress up and enjoy seeing others do the same.

Me as Velma with The Scooby Gang

Me as Padme and the Star Wars Crew

Pink Lady at the Provo Halloween Half Marathon

Woman in White Book Club

I always wanted to be Harry Potter!
In Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card wrote, “Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”  To a certain extent that is true.  If I play a role, I own it and the result is: part of that character becomes part of me.  The same is true with writing.  Each character I add to what I'm writing takes on a part of who I am.  There are also times when I write a character and I find that I adopt some of their characteristics.

Will dress-up ever get old?  Strangely, I think it would feel like I wasn't being me.  Trying on different characters is how I discover parts of who I am.  In a life where many things can seem mundane and ordinary, why not try on something that makes you feel extraordinary.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


WANTED: The King Family in Virginia City, Nevada

Not to brag, but I have the cutest little rebel family! We recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe for a family reunion and while there spent some time in an old mining town where we had this picture taken.  We spent the day riding a train and touring a real underground mine (Forget the gold, I'm still amazed at the phosphorescence of some rocks. They really glowed!).  Afterward, we took a fun little ride on a trolley.  The guided tour given by a hilarious man that resembled an old miner took us through the town and past a few places that were named after Mark Twain because he tried and failed to become a miner there.  It got me thinking about failures. 

What have I tried and failed?  Golfing (not exciting enough), playing the piano (apparently I can't read music and play keys at the same time), doing a triple off the diving board (yeah, I had a brief stint as a diver), losing weight (who hasn't failed?).  Should I go on?  Let's just say that I like to try everything.  I wondered if back then, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) had any idea of the popularity of his written works. 

I'd like to think that writing has been one of the constants that I have been successful with over the years, along with singing, running, photography, and teaching.  I just hope that my written works are published and popular before I'm long gone. 

So here are my questions for you: What have you tried and failed?  If there was a WANTED poster out there for you right now for your successes, what would it say?

Me standing under the sign of the Mark Twain Museum

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Dynamos: My first giveaway contest!

Ever since I started writing my book, Remembrandt, I have been obsessed with anagrams (several of which you will find in the book).  Now for those of you not familiar with what an anagram is, let me explain. An anagram is a word or phrase that can be rearranged to create a new word or phrase.  For example:

Astronomer = Moon starer
Agree = Eager
Float = Aloft

Where you put a space or how the words are separated do not matter.  For my own personal rules, it's only a real anagram if it makes sense or is clever in some way.  Like my name, Robin King, could be rearranged to be "brink go in".  Even though all those words are real words,  it doesn't really make sense and has nothing to do with me.  On the other hand, you could rearrange my name to say "boring kin'.  Now I can surely see a few of my family members huffing up in anger right now, but we are a boring lot!

So for my Monday Dynamos, your challenge is three fold.

1.) In honor of someone quoted in my book, find the anagrammed name in this phrase (don't forget that is doesn't matter where the spaces are - you just have to use all the letters):

Hear me as I will speak = ?

2.) Find an anagram for your name (you could use your middle or last name too, or just your first name).  See if you can find something clever that works for your name!  Just post your answers in the comments section.

3.) Follow me on this blog!


The first person to come up with the correct answer for #1 and the cleverest (is that a word?) anagram of their own name:  You will receive a hardback copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, one of my new favorite books.

I'm excited to see what you all come up with.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ahhhh (sigh of relief) . . .

It's official!  I have completed the first draft of my book!  I feel like I deserve putting up my feet and lounging outside my imaginary beach house, eating a thick strawberry cheesecake shake (oooooo, or maybe Oreo??), and watching the waves as they crash to the shore. Ahh.....
But alas, no, this soon-to-be author, will immediately be getting to work brushing up this novel to get it ready for publishing.  This book has been in my mind for over five years, but I didn't start the writing process until about nine months ago.  That's funny.  I just realized it took me just as long to write this book as it takes to wait for a baby to come.  Well, I guess this book is my "baby" right now.

I know all you curious ones out there are wondering what I've written, so I've come up with what I'd call a book jacket for this Young Adult novel.  I still have some kinks to work out, but this is what I have so far:
some things are better left forgotten

Forgetting the past is hard to do when you have an eidetic memory, but Alexandra Stewart decides to make her first year at Brown University one worth remembering. After she runs into William on campus, she begins to feel like she can have a normal life and ignore the flashbacks that haunt her at night. Solving puzzles becomes more than just a compelling game, when her Russian professor gives her a puzzle that seems impossible to complete, catapulting her into a world of secret codes and intrigue. As she tries to find a balance between the two different worlds vying for her attention, she wonders if she can have relationships with the ones she cares about while hiding a clandestine life, uncovering the truths of an underground enemy. Will this new found life help her forget her past or is it all somehow connected?

Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Also, follow my blog so that you can hear more about the story and be the first to know where my book is at in the publishing process.  I'm excited to take this journey with my friends and family!