Author Magazine and the Wonderful Bill Kenower.

So, as many of you may know, I took a personal day in Seattle on Sunday on my way back home from doing readings in San Francisco. You can see the visuals here.
I met with Bill Kenower for an impromptu lunch in Pike Place Market and Bill wrote about it in his gem of an online magazine called Author. If you’re a writer, this magazine is a lifeline of heart language. Also, check out his video I posted a few months ago. What Bill has to say is not just for writers…

Here’s what he wrote.

Bellybutton And All by Bill Kenower
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Laura Munson this weekend, and the author of This is Not the Story You Think it Is gave me some astute advice, most notably: Everyone has a bellybutton. This is apropos to Laura because she had spent twenty years writing – and not selling – fourteen novels before authoring her breakout bestselling memoir. Like a lot of writers, those twenty years in the publishing wilderness were spent squinting at that distant spec of light called “success.”

Or so she thought. Because now, by a writer’s definition, she is a success. That is, she got a good advance, she found herself on Good Morning America, and she is being asked to speak all over the country. Success, right? But soon after we’d met she stopped me as if we could not take another step or speak another word until she had shared the following: “Bill, I got it,” she declared. ”There is no such thing as success!”

To some people this is defeat. To Laura, and to me, this is pure victory. First, because of the sudden attention she and her book have attracted, Laura now finds herself in some fairly distinguished company – at least by literary standards. And all these Great Writers she is getting to meet do indeed have bellybuttons, just as you do. Secondly, she is still Laura. She is who she always has been and hopefully always will be.

There is nothing in the world wrong with wanting to sell your work, or have lots of readers, or make plenty of money. Except none of those things, as you have often heard, will make you happy – but what you may not have heard is that to think they will actually draws you away from the very source of your happiness.

To place your would-be happiness out on the horizon is to condemn yourself to wanting and wandering. So romantic to glimpse it and yearn for it, but happiness can only be postponed for so long before life reveals this yearning for what it actually is: fear. Fear that this, this life we stand in now at this moment, bellybutton and all, is actually all that life ever is or was. Fear that it should be more. And it will be more – at the exact moment you accept that life has always been more than wanting, and that success is not some destination but the grace to allow through what you have always known.

Go Bill!


Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, My Posts

11 Responses to Author Magazine and the Wonderful Bill Kenower.

  1. I love what Bill wrote Laura. To me, since I read your book and have gotten to know you more through blogging, facebook, twitter, etc., you’ve always seemed like a real person living your life as honestly as possible. Of course I am happy you are receiving public attention and attracting distinguished company, but it’s you the person I relate to you in your writing, not Laura the successful author.

    • lauramunson

      I love what he wrote too. Success is an illusion. It’s who we are in our true, raw, and deep nature that is real. I know you know, Susan.

      • darcey

        This message is so awesome…i am going to print it out and keep copies to hand to people who are struggling in their quest for “success”.
        thanks for sharing!!!

        • lauramunson

          Shhhh… Just kidding. SUCCESS IS A MYTH! Yeah! Now we can all be free. But the one thing that getting published has meant for me is that I get to have readers. With blogs, however, that’s possible without publication. Good news…indeed. yrs. Laura

  2. Really nicely put. Not much more to say because Bill summed it up. How many times however do we have to hear the message that real happiness is in the moment – not future moments via success, fortune or whatever is just out of reach. Although I’m still dreaming of being a published writer, I experience happiness every time I sit on my horse and for this I am grateful and remain for those moments happily myself.

    • lauramunson

      I got on my horse today and felt it. Keep dreaming. Dream your life. And dreaming it on a horse…bliss. Hi, Gail. yrs. Laura

  3. This morning, getting my step-daughter ready for school, we talked about bellybuttons. Then I read this, and a bell rung in my ears. Isn’t true that it’s our shared flaws that connect us, not the “success” we reach for or that we portray to the world? Thank you for this timely post.

    • lauramunson

      I’ve been thinking about the belly button thing since I was a little girl. What’s the one thing that we all have that is exterior? A belly button. Right? And skin, I guess. But belly buttons are always funny looking and skin can be beautiful. Nothing sexy about a belly button. I love thinking about it when I’m around someone whom I deeply admire. The belly button is a great equalizer. Like weather. And puppies. Thanks for sharing, Kim. Yrs Laura

  4. I loved reading this. I wanted to be a “successful” writer because I thought it would make me happy, but I have realized this puts too much pressure on my life as a writer. Therefore, I have taken that pressure off and allow the happiness whenever and however it comes, all the while intending to feel good- because this is what it is about- feeling good, and bringing that energy to all that we do, creating an expansive space of vitality and creativity.

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