What Do You Do When You Fall?

Earlier this year I attended the theater to watch Captain Marvel. Anticipation for the movie was high as it was being cited as the first female-led superhero movie and given that Marvel has been succeeding at producing high-quality movies even after so long, it was poised to do well. I enjoyed it, as if there would have been any doubt, however, there was a part of the story, of Carol Danvers’ personality, that I really connected with. It was that no matter how often she was knocked down, fell down, or failed, she stood back up. She was relentless.

We all have choices. Often, we believe that we don’t, but we do. One of those choices is whether to give up or to press forward. I’ve come face to face with that choice repeatedly. In my writing, it’s almost a continuous decision as I stare down the corridor of continued lack of success. Afterall, things would be easier if I were to give up.

I’d have more time for playing video games.

I’d be able to catch up on watching all those shows I’ve wanted to watch.

I’d be able to read more (granted… I do need to read more).

I’d have more ability to goof off.

The only problem: I’d have given up on my dream. I’d have to let go of something that is an integral part of who I am.

I have only one choice after each time I see myself as having failed: get back up. Try again.

White Oak Author Fest 2019

It’s a week away.

On Saturday, October 19, 2019, I will be attending my 4th author event. This will be the second time I’ll be in attendance at the White Oak Author Fest held at the Crest Hill Branch in Crest Hill, Illinois.

This is a great place to meet authors of all styles, genres, and backgrounds. If you enjoy reading, then this is the place you need to be.

The event takes place between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. If you are in Illinois anywhere around the Chicagoland/Joliet/Aurora area, you should stop in.

White Oak Author Fest 2019

Crest Hill Branch Library

20670 Kubinski Drive, Crest Hill, IL 60403

Saturday, October 19, 2019

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

www.whiteoakauthorfest.org

Reducing Intake: Coffee

I’ve been cutting back on my coffee. Not much. Right now it is only by 1 cup a day (aka 2 coffee cups or 10oz’s). And even then, there’s been a little left in the pot when I wash it out.

The point is that there’s been a lot in my life that’s been rearing its ugly head in the months since turning 40. I am not sure whether it’s my getting older so my body is legitimately falling apart or if it is just that I am noticing it now. Either way, I have to start fighting back while I am still (relatively) young.

Coffee is where I am starting. On its own coffee is not an issue, especially since I drink it black. However, when drinking a whole pot… we’ll leave it as that it is too much.

Slowly, I’ll be slapping myself back into shape as well, turning to the track and the gym to hold back the progression of that beer belly that is beginning to make itself known.

Heading things off at the pass, before they get too far gone, is my goal. I was in shape two years ago. I was healthy two years ago. It’s time to reclaim that.

Old Stuff

Yesterday I grabbed an old case that I was keeping notes and things related to writing in. I am trying to revisit old methods of notetaking that I used to use, anything to do a better job than I am doing now.

As I am looking through it though, I found countless sheets of paper with notes, poems, and other stories all needing sorted. Dozens upon dozens of things I had forgotten about.

Over the coming weeks as I sort through them, I might post some things related to them. I might talk about how some of my poetry was great while some was beyond terrible. Either way, it is fun skipping down creative-memory lane.

When I Must Interact

People are gathering in the hall. Books surround them. I sit at my table, anxiously awaiting someone to approach me, someone to show even a moniker of interest in what I’ve wrote, the covers I designed, or even me. Do I look like an interesting enough person to talk to? Or am I just another bald, middle-aged, white guy in the long list of old white guy writers? Would talking to me offer them anything?

I try to spark a little interest in me by offering a glimpse into subtle interests of mine via overt means. An old typewriter, either an old 1920’s Royal or a 1930’s Underwood, sits on the desk while I try to display my attempt at wit via really-not-so-clever t-shirt.

Those who fall for the bait encounter someone that loves books, loves writing, yet struggles to have a meaningful interaction once the interaction happens. They also find a writer who often finds it difficult to talk about himself or his writing in a humble, encouraging way. This is what happened to me in the past and in eleven days from my writing this will happen again.

Being someone with social anxiety, it is easy for me to get wrapped up in my own crap, really as it is with anyone. Over compensating is often a trait that I do when trying to impress someone. And often, I feel that I have to impress someone as a way to cope with the fact that I am screaming on the inside, afraid that the person I am talking to won’t find me interesting, much less even like me.

Getting to these events in and of itself is a major feat for me. Normally when confronted with any social situation, my baseline instinct is avoidance. When I overcome the flight impulse, I then am confronted with a need to either go overly bombastic or to sheepishly hide in the corner. Apparently, there are a lot of writers also like this, although I don’t know many personally other than myself. It’s what makes me and others like me terrible salesmen.

Confidence would certainly help, but though there is a distinct difference between confidence and narcissism, being socially anxious makes any move towards confidence confused with the possibility of the dark side of the ego coin. In other words, I fear that any attempt at confidence will be taken as narcissism instead.

But I have been getting better at it. At least I am better at faking my own confident engagement enough to get me past the fight or flight of my fears. I’ve also been getting better at not going overboard, shutting up sooner (before inserting foot), and listening, focusing on what someone is saying rather than what is my closest escape route.

It will take time, but I am getting there. Maybe this year will be better because of the work I’ve done. I’ll see soon enough.