Monday, February 16, 2009

Wolf in the Mall

I like to think I'm pretty brave. Needles don't bother me in the slightest. I have no qualms about wading into a dog fight and knocking a few heads together, or diving into a horse fight and diverting herbivorous rage (if you've never seen horses actually trying to tear each other's throats out, this one might not seem so bad) I don't have a problem with gaping wounds or dangling tissue. But put me in a room full of people I don't know and, well, it's like turning a wolf loose in a mall. I'll back into a corner where my flanks are protected and simply stare out at all the activity going on around me. If forced to leave my corner, I'll skitter across the floor dodging people like a mouse whose hiding spot has been discovered, or creep along the wall like a sniper changing positions. God forbid someone speaks to me (apparently my terror doesn't translate to my outward appearance) I stare for an inordinate amount of time before remembering how to form verbal responses and when I do manage to speak, I've forgotten what the person said to initiate contact in the first place and I'm forced to ask them to repeat themselves.

There's nothing wrong with being bad at talking to strangers, but you have to have a reasonable ability to converse with other people, escpecially when you're hoping to learn from them. All of this is coming around to the fact that I, a confirmed hermit have signed up to attend the Sirens conference being held in Vail CO in October of this year. I, who never went to a high school dance because I might actually have to talk to someone. But oh what an opportunity to learn! With guests of Honor like Kristin Cashore (personal hero since she's a debut author that I totally 'get') and Tamora Pierce, the conference which is in its inaugural year, promises to be full of information and people of all different backgrounds. All I have to do is manage to smile and respond. That shouldn't be too difficult. Hey, I'm sure that even wolves can learn to like the mall, or the food court anyhow. So until then, I'll be practicing my verbal skills and plotting how to avoid irking airport security.

And maybe I'll work on my computer prowess, since this is the second time I've written this blog because I didn't make my intentions to publish the first one clear and the computer ate it...

3 comments:

  1. I wish you the best of luck in your conference attendance. Go with the intent of learning new tidbits to improve your craft of writing. Don't concern yourself with speaking to any particular person. It's best to go with the flow. Sometimes I'm not at my best in speaking to strangers, and the first couple of words may be awkward. Keep on and you'll be amazed at how generous people can be at making you, the stranger, feel comfortable in their presence.

    You could think of this as a trial job interview where you have to try the waters before the plunge. I bet you will be just fine.

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  2. Ugh! I absolutely understand EVERY bit of this! I am the exact same way. I would be very content with hiding all the time if I could. Also didnt attend the dances. Am horrible at conversation w/strangers. Awkward is a good description. I am working on my first novel (YA Fantasy). What would ever happen to us if we actually got published and had to...gulp...speak at conferences and such? I will definitly need to work on the people skills.
    The Sirens conference sounds fun. Wish I could go! Good luck. I love Kristin Cashore too. I'm on her blog all the time and that's where I saw you...

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