Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Independence Day

On this date in 1836, a group of Texans gathered at a village grandiosely named Washington on the Brazos to declare the new Texas Republic’s independence from Mexico.  Four days later, a good portion of the Republic’s army died defending an outpost called the Alamo.

It probably didn’t seem like an auspicious beginning for a new country.  But I’d like to take today’s blog to suggest a few things to it’s worth our while as writers to declare independence from.  Since we all stand on the shoulders of others, I’ll admit these are stolen from blogger/twitterer Kristen Lamb’s classes at this weekend’s DFW Writers Conference.  Kristen gave her audiences postcard-sized reminders of some of the bad guys we encounter – The Procrastination Pixie, who tells us literary agents care more about how clean our floors are than how we write; the Crappy Excuse Troll, who “makes 12 percent commission off your shattered dreams”; and the Mushroom Eaters.  Well, we all know what mushrooms eat.  As Kristen puts it more politely, “Screw aspiring.  Aspiring is for pansies.  Takes guts to be a writer.”

One institution we shouldn’t declare independence from though is our neighborhood bookstore, an increasingly endangered species.  I’m lucky enough to have several within a few miles.  Besides being full of books, they’re great places to write because – I don’t have to clean their floors.  Or even make the coffee.  Which brings me to another cherished and sacred institution – the in-store coffee shop and its baristas.  I truly don’t know how I wrote before finding barista Josh at the Barnes and Noble store in Lincoln Center on Dallas’s Northwest Highway.  He always has a smile and a quip.  Even if I’ve been away for weeks he remembers I take a tall americano with room.  Say hi to him the next time you’re there.  Or to any of the great men and women who keep the caffeine flowing for all us aspiring writers.  Oops, scratch the aspiring part.  For all us writers.

(Like Kristen’s style?  Hear more from her on Twitter @KristenLambTX, at or see her blog at  Or just Google Kristen Lamb.)

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