Just ordered “On Writing”… Stephen King’s book on, well, writing.

Pretty excited to get this one in the mail. After seeing this list of all of Stephen King’s books, ranked in order of quality (or awesomeness, if you are my bro-in-law), I just had to place an order.

I like books on writing, especially by highly successful writers. I enjoy reading their perspective of how they harness their creativity, how they push through the dog days of writer’s block, and why they love writing.

The world is filled with writers who just write  to get published and make bazillians of dollars-but there are some out there who are true artists, continually refining their craft– and no matter what their profession, a true artist is inspiring to watch.

I remember when my friends took me to Ruth’s Chris to celebrate an achievement. Our waiter was flat-out amazing. Hands down, the best waiter I’ve ever seen, and to date, the only waiter who mesmerized me. I was captivated, holding onto every word as if it was Bryan Cranston delivering his “intervention” monologue (another artist) . This waiter was an artist who loved his job and every item on the menu… and his descriptions were mouthwatering. I was inspired.  Another inspiring artist you should be familiar with is a film-only photographer,  Jonathan Canlas. His photography inspires me. Follow his blog. Today. If you can, fly him out to wherever you are for a photo shoot. You won’t be disappointed.

I consider Stephen King an artist–though I haven’t enjoyed (or read) all of his books.. but he seems to get better with time, and I can respect that. I’m excited to read this book to see how he has refined his craft, and how he has developed as a writer.

What artists inspire you?

My first try with Instagram

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After a nice Easter bbq Saturday we decided to stop and try a Sammy’s pie shake.

Who else uses Instagram?

Buy local

My wife and I recently went for a walk, pushing our son in his stroller as we enjoyed the nice spring weather. Within walking distance is a local nursery called “Estrada Farms Nursery,” which is owned by some friends of ours. We stopped by to look for some flowers to put in the front porch of our cafe. Their inventory was small because they had just re-opened, but their staff was very helpful. We got some great ideas of what to put in hanging pots, and made a commitment to go back. The pricing was fair, and service was excellent.

Later we drove past the nursery, and my wife said “even if paid a tiny bit more, I’d way rather spend an extra 30 cents, (now at this point, I thought she was going to comment on the proximity, or convenience). She went on to say “knowing it’s going to directly feed a family, rather a massive corporation like Lowe’s or Home Depot.”

I thought about that, and compared it to a  discussion I had  in college about that same subject where I had taken the other side–I’d prefer to go wherever gave me the biggest discount. This friend’s perspective was that if you always do that, then small booksellers and smaller chain gas stations will go out of business. At the time, I only thought of my own perspective, proclaiming adamantly that if a small business went out of business, so be it, that’s the cost of going into business.

I look back on that with a little bit of shame. How blind I was to the larger, social fabric of what it means to belong to a community. And as the years have passed, I’ve sadly watched as small local businesses all over the state have had to close their doors–and far too many have been local bookstores, with their quaint charm and smell of pages and leather that only a local bookstore can have. (My new favorite though is Pioneer Book, in Orem-charming, and a great inventory)

My point of view now, admittedly is influenced by small business ownership. Compare it to how once you are a server in a restaurant, you will forever be a good tipper. But this goes deeper than just “I know what they are going through” type of thing.  I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit, and think it must thrive in order for our economy and our country’s morale to turn around.Success in a small business gives you a unique shopping experience, a character and feel to that store that is impossible to find elsewhere. Giving you that experience is the gifts, buy their products. Pay a little extra for the ambiance. You are going to part with your money anyway, why not have it go to someone who has taken quite possibly the biggest risk of their life, shunned naysayers, and then dedicating their savings, their heart, their souls into building something that hopefully lasts?

It is a tough and brutal market for small businesses, and they rely heavily on word of mouth in order to grow and flourish. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate local bloggers and other people who take great pride in being able to point out the best local businesses to shop, which may be off the beaten path. I know firsthand the challenges that are inherent to business ownership, and believe me, there are plenty of them, without trying to compete with big box retailers and national chains.

So who are your favorite local restaurants and businesses? What small retailer do you recommend I go to in order to support their business endeavors?

Also, what blogs do you follow, or who do you go to in order to find the best local businesses?

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