Intern Morgan shares a secret.

As the title might suggest, I have a crush on Steve Almond.

The keynote speaker at Conversations and Connections this year, he gave an amazing, humorous, helpful, poignant, tangible, hilarious speech. The theme weaving throughout: lowering the bar.

Here are ten (10) bijoux de sagesse that stuck with me:

1. “Readers want truth in a world constantly shat upon by marketing.”
2. “Most of writing resides in resolving your own doubt.”
3. “Do what you can and forgive yourself the rest.”
4. “Obedience is the sworn enemy of the comic satire.”
5. “You have to be willing to risk overexposure.”
6. “Art is what happens when you convert the ugly truth inside of you into beauty.”
7. “Stick with your obsessions.”
8. “Write towards mercy, never in revenge.”
9. “It is the job of the writer to figure out how the love inside the characters got disfigured and turned into evil…what happened all those years ago.”
10. “Nonfiction is a subjective view of things that occurred objectively.”

Inspired by Steve’s book, Bad Poetry, I’ve taken to writing my own, mostly lamenting my unrequited love for him, with violently Shakespearean undertones. For example: “Oh, Steve! Shall I compare thee to that ever-mentioned summer’s day?/Thou art more sassy and more married.” Perhaps I’ve lowered the bar too much.

Perhaps I must let this one go.

Yet still, I am completely inspired by what I heard. I felt a kinship with revolutionaries upon hearing their leader speak. I wanted to jump up and shout, “Yes! I can do it too! We can all do it.”

Check out Steve’s website, and buy one of his books. Many of which he has self-published.