"Not Good Around People."
I'm very leery-eyed when it comes to my social life. Being a writer may be the cause of it, maybe. Spending hours inside being afraid of the sun and the "kids on skateboards" feeds my paranoia like prunes feed a Floridian snowbird. Sitting at a computer, writing, doing what I'm doing now, it's solitary work. God help me when I have kids.
Believe it or not, I used to be very social. I still am, depending on the context. I went to Comic-Con this year and didn't panic vomit on people! That's good right? Networking makes the terrors go away. But if I'm mingling at a church gathering I feel like I want to curl up and live in the ground forever. At my weekly gathering (which sounds rather ominous), there I stood with a beer in one hand and a bratwurst in the other standing around a gaggle of guys talking shop and felt really out of place. This is strange too because I was buzzed and my inhibitions for small talk were exponentially lowered, but lo, there I was, staring into my cup with nothing to say. There was a time when I was better at small talk. Now I just glare, unintentionally. I've actually been told this, mind you.
Maybe I'm just not good around people? I swear, I'm not trying to be that "author who doesn't like talking to the kind folks at home" kind of guy.
Maybe the reason why I'm spilling my guts, though, is that I am slowly approaching this event horizon that will finally put me into contact with real life forever. The only alternative is eating paste and playing Dungeons and Dragons with three large-breasted men. One of the most important things about being an author is having an audience. I love what I do and love creating stories, but without someone to hear them I feel like I have schizophrenia. I have a surly WW2 marine, a bi-sexual art student, an Irish drunk, and a subterranean lizard man all stuck in my head. They get very loud and very unruly without their daily purgings.
I have been charged by my designer to go outside, into that terrible, suffocating fresh air and experience other writers midst intimate colloquiums where the word "vagina" is as common as they are terrifying. The idea of sitting in a room with people who are perpetually 20 pages in to their upcoming vampire romance is unsettling to me. It's not that I hate their lack of productivity. I've met a few of these kinds of people and they are really nice and well meaning. Nevertheless, I must entertain their pleasure centers and cultivate their interest in my craft in order for me to thrive as a novelist.
I have a few short stories that could be great ice breakers, but then that puts me in an odd position of, "Hey. Don't steal my shit, lest I beat you within inches of your life with the Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition." Being unknown helps in the beginning, but eventually you have to start thinking like a paranoid, pill popping, mental patient. Maybe I'm just not good with people though? Nah...
It's important to get out there and meet new people. I know that many of my favorite authors spent loads of time just writing material in reams and reams of various journals and serials. Has it gotten easier? Maybe. Chances are, if you are here, you were looking for pornography. Trust me, I am quite handsome. Maybe I should go bi-vocational?
Were I to offer you some advice on the meaning of being an author, I would say this:
Authors are fleshly creatures that need social contact to survive, so get out and contact your local newspaper, or editors directory, or poetry circle for that much needed support. I learned it rather late, but better late than never.
Hit the jump for more!