Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Dare-you-to Me


Little known secret: I sometimes do things just to prove to myself that I can. For example, one time in college, I snuck out after curfew and coated the security guy’s windshield with dawn dish soap just to see if I could get away with it.

Think about how funny that is. Wiper fluid plus dish soap. It takes FOREVER to clean off.

It was a really elaborate plan. I had partners in crime. (Somebody had to get him out of his car) And guess what? We soooooo got away with it. Because there were no security cameras.

But anyway, I’m a fan of exposure therapy. And by fan I really mean, I love it like Lady Gaga loves minor chords and I hate it like cats hate water. I love it in theory and I practice it as much as possible. One day I shall conquer my fear of heights by skydiving. One day.

But here’s where it gets hairy.

When I decide I’m going to combat my hermitism (That’s a word, I promise. *shakes head*) by registering for a gigantic conference that is sure to be wall-to-wall people and I am guaranteed to be forced to talk to said people. I mean, I want to talk to them. Some of them. Most of them. It’s just…

Sweating.

Anxiety attacks.

Can’t breathe.

Words won’t move past my throat.

Find myself hiding in the nearest bathroom. Whimpering, I might add.

Hello, my name is Tawnya and I am an introvert. And possibly something else worse than an introvert.

But we’re not going to worry about that until May. *folds it up, puts it away in a little box, saves for later*

The point of this post was to share with you an instance where my personal “Hey, I dare you to…” worked to my advantage.

In October and November I read about two short story contests that piqued my interest. One was Pen and Muse's Dark Carnival and the other was REUTS Publishing's Project REUTSway. I should clarify that Dark Carnival wasn’t actually a contest but rather a participation sort of thing where the story was posted to their website.

My first thought was But I don’t write short stories.

And then Dare-you-to Tawnya said, How do you know? You’ve never tried.

And then I thought But what if I try and it sucks and people see how much I suck OMG I can’t are you CRAZY!!!

And DYT Tawnya said, Yeah. You’re right. You suck so bad you could never pull it off. Then she crossed her arms, rolled her eyes, and popped her gum. Which was basically her way of throwing down the gauntlet.

So I picked it up. And gave the short story thing a try. You know what? It wasn’t too bad. In fact, I actually kind of loved it. A story that can be wrapped up in a matter of 5,000 words? Yes. Count me in like Flynn. Ryder, yo. Holla, my Disney peeps.

Okay, whoa. Weird Tawnya just took over for a sec but I’m back.

Anyway, both experiences were super amazing. I learned a ton. Met new writer friends. Gained a couple critique partners. Explored creative places I never thought I’d explore (for some reason that one sounds dirty, but maybe it’s because I’m writing this on little sleep).

Dark Carnival is now going to be an anthology. So many amazing authors took part in this project. It’s going to blow your socks off.  And this Friday REUTS will announce the winners of their contest which will be published in an anthology. (I’m going to do another post on the specifics of Project REUTSway and how wonderful it was because there’s JUST SO MUCH AWESOME TO SHARE.)  

Here’s what I learned: I can write a short story that doesn’t totally suck.

Here’s what else I learned: DYT Tawnya, though a pain in my sitting parts, is clearly worth her salt.

Most of all, it never ceases to amaze me how many awesome things happen when I step out of my box (let’s see if I can remember that in May). You should try it. See what kinds of wonderful, wonderful comes your way.

And now, lyrics to live by…

 

Because I'm doing this for the thrill of it, killin' it
Never not chasing a million things I want
And I am only as young as the minute is full of it
Getting pumped up from the little bright things I bought

Tennis Court by Lorde

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