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My emotional Spanx

November 2, 2009

So busy lately… school visits and parties and book festivals – it’s all out of my comfort zone and therefore hugely, crazy exhausting. But the more I get out, the more I like it, and the more I like it, the more acclimated I get to actually talking to other grown-ups. Dare I say it: it’s fun!

This weekend was HUGE, with the Texas Book Festival. I got to meet so many great local (and non-local) authors, learn so many new things from readings and panels, climb a little more out of my shell… it was really energizing.

I’m pleased to report that I didn’t scorch my elbow off or pull hair out of my mouth while I spoke to Libba Bray, like many of us feared. In fact, I stood there, mute, with a huge dorky smile on my face. But she liked my Modest Mouse t-shirt, and she signed my book, so all-in-all the Libba Encounter of Aught Nine was a success.

For such a long time, I’ve been trapped in this house. Years, really. And it’s no one’s fault, just circumstances. Having the chance to do things like meet Libba Bray, or get together with a group of other writers – these are things I haven’t allowed myself to think about for a long time, because it just hasn’t been possible. On top that, I’ve never been a very social person, so initially, being trapped in the house wasn’t a very big deal. But now that my book is out, and the new book is coming out, it’s important for me to be able to leave the house. Not only that, I crave the attention and the insights and the critiques from my writing community. I don’t necessarily want to soldier along alone like I’ve been doing.

It’s funny, because I had this realization last year with my mama community. I didn’t want to ask for help, I didn’t want to accept help. I wanted to hunker down and hide in the house and just push through everything as best our family could. But then I realized that my mama community, my friends – they ARE my family. And to accept help from them wasn’t a sign of weakness or fragility, it was an acceptance of love.

Now that might sound pretty cheesy, but it’s true. And now I’m learning that the same thing can be said for the local writing community. They are here as support and empathy and encouragement – and as friends. It’s not something I should shy away from just because I feel that writing is solitary. The writing process can still be solitary even while you have a community supporting you – and that you support as well.

It’s nice to be around people. Sometimes that obvious statement isn’t so evident when you’re fighting the tsunamis that life keeps throwing at you. Saying that I’ve been treading water is incredibly cliche, but it really is the best metaphor. A wave comes, threatens to drown me and my family, and yet, our heads pop up above the surface.

I know there are more waves. There is a lot still to come this year with Ike-a-saurus. But it is less daunting when I realize I don’t have to face it alone. And as far as the books go, I am just thrilled to be sticking my nose into a community of such creative, supportive, amazing folks.

You guys are like my emotional Spanx. And that is awesome.

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