Saturday, October 9, 2010

One year and counting

It’s been exactly one year—this month marks the anniversary of my first workshop. It’s not like I hadn’t talked to people before, but only as a blogger. RD, much as I love them, treats me like their crazy Aunt Mabel, the weird one who doesn’t follow the rules and “travels” on her vacations.

This blog has always been part of my journey, because I’m short on sleep and stutter when I’m tired. Talking to people is hard. I sound like an idiot, and I know the people at work feel sorry for me ‘cause I don’t know how to do jumbles.

Egri said, and I love me some Egri—that a fish out of water is a dead fish, and a genius kept from his art is often a simpleton. Not that I’m calling myself a genius, but there are a lot of people out there way more balanced than I am. I still remember “walking” into the Black Diamond RWA workshop—I’d tagged it with the totally overwhelming title of Running in the Dark: Organic Structure for Character-driven Stories—and wondering if it was just me and the mod. If nothing else, I figured I’d be able to say I’d done it, and use it as a credit.

The first day, I got a lot of sleep—and when I woke up, some brave soul, intrigued by my stuff had said, “Hello?”

I was so utterly, absolutely grateful. I knew the mod and the workshop chair, and I didn’t want to look like a loser.

I jumped up on my soapbox, threw my arms out and...discovered a calling. People use the word “calling” to mean something you’re drawn to, like the people who become revolutionaries or religious figures, but I think it means something you can’t step back from.

It took ten minutes for me to realize that even if this woman hadn’t been abused in the physical sense, she’d been a victim of emotional bullying.

Many of us are.

We’re writers, and no matter what happens, we’re going to keep trying. The trouble is that there are a lot of tin-pot dictators out there, all with their own agendas. And even the people who mean well get caught up in the whole promo thing—go, throw a workshop, talk about your book. Or think holding a workshop is a good way to make money talking about stuff they know only casually.

Someone had downed this woman’s book and her process, and I was amazed she had opened herself up again. By the time the mod checked in three days later, there were about two hundred posts. Later, someone had to explain to me most workshops—especially the short ones—are pretty lonely and the mods are there to encourage people to talk.

Lol, guess that’s the blogger in me. If you like something, you comment.

The next workshop, I did for a friend—and it was one of those chapter things where it was open to everyone. Nobody cared and I have the sneaking suspicion nobody bothered to cut and paste or download the pdf either. My friend—a woman I admire greatly, was totally mortified. It was a high profile chapter and she’d hoped great hopes.

But, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ll never say I’m the end all and be all, because I’m not. I connect with some people, and other people still think I’m crazy.

To date, I’ve done six workshops and one actual in person lecture. I have three deconstructions over the next two months, and my first real opening is next June. It’s mostly thanks to Sharon, who found me right before the BDRWA workshop and sent me a totally random email. Whenever I get around to publishing my “tome” I’m parking that right up front.

“You’ll do.” lol...


Michelle (MG) Braden said...

So, "crazy Aunt Mabel" would you like to do a workshop for ESPAN? :-D

jodi said...

Only if I can call it "Crazy Aunt Mabel's Guide to Traveling", lol. Of course, MG. As long as it's not in November. I have two deconstructions and a consulting gig in November and I still need to cook a turkey.

...although that sounds kind of wrong. Make Thanksgiving dinner. Ahh, that sounds better. :)

Hailey Edwards said...

You have a gift, and people do leave your blog/workshops/posts with a sense of "it's okay to be me."

I write weird, in all ways. It's hard to find people who understand what I'm doing. (This could be because I don't understand it myself.)

So being told to trust my own process, and finding people like you who help me understand concepts I've been missing, is such a blessed relief.

jodi said...

lol, Hailey. I've spent such a long time trying to be okay with myself, the least I can do is roll it on.

Writing isn't just a calling, but a vulnerability.

And I'm still not done with Genette's book on Narrative Discourse. For a book written in English, it sounds like a foreign language. :(

liana laverentz said...

And what an interesting year it's been! You go, girl!

Angel said...


I agree you have a calling :) Your workshops have been the best and i've only started Savvy in Feb. I look forward to all of your workshops because i leave feeling better. Like i can do this.

I hope the next year is just as good if not better.


jodi said...

Raelz, thanks for dropping by. ((hugs))