Friday, September 22, 2006

About ourselves

So I am at the school giving a "workshop" on how books get made. God knows why I agreed to do it; it's like my worst nightmare: put me in front of a small, uninterested crowd and talk about something that bores me shitless to do, let alone explain.

But curiously, as is so often the case, I found I was quite good at doing what I feared. The fear makes me react in the wrong way sometimes, so that I will act like a prick when I'm nervous, but this time I was able to relax. Because I had nothing prepared and was already convinced it would be a disaster and all the kids would go home and tell their mothers how much I sucked, I was cool with it. (I should explain that I don't actually care that the mothers of Mansfield think I suck at giving workshops: I suffer from entirely irrational fears, which given how capable I am at reasoning is a fucking pain in the arse.)

I decided the kids would have more fun if I let them talk about themselves, their aspirations, whatever. They like that. Well, who doesn't? We all like having someone be interested in us. And I like being interested in people.

New people are a thrill, particularly if they will talk about themselves beyond the banal. What do they fear? What do they love? What do they want? You will never bore me if you talk to me about who you are, not who you're projecting or think I want you to be.

I was delighted in giving my workshop to have a piece from someone I had never "met" before (it seems a bit strange to talk about meeting people online when you'll never physically meet them in this lifetime). I expect she'll be less delighted when I ask her something deeply personal that will make her blush beetroot-coloured but I enjoy doing that too. And you know, stepping over the line is nearly always fruitful. People have so much more to offer when they let their guard down and show you what they have. I am always willing to know someone better, to know more about them, because I have an abiding faith in people, a belief that they are worth more than they credit, much more in many cases, that they are worthwhile if they only know how to let themselves be. Ultimately, I am willing to find something to love in them.


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