The Creative Introvert: Rock Shows, Book Launches, and Ferdinand the Bull
I'm one of those people who can be very sociable, who loves to chat, loves to laugh, tell jokes, tell stories, and hang out (especially one-on-one), but then after all that fun has to literally RUN back to their house, throw on pj's, and hug the dog for three days to recover.
For decades I thought I was just a freak who had some kind of social disability. I did my very best to hide it - I don't think many people who knew me in my 20's and 30's would say I was an introvert. I played in a band for years and years, stayed up WAY past my preferred bed time of 9pm, I was spontaneous, game for anything (while secretly loathing it), I was devil-may-care, a gad-about-town (now I sound like I'm about 100 years old), but deep down - even at 25 - I really just wanted to put on cozy slippers and sit by the fire. Kind of like Ferdinand the bull, sitting under his tree, smelling the flowers while the other bulls ran around and fought and were cool and tough.
But I'm also compelled to make things, and to share them. And a girl does need some adventures! So I forced myself out of my shell in my youth and had adventures galore. It was a blast, it was glorious, it was life-changing. It was also hard, uncomfortable, and sometimes really scary, but I did it. I lived in France for a year, I graduated college, and I played in Oswald Five-0, travelling all over the country playing shows of every kind, and recording.
And then I had a child, and my life changed - for a loooong time. And I liked it! A lot! It gave me "permission" to do the things I'd wanted to do all along - be cozy, go to bed early, eat healthy food, write, and read a lot.
And then that life got old, and so did my child, so again I was compelled to create things to share. Back to the extrovert. Writing and playing music with The Valiant Arms in Portland was an amazing way to create and share, and it was challenging because once again I had to perform, stay up late, move heavy things and get out of my comfort zone. But it was so fun and so rewarding that I did it, and loved it.
Then, I had to stop playing music in order to write my book. Introvert time again! There are only so many hours in a day, especially for parents, and one creative endeavor at a time was all I could manage. Four years later, the book is written, the child has moved out, I'm 50 years old, and finally at an age where I get to openly act how I feel. No more hiding my old lady ways! I'm officially an old lady now! :)
However, now I'm facing a whole new challenge. Having written a book, I need to promote it. These days being an author often means being a kind of performer - public speaking is a big part of the author platform, and if I'm being honest, it freaks me right out! Writing to me is such a solitary act, as is reading - it's where you have time to think, to write, to edit, to polish - and then to quietly release or publish or put out there...and in my perfect world, to then sit back and enjoy whatever comes to you. But that isn't how it works I'm noticing. You gotta' get out there, you have to have readings, signings, launches. You have to be in book clubs, literary societies, writing groups. You have to get reviews, blurbs, submit for awards, sit at booths, and be on panels. YIKES!!!!!
This seems to me harder than being in a band. Although the hours are better and you don't have heavy stuff to carry, and people aren't as drunk, you don't have HIGHLY AMPLIFIED MUSIC to hide behind! It's all about you - you speak. You tell stories, you delight a crowd. No guitars, no drums, no squealing distortion pedals - just talking. All alone. Ick! Is that really fun?
I will say this - thank you to the World Forestry Center. Why? Because part of my job when I worked there was to speak to groups who came in, about the museum. At first it was terrifying, then it was fine, then it was fun! I felt like a real adult up there, telling big groups of kids and teachers about the exhibits and forests in general. It gave me that feeling of confidence in front of a crowd - you just need to know what you're going to say, and maybe to have said it enough times to feel comfortable saying it.
Bridge of the Gods comes out in August. I'm five months away from publication and I start working with my publicist next month. I'm sure once I have some things actually planned and on the books I will feel better, even really excited - but right now I'm just waiting, imagining the worst-case scenarios like in bad dreams where you show up to your book launch naked, with nothing to say. Please dear god don't let that happen. At least I can probably count on not being naked. I may have nothing to say, but I promise not to be naked!
I don't know exactly where my book "launch" party will be held yet - my dream would be at Powell's, downtown where I used to work. The Rose Room (the children's room) is where so much of my inspiration for the book came. Specifically aisle 509 Horse Stories, aisle 510 Children's Classics, the Newberry Section, and of course aisle 507 - Middle Reader - "B"- for "Baum"(all things Oz). Being able to launch my own middle reader - set in Oregon - in the Rose Room would really be a dream come true. We'll see if that can happen, I do not know.
If it does, please come and help me face my fears with your friendly faces. It would be a glorious moment indeed, to be there with my book, and with all of you. :) I may have to hug the dog for a week afterwards, but that's ok!!!!!
No matter what else may happen, I will have a party at my house! And you're all invited! I will cook delicious vegan treats for you all, have sparkling soda for the kiddies and wine and whiskey for the grown-ups, prizes, and a little live music. I will happily dance out of my introverted shell for such an evening. I really miss all of you - my friends and family from Eugene, from past jobs, from past lives. So please stay tuned for details about book events as they arise, and for the party date, and let's celebrate!!!
Creative introverts unite!!!!! xoxoxoxo