(this is dated a few days, because I typed it on my home computer...)
Because I am using this blog to document my progress toward becoming a more courageous and less painfully shy person, I should take a moment to talk about trying to be social and social experiments gone awry.
I love living in and near the city of Chicago. I feel like my years in a small rural town near coastal North Carolina (affectionately called “the swamplands” by my friend, Rachel) kept me small and afraid, though I do have a pride about my old home and a fondness for the things that made me who I am. But in the city, there is so much life and energy and I struggle constantly to remain a part of it. Though my nature is to be reclusive, being reclusive makes me feel depressed and lonely. Thus, I struggle to surpass my reflex to recoil and hide. This is not easy, though.
I find myself longing for the kinds of friendships I had in the good ol’ days (back down South). Since I want to live here, though, I know I need to create something for myself here. So this year alone, I have attended Halloween parties, gone to concerts and nightclubs, shown up for movie nights, readings, plays and I’ve made it a point to talk to people as often as I can. I always feel afraid, but if I can manage to do something that scares me it becomes an adrenaline rush. And really amazing things happen. In attempting to start one writing group, I’ve ended up with a possible two. By seeking out favorite authors to meet and get to sign my books, I stumble upon new ones (and new opportunities, ideas, etc.).
This coming week, the wonderful, amazing American Indian author Sherman Alexie (Ten Little Indians, The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight In Heaven, etc.) will be at the Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard (7pm, Thursday, November 8th). I’m definitely going and if at all possible, staying to have him sign my book (the only one of his I own, though I really should own more). And this very Sunday (November 4th), will be a meeting of the writing group I have been trying so hard to get off the ground. Hopefully, that will work out.
I’ll keep everyone posted on how it goes.
I have far too much living to do to let anxiety and fear of social situations get the best of me. How can I be a writer if I am never able to speak to other writers or show my work (or yes, even read it in front of people)? Maybe each week, I should give myself a challenge. This week, I have two goals – two challenges. Next week? Who knows.