Y’all, I am so sorry I’ve been a blogging slacker lately. I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with my kids, polish my manuscript to have it ready for publication, working on a couple of freelance assignments I’m REALLY excited about and just, you know, living and whatnot that I totally dropped the blog ball. (Go ahead and laugh. You know I am.)
In the midst of all this, I was packing my entire family. Zeb and I dropped the kids off at my mom’s for the weekend so I could come to my first EVER writer’s conference in my favorite place on the planet, Auburn. And I don’t mean that in a stupid football fan girl kind of way.
Almost every major event that has happened in my life has happened in Auburn: it was where I found God on my own after my parent’s divorce (Or He found me. You pick, I don’t care. The result is the same.) It’s where I lived when I met my husband. It’s where we moved to go back to college after taking two years off to do mission work and figure out who we wanted to be. It’s where I had my first real job and bought my first real house and where I had my first real baby. (Not that there is another kind, but I was on a roll.) It’s the place I’ve lived the longest as an adult. (Five years is our record. Everywhere else has averaged about two.)
After the house I spent my childhood in burned to the ground, I’ve always thought of Auburn as home. To be here on the eve of my first book being published? Well, it’s nothing short of poetic.
I was also excited about this weekend because I finally got to meet some friends and writers who have been crucial to my writing journey. People who I’ve only talked to via Twitter and FB but who have been some of my biggest cheerleaders.
I’ve had a great time connecting with writers like Rachel Hawkins.
Our cyber friendship was sealed forever when she used this picture in her slideshow presentation about social media. (If you don’t get this you are probably in the wrong place.)
But my social ineptitude knows no bounds and I can make even the most casual encounter a horror to be recalled for centuries. Take, FOR EXAMPLE, when I introduced myself to NYT’s Bestselling Author, Joshilyn Jackson, after her AMAZING and stirring Q & A session.
If you’re not a writer you may not know but, y’all- it is HARD and lonely. There is no idle chit-chat, nobody a cubicle over doing the same thing you are doing, and possibly, not even anyone in your ZIP code who understands what this process is like.
So to hear Joshilyn speak, to hear her be so encouraging and to explain this journey as “The Long Con,” and how you HAVE to just do the work. You have to just write. To trust yourself. To trust that your muse isn’t going to run out of stories to tell… (God, I wish I had the whole thing recorded.) It was amazing and beyond encouraging.
(Side bar: I am a crier. I cry about EVERYTHING. This is not an exaggeration. Happy tears. Sad tears. Tears of laughter. Any emotion other than “I must now unload the dishwasher,” ellicts tears. And if I’m going to be totally honest, sometimes even that.)
After the session Joshilyn made the enormous mistake of making eye contact with me. She should have gone to Rachel Hawkins’ first session. She would have learned, “Thou shalt not engage the crazy.” I introduced myself and (I am so sorry to the mutual friends/colleagues whose names I mentioned in my intro.) Then, THEN I went on to try to tell her how much it meant to me to hear her story and I started sobbing. Not just one or two tears sliding down my cheek that could be patted away with the back of my hand.
Real tears, streaming down my face a la Tammy Faye Baker with less mascara. (But not by much.)
I was sniffling. There may have been a few hiccups.
I. Was. Mortified. Then I made my next mistake: I acknowledged how cray-cray I was acting.
“Oh my God. I am so sorry. I am such a jackass,” I cried.
“It’s okay! You’re okay!” She assured me.
“No! This is so awkward for you. I’m so sorry.”
“You are alright!! Don’t worry about it.”
She hugged me and patted my back.
She had to HUG ME and PAT MY BACK.
The girls sitting in front of me tried not to make eye contact as they filed out. I couldn’t blame them.
I finally sort of got myself together and went to find my friend, Jodi and told her what I did.
The rest of the day went fine and during cocktail hour I even made myself approach her again to prove to her (and myself) that I was capable of talking without snot bubbles.
The girls that sat in front of me in the workshop ended up at the table with me and Jodi at lunch and we invited our new friends, Kristin & Allie to dinner to meet another one of my cyber besties (WHAT UP HOLLY!?)
During dinner I was telling Holly what an idiot I was and Allie said, “Oh don’t feel bad! It was so endearing! We all know how you feel! I sent Kristin a text and said, ‘Hey, let’s invite the girl that was crying to lunch.'”
For. The. Love. Y’all.
I am “The Girl That Was Crying.” WAAAAH!
Good news: I bet none of them ever forget me.
Bad news: I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
Please go by Joshilyn Jackson’s books, as she may need the money to pay for therapy after being ambushed by an overly emotional socially awkward mother who doesn’t get out much.