News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 17, 2012

Acclaimed author shows demons can become blessings

Walls speaks to packed house at ISU

TERRE HAUTE —

Your greatest personal demon can be your biggest blessing – that’s the message from Jeannette Walls, a best-selling journalist and author who spoke to a packed house at Tilson Auditorium on the Indiana State University campus Tuesday night.

Walls, whose memoir, “The Glass Castle,” has been on the New York Times bestseller list more than four years, recalled the tough times in her life, such as growing up poor with irresponsible parents, before an audience of more than 1,200.

But she also shared how extreme difficulty can make a person stronger and can even be an advantage.

“I’m a fighter and a scrapper,” Walls said. That’s the benefit of her difficult childhood. “But there’s a downside.” The downside is believing you are unworthy, she said.

Walls told how, as a successful celebrity journalist in New York City, she was once horrified when she looked out of the window of her limousine to see her then-homeless mother fishing through garbage. Walls said that she worried people would learn of her mother’s condition, costing Walls her career and lifestyle.

Later though, Walls said she faced herself in the mirror and didn’t like who she saw. It was then she decided to write about her life and no longer hide from her “really weird” childhood.

“Life has a funny way of catching up with you,” she said.

“The Glass Castle” has been assigned reading this semester at ISU. Walls said she didn’t think anyone would read the book or like it. She also assumed it would bring her nothing but “shame and humiliation,” she said.

The opposite turned out to be true. Walls’ book has been translated into 22 languages and has sold more than 3.5 million copies. It is currently being made into a movie by Paramount.

“We’re all stronger than we realize,” Walls said.

Walls said an early dream for her book was that it would inspire a “rich” kid to treat a poor kid better. Then she dreamed her book would inspire a poor kid to believe in him or herself.

“The worst part about being poor is the shame,” Walls said.

Walls encouraged her audience to face their demons and turn them into strengths. If you can face the demons of your life and harness them, you can use them to your advantage, she said.

She also encouraged her audience to not fear failing. Fear of “falling” keeps some people from leading the lives of which they are capable, she said.

“There’s no shame in falling,” Walls said. “Pain is a very good teacher.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

                                                         

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Today in History for April 18th Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity