I’m not shy. I’m just really, really, REALLY quiet.

I am shy.  I’m a shy, shy person.

If you know me from my work, this will come as a surprise to you, I’m sure. Working with young children means that I must work with grown-ups as well. I have to be bright, bubbly, informative and almost aggressively friendly. Those parents entrusting me with their most precious commodity need to trust that no matter what either they or their child needs, I’ll be there and I’ll be able to provide.

At work, I find this easy. I’m glib and fun. I’m just the kind of person you want caring for your family. Really. Put me in a room full of people over the age of four, however, and suddenly I’m the kind of person you notice because they are trying so hard not to be noticed.

It’s almost as if I’m a different person. I stumble over words. I hide my smile. I become suddenly and completely engrossed in any available reading material. You’d be surprised how many Far Side Calendars there are in the world, or how interesting the back of a CD case can be.

I have always been shy, and really it’s no longer a big problem in my life. I like people and all, but I also have learned that I keep myself pretty good company. Besides, the bratcat would never let me get too lonely.

I am a little bit worried, however, that my wall-flowery attitude will eventually get in my way when I am finally ready to publish. A huge part of publishing anything is self-promotion. Just the idea of pressing the flesh and selling my self as a part of my product scares the bejebbus out of me, and I need all the bejebbusses I can get.

Sometimes, when I contemplate my future, I find myself wondering if I’m up to the task. Once that thought hits, it’s all I can do to keep from closing my file, turning off my computer and hiding under the covers of my bed.

What about you all?  What scares you?  Have you figured out a way to get beyond it and get what needs to be done?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

By the way…

It has come to my attention that my good friend, sister of the soul, some time writing companion and all around great gal, Leanne D. Baldwin disagreed with my recent essay, “America’s Love Affair with All Things Zombie”.  What’s more, she’s disagreed in a very pubic manner.

You can find Leanne’s silly, interesting article here.

Mind you, Leanne is my very best friend in the world, my sister of the soul, my sometime writing companion and an all around swell kind of gal.  She is normally the smartest person that I know. Further more, she, like every American, has a right to her opinion, no matter how, shall we say, misguided.

I’m sure she simply misunderstood my position or she would have never made such a silly mistake. Once she realizes this she will no doubt apologize, just as publicly, and we will have a virtual hug and all will be forgiven by me.

I’ll wait politely.


America’s Love Affair with All Things Zombie

America seems to be obsessed with zombies. If you Google the word, zombie, you will get 141 million hits. Googling zombie games will get you 16,800,000 hits. On the Barnes and Nobles site, BN.com, searching the word zombie will bring up 1905 matches. And all of that is just the very tip of the grave stone.

Everywhere you look there are zombies. They are on the television, at the movies, in video games and in books… lots and lots of books.

I had managed to miss this trend entirely until my well-meaning friend and total zombie geek, Kevin, introduced me to the movie Shawn of the Dead. If you have never seen this movie, you really should. It manages to be scary and hilarious all at the same time. It’s basically the story of an average guy living an average life until the world around him starts going all zombie, and some how that works out pretty well for him.

I was surprised by how much I liked that movie. I had expected to be either grossed out, bored or both bored and grossed out. I had not expected to be entertained, but, since I was, I decided to go out and explore life with the undead.

My next foray into the world of the living dead was the book, World War Z by Max Brooks, the son of actor/director/all around funny guy Mel Brooks. This is a history, ala Stud Terkelesque interviews, of the zombie wars that have, at the future time of this book, decimated the world, but not destroyed humanity. It starts from a patient zero and follows the wars through to their aftermaths in a frightening plausible way.

After reading this book, I was officially hooked. I had to find more.

I have now read at least ten anthologies of zombie short stories, watched several movies about zombies, am contemplating buying a zombie game, and am writing a novel in which one of the major characters is, in fact, a zombie. It all leaves me with one undying question. Why?

Why are we so obsessed with zombies. My guess is that the idea is just so primal. A zombie is an unthinking, uncaring and almost completely unstoppable force that we cannot hope, in the end, to control or defeat. It is, I think, much like our own basic urges.  We all feel rage, love, hunger, lust and we all worry that we will not be able to control those most basic of human motivations; that, in the end they will defeat us.

Through portrayals of zombies we can live out our fears in a non-threatening way. We can control them, even stop them, or we can let them run amok and discover what happens, all in the confines of our favorite easy chair. The world is safe from us and we from it. We can live to die another day.

Or… maybe, these stories are just plain fun.