Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Flooded with Thoughts: TS Imelda & TS Writing Fear
Historically, I've been a shy, reserved introvert who sneaked out into smaller, more familiar surroundings. I survived thirty years as a manager at Shell largely as a bundle of nerves, sometimes exposed as stress and a variety of health issues, and other times subdued by drinking or overeating. Now retired and learning introspectively, I'm assessing how my recent revelations may impact my life and my writing.
As many have seen on the news or experienced first hand, Houston got its annual dose of torrential rains that left many houses and cars flooded, and in this instance at least five dead! Many people, including myself, look at the pictures of cars stuck in the flood waters and think, "What idiots! Why would they risk their car and their lives and drive into obviously high waters? For what, a chance to get home earlier or maintain a level of bravado?"
Well, I myself got lured in by my own stupidity this past Thursday and paid a hefty price.
My family and I am fine but my transformational new Mazda Miata (see my summer blog) did not fare so well. Since Thursday it has truly pained me to even talk about the likely demise of my beautiful car, not to mention acknowledge the stupidity and of the situation. My car stalled out after about three blocks, unable to make a deep turn. I pushed it two blocks to dry safety but I fear I was too late to save her. Despite my embarrassment, in accordance with this week's theme of being authentic and vulnerable, I share my five learnings below:
Cars with 5” clearance to the ground should NEVER drive in heavy rains/floods!
I should not have abandoned my cheapness at a time like that. Now, I will likely incur at least $120 towing charge and $1000 deductible and maybe a lot more.
I’m frigin’ retired! I had nowhere to go! I should have crashed high and dry with my Writing Critique Group ladies at my friend’s 16th floor apartment and gorged on their cookies for a few hours!
I should never be in such a rush that I tune out my wife's angelic voice on my shoulder. She always is the voice of reason and caution and, damn it, she is right again!
You'd think after 53 years my ego would be predictable and I’d pause to realize the stupidity of my intended actions before I drive off into a river. NEXT TIME, I pledge!
Note: All feel free to post this list on my Facebook page at the next downpour!
Meanwhile, I've been expanding my introspection through more powerful books I'm reading. I'm concluding a series of three impactful self-help books that are making me pause...
Norma Hollis' book, Ten Steps to Authenticity, opened my journey by providing 10 steps to evaluate myself, understand my true strengths, and how to be proud and leverage them to be the best I can be.
Cheryl Richardson's book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care, provided 12 tips and exercises to take care of myself by living my true life. It spawned last week's blog "Living Unabashedly from the top of Kilimanjaro". My three favorite tips:
Ask others for help (Ch5): don't be controlling. We all need help sometimes.
Embrace sensitivity (Ch8): don't hide my sensitivity/introversion. Embrace it and protect it.
Speak up (Ch10): know my values and protect my pride. Speak up! The world needs to hear our voices.
Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, is what I'm reading now. In many ways it seems to build on the other two. In the early chapters it focuses on the stigma of being vulnerable and how we can reach new heights once we give ourselves permission to embrace that vulnerability. I look forward to reading on...
So how do these readings impact my writing specifically? I've pondered this in three areas:
My personal growth- in pursuit of my goal to live unabashedly (see last week's post), these readings give me new perspective on learning and living.
My writing- as a memoirist, I strive to dig deep, to bare my soul in both a therapeutic and inspiring way. These themes definitely help peel a few more layers of the proverbial onion!
My book marketing plan- this is the area I'm most concerned about. As a shy introvert, I'm least comfortable in front of a big room of strangers. Though I made many work presentations in front of crowds, it's one of the things I happily left behind at retirement. So with my book coming out next spring, I've received a lot of advice from other authors suggesting speaking engagements were a critical part of marketing.