Meeting My Bright Shadow
OK, I have no more excuses. There’s a fantasy/sci-fi “con” (conference) practically next door, and a chance to do my very first public book reading as a part of a supportive group of women writers of sci-fi, fantasy & horror (Broad Universe). I have to sign up!
Now I’ve done it. I signed up, and I’m living with a heavy demon of dread lurking in the pit of my stomach. These brilliant, high-powered aliens from the planet SWU (Successful Writers United) will peer down their long noses at me, roll their huge eyes, and smirk to each other. I’ll be the only tiny frog in a huge pond teeming with powerful bullfrogs. They’ll eat me alive! Worse, I’ll be a mouse in a dark corner. No one will even notice me. Why did I do this?
Too late now. I sweat over what section to read, honing it down to a five-minute piece, and practice reading it aloud until I get hoarse. I learn how important it is to make eye contact with the audience, and practice looking up from my notes.
Now it’s the day of the con. I get my hair done, dress up in my power suit, and take my fancy briefcase. I walk into the venue and stop in shock.
I’m completely over-dressed! These are not brilliant aliens or giant bullfrogs, just lovely ordinary humans, even a few shaggy ones. Like steam from a cooling locomotive, all that dread I’ve been feeling for two weeks leaks out of me.
I realize what I’ve been doing: projecting my bright shadow all over the other writers at the con. What’s a bright shadow? It’s the part of my power, brilliance and talent that I have not owned. All I can do is laugh at myself.
After all that dread and anticipation, I’m only a little nervous doing the actual reading. I even make some eye contact with the audience. Maybe next time, I’ll remember to own my bright shadow. That heavy dread demon won’t stand a chance!