Everybody Needs a Side Piece

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Sometimes, your main squeeze isn’t enough. You gotta branch out. You gotta find love in unexpected places. You gotta…go sell things at comic cons so you can make rent and maybe have a little extra.

What? Where did you think I was going with that, you pervert?

I’m talking about making a little extra cash from my hobby. My hobby happens to be typewriter literature on demand.

So now I’m the type of person who goes to comic conventions and writes custom stuff for people. “Stuff” is a technical term that here means “poems/letters/passive aggressive roommate notes/iambic pentameter grocery lists.” Really, I’ll write just about anything, and I’m not limited to comic conventions.

Flea markets, craft fairs, weddings, and other events are a definite possibility. Remote work is a possibility, too!

More info, including pricing, is available on the Bespoken Word page.  In the meantime, consider following my adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

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1 Book, 2 Book

There’s something different about my Amazon author page. 

Because of the excitement that bubbles through me whenever I think about my work with Writers Colony Press, I’m sure many of you have heard me mention that I’ve been working on another charity anthology. Until recently, things were pretty nebulous and I couldn’t say much.

This has changed; it pleases me. (Yes, you were intended to envision me steepling my fingers, cackling, and sitting on a throne-like office chair.)

I’m happy to officially announce my involvement with The Longest Night Watch, Volume 2.

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Volume 1 (pictured above) features stories by celebrated authors like R.R. Virdi (Dragon Award finalist & author of The Grave Report and the upcoming Books of Winter series) and D.R. Perry (author of the Providence Paranormal College series). Volume 2 features these authors and many more, including me.

Who/What is The Longest Night Watch?

The Longest Night Watch team is a crew of writers, editors, and other literary folks (like Sarah Anderson, our amazing cover artist) who came together in memory of literary legend Sir Terry Pratchett, who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2015. This anthology benefits the Alzheimer’s Association; all proceeds go to helping them stop the horror that is Alzheimer’s disease.

My Contribution

While I absolutely adored my work with Stardust, Always, I didn’t really. . . do a lot. I wrote a poem and I helped with marketing and promotion, but I was finishing undergrad at the time and couldn’t get too crazy with the time I could volunteer.

When this opportunity came up, I was gainlessly unemployed. It was delightful. (Of course, I later got a job and moved 600 miles, but that’s a story I’ve already told.)

Anyway, I was able to do more.

  • Writing. My first published short story, “The Fringe Point,” will appear in this anthology. I’d categorize it as sci-fi with a dystopian garnish and and a hint of Joss Whedon, but then I’d sound like a cannibal. Essentially, a lady space captain tries not to slip down the narrow crack between loyalism and revolution.
  • Beta reading. I volunteered to read some stories and poems for flow and plot points. I loved working with the talented authors and poets whose work this anthology showcases.
  • Promotion. Again, I wanted to use my Tweet-fu for the powers of good.
  • Editing. This sort of fell into my lap. One of our editors had to abdicate her position, and I said, “Ooh! Pick me!” I’ve loved every second of weeding out rogue commas and helping authors find the perfect word to say what they mean. I really love editing, and hope I get to do more of it in the future.

Where/When You Can Get It

The Longest Night Watch, Volume 2 will be available in Kindle and paperback editions on Amazon.com. You can pre-order the Kindle Edition for $2.99 here, and hopefully the paperback will be linked with that soon. The official release day is October 20th, so be on the lookout for more news on release day events/giveaways/etc.

More info is coming, but I just couldn’t wait to share!

 

 

Why I Have a S(p)ock on My Door

I am an adult. That’s what I tell myself, anyway — when I’m buying vegetables at Trader Joe’s, when I’m smiling graciously at a fellow driver who hasn’t discovered the turn signal, when I’m staring at the cracked pizza stone in my oven wondering How the heck did that happen? — I am an adult.

Sometimes, I think we expect adulthood to mean that we have all of our shit together.

For the past three weeks, I was doing so well. I bought sensible groceries. I downloaded a budgeting app for my phone. I vacuumed. I made salads for lunch during the week and ate them happily in the company kitchen like a real adult. See?

20160902_143831And then, on Wednesday, the spiral began.

When you move to a new place, there’s this thing that happens: you don’t remember when trash day is, no matter how nice your landlady/upstairs neighbor is about reminding you. So you come home from work, you yank out your earrings and take off your pants, you set the fancy new security system that came with the place, and you’re halfway through scrubbing off your mascara when you remember. Oh.

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So you shimmy into some comfy shorts, de-Winter-Soldierfy, and grab up your stinky garbage as you trudge towards the door (you martyr to the cause of responsible trash disposal, you). Only you forgot that you set the security system, and things. go. nuts.

The alarm is startling; it makes you jump and drop your garbage. And the only thing you’re thinking is My landlady is going to murder me. Her dog starts barking. The dog is old, and you wonder if you’re going to give the poor thing a heart attack. She loves that dog. She’ll evict you, and you’ll be out on the streets of a new city. Maybe they’ll let you sleep in the parking garage at work, you think. All the while, you’re punching in the code and wondering what you missed when the landlady taught you how to use the system.

Finally, she takes pity on you and disarms it from upstairs. She calls down the stairs:

“You okay, mi hija?”

“I’m fine. Sorry! Really, really sorry. I forgot.” You ramble on for a few more minutes, and she laughs at you and tells you that she did the same thing when she first got this thing installed.

Your heart doesn’t stop stomping on your ribs from the inside for several minutes. That’s it, you decide. I’m never using that thing again.

And you don’t, not until you make the mistake of watching the news, and you realize that you live in the suburbs of one of the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas, and that there are people out there who inspire Criminal Minds episodes. So you start using the security system again, but you have to find a way to remind yourself not to set it off. So you find a sock–a Spock sock, because you’re a giant nerd, and you fit it over the doorknob. You’re halfway to your bedroom when you remember that this is something people do to warn others that they’re — well, you know, making Marvin Gaye songs into reality.

Or at least, that’s how it all went down for me. This entire mess taught me a few things: 1) I’m not as well adjusted as I thought, 2) My life is truly a hot mess at the moment, and 3) That’s actually kind of okay. I win some.

(Here I am winning at decorating my cubicle at work, because I’m a grown-up and I have a cubicle.) 20160823_180121

I lose some.

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(RIP cilantro; at least the basil survived.)

But all in all, I’m figuring it out. Cracked pizza stones, beeping alarm systems, socks on the doorknob, unpacked boxes, piles of laundry, shower sob-fests, whispered I want my mommys and all, I am adulting. I haven’t died. I haven’t gotten arrested. I’m really good at my job, and I’m really good at being me. And even if being me means being a hot mess, I’m actually pretty okay with it.

When the Jenga Tower Stays Up

 

I’ve played a lot of Jenga games in my lifetime. Okay, so I’ve played about five games of actual Jenga, and the rest have been metaphorical.

For those of you who don’t know, Jenga is a game in which wooden blocks are stacked to make a tower. Every player has to remove a block during their turn and place it on top of the tower, which gets less and less structurally sound as the game goes on. The last person to remove and place a block successfully before the tower topples is the winner.

In life, Jenga can appear a lot of places. In college, for example, Jenga was everywhere, including the trashcan in my crowded dorm room, with Easy Mac containers and instant mashed potato bowls towering to impressive heights before scattering all over the asbestos tile floor.

Jenga also appeared in my studies. I carved out blocks–from my sleep, from my social life, from my sanity–and stacked them on top of an invisible pile of credentials, hoping to reach enough to get a job without toppling the tower.

After graduation, the tower became more and more unstable. I had removed over 44 blocks (applied to more than 44 jobs). I had cried enough tears to fill the 28 glasses that Michael Phelps could rest on his 28 medals if he ever decided to use them as coasters. I had dug and dug into myself to find the best blocks to present at the top.

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But after everything, I did it. I now work as a proofreader for a successful tax news organization in the D.C. area. My office is lovely, the company is ethical, my coworkers are great, and there’s dental. It’s a wonderful setup, and I am very grateful and blessed to be where I am today.

I wouldn’t be here without digging, though. In my search for more blocks, I found Writers Colony Press, the publisher of Stardust, AlwaysThe Longest Night Watch, and the upcoming The Longest Night Watch Volume 2, which will feature my first published science fiction story, “The Fringe Point.”

I also found aspects of me that I hadn’t before considered. Every interview that made me think about my weaknesses actually made me stronger in the process. Every time a prospective employer ghosted me, it taught me the value of being open and honest with your interactions, even when you may disappoint someone.

Bottom line: keep digging. Keep stacking. The respite comes just before you’re sure you’re going to fall.

 

Grave Beginnings: #IndieAuthorsBeSeen #1

 

I’ve been doing mainly three things this month:

  1. CampNaNoWriMo
  2. Plumbing the pits of hell Searching for a job
  3. Rediscovering my love of reading.

There’s something about spending 4 years reading Moby DickMadame Bovary, The Sound and the Fury and other books that you’re “supposed” to read that makes you never want to pick up another book as long as you live. While I was getting my degree, my reading-for-pleasure speed was slower than an AT&T representative stuck in quicksand. (That’s really, really slow in case you were wondering.)

After graduation, I decided to see how dead my love of reading was. I elected to use some of my graduation money to buy myself some books for pleasure. R.R. Virdi’s Grave Beginnings was the first book I bought. After finishing this fast-paced, gritty-yet-humorous urban fantasy, I’m pleased to report that my love of reading was only mostly dead.

 

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Which, as Miracle Max points out in the best movie ever The Princess Bride, is “still slightly alive.”

It turns out that R.R. Virdi is a bit like Miracle Max himself. I sped through Grave Beginnings like a strapping young Cary Elwes saving his lady love, and I didn’t even need Inigo and Fezzik to wheel me around in a wheelbarrow for a while first.

Okay, so all references to my favorite book and movie aside, Grave Beginnings is a complete and utter treasure.

The plot

Vincent Graves is a soul without a body–or at least he doesn’t remember what his actual body looks like, where it is, or what happened to it. He wakes up in the bodies of people who have been murdered by supernatural baddies, and it’s up to him to solve the case. Each time he awakens in a new body, he’s given a tattoo of how many hours he has to solve the case. This time, it’s 13. This time, he’s in the mysteriously-young body of a guy who should be much older according to his records. This time, he has to deal with a plucky, sassy, and perceptive cop who won’t leave him alone.

This adventure is Castle-meets-Supernatural-meets-Aladdin-meets-something-Joss-Whedon, and it’s awesome.

Why you need to read it:

1) Great characters

I was going to leave it at this, but because this is an indie book with a small fandom, I’m going to gush about the characters here because I have no where else to do so.

  • Vincent Graves: 1st person protagonist who doesn’t make me feel as though I’m reading a teenage girl’s diary, which is rare and very appreciated. Plus, with a story like his, we definitely don’t just want Vincent for his body.
  • Ortiz: FINALLY. A strong female character who is not straight out of the Strong Female Character(!) mold. Ortiz is real, relatable, compassionate, and flawed in ways that aren’t pulled out of the Strong Female Character Flaw Jar (just $19.95 if you order today).
  • Church: Maybe I’m biased because I ALWAYS crush on the sidekicks and am a hopeless fangirl, but I really love Church’s mysterious character and dry wit. He’s kind of a dreamboat. *Sighs and adds another one to the List of Characters Kate Post Would Totally…* You know what? You don’t need to know the full title of that list.
  • The Villain (no spoilers): Does. Not. Disappoint. Let’s just say that if you read Grave Beginnings, you’re in for some hot times.
  • Assorted excellent side characters, particularly a curmudgeonly gnome that reminds me of Supernatural‘s Bobby Singer.

2. Excellent authorial voice

Virdi’s a snarksassin, and it comes out in his work. You’ll be engaged from page 1 to the very end.

3. Fantastic pace and speed

There’s never a moment when putting down this book seems a good idea.

4. A+ use of mythology

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5. Sarcasm and puns: they’re what’s for dinner.

Not buying this book would be a grave mistake indeed.

TL;DR

This is an excellent book. While it does have a few editing issues that I, as a card-carrying member of the Grammar Police, could not ignore in good conscience, it more than makes up for it in other areas. Great characters, great story, and a great–if Grave–beginning. I already bought the sequel, Grave Measures, and I can’t wait to start reading.

Get Grave Beginnings hereGrave Measures here, visit the author’s website here, and follow R.R. Virdi on Twitter here. He posts some great stuff from time to time. For more indie books to read, check out 6 Summer Reads That Deserve Your Money On #IndiePrideDay, and 9 Canadian Indie Books That Deserve Your Money On #CanadaDay/#IndiePrideDay.

 

I’m a Writer, Not a Trophy Wife

Blog Bucket List

Use McCoy’s catchphrase in a title. 

TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

TISATAAFWPE: There Isn’t Such A Thing As A Free Writing Piece, Either.

As I wrestle the kracken known as the job market, there is one thing that I keep running into as a writer: “job” postings for writers that don’t offer compensation of any kind. Sometimes, it’s phrased in a particularly crafty way: “Exposure-centered compensation” or “Excellent portfolio-building opportunity.”

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Ahem. These “jobs” usually involve a writer putting in hours upon hours of work per week only to come up with empty pockets. We have bills to pay, too. “He who controls the Spice…” and all that.

No, not the charity stuff

There’s nothing wrong with doing charity work. I love it. See?

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When a writer chooses to write for free for a good cause, it’s like a doctor volunteering at a clinic. It’s an act of donating time instead of money to a cause that the writer cares about. My gripe isn’t with charity work; it’s with everyone thinking that their personal gain is a good cause.

Why is this even a thing?

There’s a perception that artists (including writers) don’t deserve payment. Don’t believe me? Huffington Post asked Wil Wheaton to reprint his blog post, and they said that they couldn’t “afford” to compensate him for his work. If Wil Wheaton, actor, writer, and well-known personality is being snubbed like this by a wildly successful publication, you can imagine how it is for us little guys who are just trying to find a way to pay our bills.

If it’s not possible in this country for people to walk into a hospital and receive life-saving treatments without the hospital knowing for sure that they’re going to get paid for their troubles, why is it possible for people to expect non-essential services like writing for free?

I said it. Writing is non-essential. If I am about to bleed out from a wound sustained in a car accident, a nice academic paper isn’t going to do anything for me. If I’m starving, a sonnet is grand, but where is the food that we need farmers to produce?

I’m not saying that writing isn’t of value. It’s communication. It’s advertising. It’s an expression of self and company identity. It’s a luxury.  Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs  explains that once we’re fed, watered, and not getting eaten by the nearest predator, humans can begin to pursue the fun stuff: love; friendship; a career; inner peace; a Shake Weight; whatever. (The person who created this aesthetically pleasing graphic had not reached the level where one requires a proofreader or the proper spelling of “hierarchy.”)

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Photo Cred

If you can afford to need writing, you can afford to pay a writer. It’s an investment, whether the piece of writing is a novel, a radio spot script, a blog post, or something else. When you buy a novel, you get entertainment, personal insight, opened thought, and perhaps a common interest with another person. Your radio spot will get your business noticed. Your blog post will get you more hits.

The adage “You get what you pay for” is everywhere in our society. Why, then, are we expecting to get quality when we offer writers empty promises instead of the pay they deserve?

 

 

Blastoff: Stardust, Always is Finally Out!

To borrow a line from Bowie, I’ve been “Freak[ing] out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah.”

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As of today, Stardust, Always is available for Kindle, on paperback from Amazon with Prime shipping, and on paperback through CreateSpace. If you missed what all the hubbub is about, check out my previous posts here and here.

All proceeds from each type of sale go to St. Jude, but the dollar amounts will be different depending on which edition and retailer you choose. St. Jude will receive the most money from a CreateSpace purchase, followed by an Amazon purchase and then a Kindle purchase. The Kindle books are only $3.99, though, so they’re a great option for those of us on a budget. Any purchase definitely helps, as does using #StardustAlways on social media and telling your friends.

I hope you’ll consider grabbing a copy of Stardust, Always and checking out my poem, “The Metastatic Squatter,” along with works by other fantastically talented authors.

 

Three Weeks Later…

I’m sure you’ve been formulating images of what I’ve been doing the past few weeks.

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I promise, it isn’t what it looks like; it’s more like this:

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How, you ask?

1) Graduation(s)

2) Moving across the state

3) Job-hunting

4) Job interviews

5) Preparing for the release of Stardust, Always

6) Working on a new project

Clearly, I’ve been swamped.

Graduation(s)

On Saturday, the 14th of May, I graduated summa cum laude with an honors diploma and received a B.A. in English/Creative Writing with a minor in organizational communication. (Diploma to be delivered in roughly 6 weeks, I’m told.)

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(That nice-looking man is Dr. Bob Davies, Murray State president and the magical unicorn among university presidents. Seriously, that dude is awesome.)

It was lovely. It was crazy. It was like drowning in a dunk-tank of nostalgia. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I  received some amazing graduation gifts, but that’s a post for another time.

I also went to my pseudo-little-brother’s high school graduation, cried like a baby, and met up with several friends I hadn’t seen in 4 years. We laughed. We cried. We thanked God that we’re adults who have ascended beyond the boundaries, cliques, and stupid rules of our high school years.

Moving

I won’t bore you with the details, but I will leave you with three tips.

  1. Pack the Band-Aids last.
  2. Screwdrivers should never be used as pry bars.
  3. Also pack the toilet paper last.

Job-Hunting

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Shhhh… We’re only looking for the ones with nice benefits.

Job Interviews

I must be doing something right, because I have had a few interviews over the past couple of weeks. I might be weird, but… they’re fun! I love the opportunity to learn more about businesses and to get to talk to people.

Preparing for the release of Stardust, Always

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Remember when I told you about the anthology I’m doing? Well, it’s been moving along! The last few weeks have been a sea of proofs (for both the ebook and the print book), final edits, and a marketing push. We’ve been contacting news outlets and have a successful Thunderclap campaign in the works, so that’s exciting.

Another exciting thing: our link for pre-ordering the ebook is up! That’s right. For $3.99, you can have your very own virtual copy of Stardust, Always, which will be auto-delivered to your device on June 5th.

And another thing that is very exciting to me personally is this: I am, according to Amazon, an author. That’s right. “The Metastatic Squatter,” my contribution to the anthology, has officially put me on the map. It’s a small thing, but I am thrilled!

New project

I don’t want to say much yet, but I did have one of those lightning-bolt, mind-exploding ideas the other night. I actually can’t say much, because I don’t know much. I’m still in the scribbling phases at the moment, but I’m excited and am considering using it for my Camp NaNo project this year. I can say that there are cathedrals and harpies involved, so that’s fun.

In summary: not that lazy.

If you’re really that concerned, bring out your pitchforks and torches in the comments. I’ll do my best to dodge the rotten vegetation from the stocks. c742d-stocks1

 

Stardust, Always: Coming June 5th

This, friends, is the story of how a poem I wrote, my bio, and a tiny picture of my face ended up in a book.

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(Cover designed by the talented James Baldwin)

The Backstory

This, like every good story, begins with elephants, otters, and a great deal of hugging. (You think I’m joking, but the #hugsquad is not a laughing matter.) Let me explain. I’m in a writing group on Facebook, and while there are 23,000+ members, we’re remarkably close-knit. We have a lot of shared interests, from the obvious (books and writing) to the adorable (fuzzy animals) to the macabre (this is the only place I can go to ask all of my gross murder mystery questions without being judged). Many of us also share a love for the notable work of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

2016 barged into our lives swinging a death-club. When cancer took Rickman and Bowie from us, we writers decided to fight back. With our lovely captains (thanks, Laura & Andrew!) leading the charge, we marched. We decided to create the anthology to benefit cancer research, and now we’re less than a month away from the release date! Scores of brilliant writers, beta readers, editors and other wonderful people came together, and the result is going to be beautiful.

Personal Impetus

Cancer runs rampant in my family. When I was asked why I got involved with the anthology, this was my response:

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(No, I don’t quote myself with tasteful graphics. Credit goes to Naomi D. Nakashima.)

My main inspiration for writing my poem, “The Metastatic Squatter,” is the lovely lady putting me in a headlock in this photo.

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This is my sister, the woman in whose dainty footsteps I try –and fail–to walk (my feet are too big and she always notices me following her). She’s sweet, generous, a fantastic mother to my nieces, and makes a mean Thanksgiving turkey. She’s also currently fighting cancer.

People deal with the stress and hardship and fear of losing someone they love in different ways. I definitely haven’t been perfect at handling this, but one of my best coping mechanisms is writing. I wrote “The Metastatic Squatter” at 3 a.m. one morning. I couldn’t sleep because I was furious–furious–that something so evil would dare to mess with someone so good. All of that anger, frustration, and helplessness burned its way from my brain to my fingertips, and by 5 a.m., I had the beginnings of a poem. Cancer is a jerk, guys. A real jerk.

How You Can Help

I hope that my poem and the rest of the poems and stories in this anthology touch people’s lives. I pray that they will bring hope and healing to many, and it’s my wish that you’ll order a copy on June 5th. I’ll definitely post the link as soon as it goes live! Until then, you can assist by promoting the anthology. Help us make these Photoshopped pictures by the talented Andrew Barber a reality. Get the word out.

Share this post! Like us on Facebook, attend the virtual release party, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and use #StardustAlways to stir up a fuss. You can also check out my sister’s GoFundMe Page if you’re interested in helping someone RIGHT NOW. Doing any or all of things things is a great way to join the fight against one of humanity’s most formidable enemies.

UPDATE: Stardust, Always is now officially available for pre-order as an ebook. You can find it here or through my Amazon author page.

 

Crickets, Poetry & Other Fears

Allow me to regale you with a tale from my youth.

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My name is Kate Post, and I am terrified of cave crickets.  They give me the creeps. The willies. The fantods. It all stems from the fact that when I was growing up, these little guys would somehow end up in our basement. They lurked in the shadows, waiting until I was playing Legend of Dragoon on the bulbous TV my mom had designated for video game use.

When I least expected it, a cricket would pop out. They’d jump on my feet, in my lap, into my hair. On one memorable occasion, one made it down the front of my shirt. On another, I accidentally squashed one of the blighters with bare feet. Cricket guts have the consistency of mashed potatoes, just in case you were running short on material for your “Things I Never Needed to Know” folder.  Needless to say, I don’t like crickets. Logically, I know that they’re harmless, but anything with legs the diameter of a needle or smaller has no business touching my body.

If I don’t acknowledge them, they don’t exist.

What do I do about crickets? I avoid them. Problem solved. I’m sure that’s a healthy way to manage my fear.

Sometimes, however, we have other fears that we can’t avoid. Oh, no, you’re thinking. Here she goes. I can’t wait to listen to a 21-year-old give me an inspirational message about facing my fears. It’ll be like watching children’s TV again, only she’s not nearly as entertaining as My Little Pony or Arthur.

Bear with me.

Full immersion

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to participate in a poetry reading. Two of my poems had been selected for Notations, a literary journal sponsored by Murray State University, and the English department wanted to beef up an exit reading being given by the graduating BFA candidates. Ergo, they asked me to read.

At first, the idea of a poetry reading didn’t freak me out. The poems were already going to be published and read–I had already opened the metaphorical judgment door and anyone could walk through it if they wanted to. I also wasn’t nervous about speaking in front of people; as an organizational communication minor, I’m experienced when it comes to giving speeches. I’m good at presenting my personality.

What made my hands tremble and my lungs shrink eight sizes was the knowledge that I was going to present both my personality and my work. I was taking the ultimate ownership of my words. There was no separating the “Kate Post” printed neatly on the pages of my poems from me as a person. That in itself terrified me, even though all I had to do was stand up there and introduce myself and my poems before actually reading the things.  Also, I have a slight lisp. You never know how many times you use the sound in a poem until you try to read it aloud.

Still, as I sat and listened to the others ahead of me read their work, my palms sweated against the leather portfolio holding my poems. It didn’t help that, being the immature person that I am, I couldn’t help but snicker inwardly every time I caught sight of the lovely artwork to the right of the podium.

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(Thanks to my friend Marissa, who not only attended the reading, but also snapped pictures of me while I read.)

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The works I read were “Cambrian Mother” and “Wolves Snarling on the Tundra,” both nature poems. The first is in appreciation of slate, one of the most underrated rocks there is. The second one has a wildly creative title, considering that the subject matter is wolves…snarling on the tundra.

I got up there, cracked a few jokes, and gave myself over to simply being me. I was shaking the entire time, but there was something magical about watching the faces of the audience members as they experienced my work for the first time. Hearing them laugh at my quips, groan at my puns and otherwise react to the words that I had strung together made my lungs shrink even more, but only because my heart and ego were swelling enough to compress them.

I finished, sat down, and listened to the other wildly talented writers who read that night. After, I was surprised again at how many people came up to me to say that they had enjoyed my work and my reading voice. Professor after professor that I admire came to congratulate me. I’m pretty sure that someone secretly installed Iron-Man-esque repulsor beams in my shoes, because I don’t think my feet touched the ground at all for the rest of the night.

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”–Shia LaBeouf

The point is this: stuff is scary. You’ll probably shake all the way through. You will tell yourself that it’s crazy to even be doing whatever it is that freaks you out. If you know it’s something that can help you professionally or personally, though, usually the risk is worth it. All of the ways you imagine things going wrong are probably much worse than even the worst possible outcome. Stop telling yourself why you can’t, and tell yourself why you should. Don’t just face your fears; grab them by shirt collar and kiss them senseless.

Unless it’s crickets. If it’s crickets, just leave them alone.