Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Want To Meet My Inspiration?



Sometimes I feel guilty… when I chat with friends. Because I can talk about my childhood like it’s the most magical thing ever. I really did grow up inside a fairytale—where anything/everything was possible. I totally believed in unearthly creatures and supernatural powers and the… impossible. I’m not sure if it was something my parents did, or if it was just who we were as kids, but all five of us children experienced this magic—particularly my sister and me.

And this is why I want to write.

I’m trying to tap into what made my childhood so special. To create that magic on the page—because I haven’t been able to *really* find it since I was young. But there still is a bit of that essence left—my sister.

My sister is the one person from my childhood who just “gets it” … she understands what I’m trying to capture and how I feel when I look back on life. We both approach life in a similar way, how we analyze things, how our minds work, and where our feelings stem from. And I think a lot of it has to do with dance. Ballet.

There’s such magic in this art—and it really has connected us forever.

It’s also what has inspired my latest project.

My sister and I grew up in the dance world—hours and hours a day dedicated to the art. There are 4 ½ years between us, so we were never competitors, but if we had been closer in age, we would’ve been! I stopped dancing and was teaching ballet full time when she really took off.  At age fifteen, she was the only person in the state of Utah to be accepted to the School of American Ballet. (Which is a big deal in ballet world) It was a dream to fly out to New York with her and drop her off—to see the facilities and the studios… little did I know ten years later I would be drawing off this experience for my writing.

I think the reason why my latest WIP has clicked is because I’ve tapped into something I’m passionate about. It isn’t just a story—it’s my world, my life. And I think that when a writer feels something so deeply, the truth can’t help but spring from the page. Readers are smart, and they know when they’re being lied to—it’s why we, as writers, need to fully immerse ourselves into our work—into the worlds we’re creating, so it feels authentic past the page.

Same idea with characters. Not only have I drawn on real personal experiences for the world I’m trying to create, but I’ve based my MC off of my sister. Not only in name and looks, but in her essence—trying to capture who she is.

I know there’s an argument about whether or not to write what you know, but I do think that whatever you write, it’s got to be so real to you, that it can’t help but ring truth from the page.

I want to leave with a quote from my sister. When I asked her what it was that made dance so magical, she said, “I feel beautiful and different when I dance… like I *am* different. I feel special and graceful like no one else. I love giving that pull or energy to the audience… giving all of me that I possibly can.”

I love this. And I think this is what we writers are trying to do. Transport readers to a place where they feel different. Special. And I know that we are giving as much of ourselves that we possibly can. Because if we’re not, it just isn’t good enough.

Do you have people in your life who inspire your work? Who carry that magic you’re trying to portray? And is your WIP a world that you know well? Or is it a new world that you’re trying to discover?

Red. Head. Out.




85 comments:

  1. "I know there’s an argument about whether or not to write what you know, but I do think that whatever you write, it’s got to be so real to you, that it can’t help but ring truth from the page."

    Truer words were never written! Well put and a very interesting post :)

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  2. Lovely ballet photos! Honesty in writing in one of the things S. King emphasizes. Writing from the heart injects passion. Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

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  3. This is such a great post, Morgan. I second Mark's comment. I think you need to be passionate about what you're writing whether it's something you have experience with personally or not. How great is it that your sister is such an inspiration to you. And those pictures are fantastic. :)

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  4. I tend to write what I know with splashes of things I don't lol. That way, I can learn stuff but still write something that is real to me. :D

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  5. Start with writing about what you know but don't hold back on your imagination. Great post Morgan, love the photos, too. (:

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  6. Hi Morgan .. what a great story - I love your love of life for ballet - and that's great you can share it with your sister ... yes - I can feel and read your passion ..

    Love the photos - and it's good to see your sister ... cheers Hilary

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  7. I love what your sister said about giving all of herself to dancing and how you related it to writing! So true! It's great that you and your sister have dancing in common. My sister and I both write (as you know) and that's been a huge help to me during the process. Thanks for sharing your inspiration and all those amazing photos!

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  8. Write what's true, because readers recognize truth. And they can also recognize when we are giving ourselves or holding back.

    Love this post. Thanks for introducing us to your sister.

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  9. How inspirational! I can see that ballet sparks passion in you and writing about means so much to you. I can't wait to see where this journey takes you in your next chapter in life! So cool!

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  10. That is great you and your sister can connect so well. Music has been with me my whole life, and while I never pursued it as a career, the fact it is so strong in my world again is the magic. Yes, it's in my writing, but it began in my music first.

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  11. Waves to Sibling Shamy... yoo hoo!!! Hello, nice to meet you and crikey, the Red. Hair. is prevelent in the House :)

    First, kudos to your parents for being able to keep the magic alive and look at the benefits *we're* reaping from thier hard work :)

    I'm also a firm believer in writing what you know, which is why WIP #2 will be a six-page flyer available from nowhere later this year:)

    Thanks for another great post - oh, and Morg, your spirit and writer's passion is an inspiration to me.

    So. There. :)

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  12. Love those pictures (and ballet)!

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  13. Nice! I grew up in a family of pretty linear thinkers - more into logic than creativity - but I like having that side of my brain too :) Not all of them even know I write :)

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  14. This reminded me of the relationship between my brother and I. We used to make up the greatest stories when we were little. Great story here.

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  15. I think this is the reason why my other books (a dystopian and a Twilight-wannabe) didn't work out. There wasn't much of ME in them. I love that your sister is such an inspiration to you. For me, it's other books that I've read and loved. When I read a book that truly hits the spot, I want to do the same thing :)

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  16. I love these pictures and I can so relate to how your sister felt about dance. I did modern/contemporary dance for 6 years before I quit (more bc the girls in my group were mean to me, as opposed to I fell out of love with). Still to this day I feel like dance is the only place I am really myself. Yes even over writing. ;-) I'm an only child so my childhood imagination had a lot of imaginary friends but I love reading about sibling relationships/childhood. Great post!

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  17. Beautiful pictures!

    I write because I love submersing myself in other worlds and other lives. :-)

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  18. That's wonderful that you're writing about what you're passionate about. I'm sure that passion and magic will come through.

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  19. This post made my heart so happy and you are completely right! On more than one occasion, I've bawled while writing something because I feel it so deeply. Hopefully that gets conveyed to the reader :)

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  20. Very cool. My last MS was inspired by my life-long fascination with sharks. I set it aside for now, but I'm going to Hawaii in March. When I'm there, I'm going on a shark dive. I have a feeling that will respark my interest in my MS and I'll be back to working on it. :)

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  21. Beautiful, Morgan. I love it when siblings love each other. One of my happiest moments as a parent of adult children is seeing them still connect and have fun together.

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  22. I think my worlds are always something I know and want to discover at the same time, if that makes sense. There's only one character I've written completely based on a live person. So cool that you have your sister.

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  23. Your sister is beautiful! That is so awesome that she's made it so far in the dance world. I totally love it and I can't wait to read your book :)

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  24. This was so amazing to read. Not only are you and your sister beautiful inspiration for your craft, but for your relationship as well. My sister and I are four years apart, and yes, have our differences, but I know she will always have my back and I will always have hers. No other bond is truly like that.

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  25. Such an inspiring post! Kudos to you and your sister. I often know, in a personal way, the world I write about. I find it helps me to be personally familiar with at least one element. Other times, I strive to make that world personal to me through research and interviews. But for every book, I become totally invested in and passionate about that world, even if most of it exists only in my head.

    I'm looking forward to reading your story :)

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  26. This is fantastic :) Truly, anything can inspire you, as long as it is something you love. Love this insight into your writing life!

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  27. Nice ballet pictures! The pictures of me in my dance costume, for the one public show I did, are probably still around somewhere. My elementary school dance troupe did a mix of ballet, tap, and modern, and I also took separate tap classes with my best friend's mother for awhile. At the dance show we did in June '92, my group's song was Mariah Carey's "Make It Happen," and we wore costumes with lots of pink sequins. I was in 6th grade and one girl was in 5th grade, while all the other girls were so much littler. My 5th grade friend and I were the only dancers whose costumes had to be designed for girls with bustlines!

    I put parts of myself, my experience, and people I've known into just about everything I've written. One of the characters in my Atlantic City books began strongly based on my dearest, oldest friend, though I've never told her this.

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  28. Love this! I think it's amazing that you two have such a wonderful relationship, and I particularly think it's awesome about your childhoods :) Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Love those pictures! I'll have to show my daughter - she's a dancer, too!

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  30. What beautiful pictures! I can't wait to read some of your work someday- it seems to be about exactly the kind of things I love. I had always wished my mom had put me into dance, but I got put into the playing instrument route- which is something, just not for me. I'm living vicariously through my girls now as I taxi them to dance a couple of times a week!

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  31. What's awesome, Morgan! I love personal posts like this. :D

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  32. It's so cool you're close to your sister and have the same interests - my only interest is writing, and my family and friends don't really understand.

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  33. Morgan: I love to see real talent. I tried to bestow my own children with the sense of living their dreams. I hope I succeeded. As a lifetime martial artist, I can say with confidence that although most people don't realize it, the martial arts are closely related to ballet. I truly appreciate the beauty and talent of the moves that just seem to go with the flow of Nature. Kudos to your family!

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  34. This was a wonderful post. The pictures are lovely, but the words even more so. Right now, it's my son that has all the magic and wonder. If I can make my readers go "wow" like he does when he experiences something new, I'll be ecstatic.

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  35. A dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars. Wonderful read Morgan.

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  36. Oh my gosh, I had this happen to me with the collab I wrote with Cassie. We went with a storyline and plot that was VERY similar to my life growing up and WOW did the words just spill onto the page. Of course, now there's a lot more of me in that book than maybe I would like. We'll see if anyone notices :)

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  37. Write what you know might not apply if your an Internal Revenue Agent (unless you've audited a serial killer), but if what you know is interesting...then I say go for it. :)

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  38. So beautiful. Both the pics and how you're sister is your inspiration. And of course your own experience.

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  39. ...so very cool. Truly inspiring indeed ;)

    El

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  40. Wonderful pictures and inspiring story! I have some awesome, inspirational people in my life.

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  41. Writing is a world I'm discovering day by day. I'm discovering what my style is, and I am surprised and, at times, taken aback by it because it comes out in unexpected ways.
    Yes, one or two persons, not more, I can consider inspirational for my life. Sometimes I catch myself repeating something they have said a long time ago, and which they don't even remember having said, but I do remember they said it.
    Yet, sometimes I find that objects, stones, puppets, have nicer souls than people and are much finer interlocutors.

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  42. What a SWEET and LOVELY post. How wonderful to have such a SPECIAL relationship with your sister. She's SOOOO Graceful! Her lines are flawless.

    I find it so heartwarming that you sister was the inspiration for your story... I thought it was you, Morg. All the more special now. I hope she is reading these comments, BECAUSE she must be VERY special for you to admire her so. This is rare in families. Yes, you read me correctly. I have seen very few sibling relationships as special as this. It is a blessing. I am happy for you both.

    Visual beauty inspires me. Nature in all it's glory. A sunset; the first snowfall; autumn leaves swirling on a bright, chilly day; city lights; vintage architecture; instrumental music; children laughing on a swing; puppies pulling their humans; a gentle smile from a stranger; elderly couples hand-in-hand; water rippling agains a sandy shore; moonbeams reflecting in a fathomless liquid pool; twinkling stars in a velvet midnight sky; a subtle perfume wafting on a gentle breeze; and so it goes on ...

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  43. My best friend in the world is my cousin Shawnette. She is the person who I want with me the most on my writing journey. She always got 'me.' Which is something my sibs and parents were always off base on. I did ballet for a short time as a child but I loved it and it's truly a magical art. And the story about you and your sister was so inspiring. Glad it all seeped into your work.

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  44. Beautiful photos, Morgan! I love the gracefulness... the obvious fluidity...

    They say write what you know but also give your imagination "wings to fly" as you try to think out of the box... I suppose the ideal scenario is a combination of the two...
    You are blessed to have such a special relationship with your sister!

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  45. I can relate to the great relationship you have with your sister. I can't imagine my childhood without mine.

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  46. Wow, those pictures are amazing! I think it's a great idea to base your character on your sister and try to capture that magic of your childhood. That has to make your story so much stronger.

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  47. Lovely post, Morgan, and with beautiful pics too! Can't wait to read your book and experience that magic too =)

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  48. she looks like a fairy princess, i'd be inspired too! lovely!

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  49. My muse is also my sister. As far as "Write what you know," we all know people. Write about people, the rest will come. Don't write about people, your story will fall flat.

    Lauren

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  50. "I think the reason why my latest WIP has clicked is because I’ve tapped into something I’m passionate about. It isn’t just a story—it’s my world, my life."

    You are brilliant, redhead! I can't wait to read this story one day.

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  51. Aw, so sweet! My own sister, well one of them, is one of my biggest fans. Reading your post, makes me love her all the more! Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

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  52. I love hearing about your ballet experience and about your family. Both of you are so incredibly graceful.

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  53. Love those pictures! And what a sweet, touching post. It's great to have the support of family members and I love that your sister's your muse. :)


    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  54. School of American Ballet?? Wow. And I love the pictures. Does she still dance?

    It makes me smile that you're recreating the "magic of childhood." Go forward and conquer!

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  55. Morgan this is beautiful and how I too want to write!
    I love that your sister is your MC! Her quote is breathtaking, as I know your story it going to be.
    I also had a magical childhood and you make me wonder, is this where I should start my dance?! Where I should share my story...perhaps!

    Thank you Morgan for sharing and being you!
    I look forward to more from you~
    @>-----------
    YOU and YOUR sister rock! ;D

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  56. That is so sweet. I can't dance, but that only makes me see those who can as magical.

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  57. Beautiful post. I love that you have this relationship with your sister. I think some people are just born to see the magic in the world and you and your sister both sound like you have that.

    I'm writing my newest book with my son so, as far as a person inspiring me right now, he's definitely it. It's been a ton of fun to see the book go in a totally different direction that's nothing like my other books, because of his input. It's amazing to work with someone who sees the world your making up as clearly as you do, so I've really loved the experience of working with him!!

    Oh! I was wondering what to do for my Thursday's Children's post on Inspiration this week. Now I know. haha. Thanks for the idea and the awesome post!!

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  58. Sounds like this is a labour of love! Lucky you to have someone who inspires you so much. I think that sense of magic and wonder is definitely something we should try to tap into when creating our stories, no matter what genre.

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  59. What a special thing to be able to say your childhood was like a fairytale (minus the ogres or wicked witches). I so wish I could dance.

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  60. This post inspired me so much!! I think I may have to write a blog post about my inspiration :)

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  61. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I have chills :) My sister is someone who totally gets things that no one else can too. We're four years different, not close growing up, but close now. She was one of my characters in my second wip :)

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  62. I agree. We should write about things we care about, things that mean something to us. I think that is why some stories last and others don't. It is the author and how much they put into the story. The passion they feel about it, or how they understand it.

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  63. I enjoyed reading this post. The photos are awesome. How wonderful it must be to have a sister and be so close!

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  64. That was beautiful!

    I think, for me anyway, it's that same kinda inspiration. Like I just 'might' have words in me like Hemingway or Hitchcock had. Some days, a good line of prose will roll out and I have to pat myself on the head and say, 'Not bad.'

    At least, until I get to my review group. ;)

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  65. Very nice. Very, very nice, Morgan.

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  66. What a beautiful post. I love your sister's quote and I can see how she would feel that way while dancing on stage. I think it is wonderful that you are so appreciative of your sister and that she gets it and gets you. Sisters can be magical, that way. I envy your wonderful childhood. You asked if we have any people in over lives who inspire our work. I grew up, the middle sister, of five girls and five boys (yup- four sisters and five brothers). We were very spread out in age, with some of us clumped together. There was a short time in my life when all ten kids lived at home. Then the oldest left for college and then the next and so on. I am sure you can imagine, the arguing, fights, jealousy, tantrums etc., with that many kids. But, we also had the togetherness, secrets, camaraderie , the feeling of belonging and knowing that someone always had your back, and so on. So, yes, my siblings have been enormously helpful in my writing. Every time I need to imagine a time in my life when I felt the same emotion that my character is experiencing, so that I can better express it in my writing, it is easy to conjure up images and memories of just about every emotion . I can easily pull anger, love, fear, terror, anticipation, confidence, smugness, irritation, annoyance, hatred, rage, sadness, etc. (the list is infinite) from my memory bank. I take that back. I would probably have a difficult time conjuring up the feeling or experience of loneliness. We didn't have much alone time and the best part about having such a large family is that I was never alone or lonely. I enjoyed your post.

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  67. Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
    Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
    Yours. Have a nice day. !

    Follow me on facebook fanpage and blog
    I'm very concerned about this, please. :)
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-another-light/413836138693856

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  68. This is lovely! The people who inspire us are so special :)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  69. This is really inspirational! I'm glad that you find your inspiration in your past experiences.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  70. What a beautiful post. Yes, I feel that way about writing. I can think of some people who exude magic and wonderment.

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  71. I adore this post! How wonderful that you had that magic as a child. I did too. And I was a storyteller from the time I was little, whether I was playing with my dolls or making silly home movies or directing a neighborhood play. When I grew older I focused on acting, and in the last several years I have come to embrace writing. All these things are my way to capture that magic you're talking about. Thank you for sharing this. <3

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  72. Wow, you and your sister are some impressive ladies! I watched enough dance shows to know that it takes tons of discipline to be in ballet. It's neat that you guys have such a wonderful connection. I hope you can capture more of your childhood and bring it to life in your stories. My daughter inspires me. I think of how she'll be when she becomes a teen, (a dainty little beauty busting at the seems with energy and life)and I weave parts of her into my YA stories. Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed it. :)

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  73. Your sister sounds awesome! I love that quote from her!

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  74. Leave it all on the stage. Leave it all on the page! Your sister's quote is awesome and your post, like always, is so inspirational. Hope you and your family had a great weekend. :)

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  75. i totally think that if you give it a go on writing something you know or are interested in knowing...you've got some edge. ive said it on facebook, but man, i love that photo of you to...squeezing you till you pop!

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  76. Wonderful, wonderful pictures and inspiring post! Thanks for sharing!

    Nas

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  77. I love this! I was just a little girl at CBT when you danced there and always looked up to you Morgan! I also have such fun memories with Becky. What cute sistas you gals are :)

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  78. Great post! (And I love those photos! Beautiful!) I totally know what you mean. :) I showed horses as a kid, (and some as an adult, still) we traveled all over the country doing it. I recently wrote a novella set in that world and it was so fun! I'm actually planning on writing another. It was such a special time in my life.

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  79. Yes I relate to this completely! Beautiful post.

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  80. Really inspirational post :) I've got a book I've been working on with a different idea than what I'm used to, but the research makes it more exciting for me and I like to learn new things. :) Thanks for sharing! :)

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  81. Beckee, in case you scrolled down far enough to find me here as #85, if I were you, I'd be skimming all these posts, glossing over the substantial, literary ones and looking for any references to how beautiful I am. No wonder Uncle Dean will never die until he sees you dance again! I always wanted to dance (but alas, I settled for the least coordinated thing you can do which is running and even then my coach said my gait was too bouncy). Perhaps the art is best left to talent such as you and Morg! Happy bday and invite me too if you ever take the stage again!

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