March 25th, 2010

Battling shyness, and walking (or at least standing) tall


This morning, I’m reporting to you, live, from the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Allentown, where I’m attending the two day, pre-conference workshop with James N. Frey which starts in a couple of hours.

As I’ve mentioned before, like many folks, I have a problem with shyness, especially when I’m around a lot of people I don’t know, so after I arrived here yesterday afternoon I decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool to calm my nerves before heading down to the bar/restaurant to see if any other attendees had arrived. 

Sad to say, my cunning plan was thwarted when I got there and read the ‘No swimming in the pool by yourself’ placard – though if I’m honest, I’d already half-changed my mind  when I saw the harpoon rack mounted on the wall beside it.

Only slightly daunted, I got changed, caught up on LJ, then went to the dining area, but it was still quite early and I ended up eating alone. Later (about 7ish) I tried again, but I only managed to stay in the bar for about 10 seconds before panic dragged me out of there by the scruff of the neck.

I HATE being shy!

I ended up talking a twilight stroll around the hotel car park. I don’t know if it was the sight of three rabbits, the sound of the birds, or even the sound of airplanes landing on the other side of the street, but by the time I got back inside, I felt much more in control. 

I went back into the (still mostly empty) dining area, determined to strike up a conversation with someone, but as I got there my friend, Tori, from the last two Write Stuff conferences arrived at reception. I introduced myself to another lady, Eileen, who looked like she was a writer, and the three of us had a pleasant chinwag. We were even joined by another GLVWG friend, Kathryn Craft, who also writes for The Blood-Red Pencil

We ended up chatting until about 10:00pm, which was a lot more fun than sitting in my room by myself and watching the telly all night.

This morning, I feel much more confident, especially after I got a taste of what it’s like to be really tall. I’m only 5-foot 9 in my socks, yet the top of the shower rose was no higher than my (admittedly somewhat expansive) forehead. 

Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why were you wearing your socks in the shower, Jon?’ but that’s not important right now. The thing is, I feel much more relaxed about walking into a crowded room this morning, and that’s always a good thing.

Anyhoo, I think I hear my fried breakfast calling to me, so I’m off to make some new friends and meet some old ones.

Wish me luck!

ETA: It's 11:30pm.  The day went exceedingly well.  I knew Jim Frey would be informative, but I didn't expect him to be so entertaining!   I can't stand the pace, so I've left the guys chatting in the bar. 

Thank you for all your supportive comments.  Today was a lot easier.  As always, once I made that first step things went swimmingly.