But first, a few data points:
I have always worried I might be an asshole. Not just a garden variety, drives-like-a-shithead asshole, but a real one, one you wouldn't think twice about fucking with because: JUST LOOK AT HIM. BALD ASSHOLES ARE THE WORST!
This is a hard one to overcome. I think it's part of my make-up, part of who I am, that I worry people think I'm an asshole. I know I can be one. I even realize we can all be one, given the proper circumstances.
Of late, my day job reinforces that internal, abusive little voice, as there is little love out there for those that wear a uniform. When both sides of the political spectrum hate your profession, things are unpleasant. This aspect of my worry is a bit easier to deal with, as I take the uniform off and most people are left with just plain BALD ASSHOLE to look at.
Then there is the daunting insecurity I am told most writers feel, that sensation of: I'M A TALENTLESS HACK! UNWORTHY OF NOTICE, NO ONE LOVES ME! BALD ASSHOLE!
I fought this-still fight it- by simply acknowledging how much better I feel when I'm writing than not. T o my mind, writing is a weird thing. It's done in relative solitude, for the most part, but its end product is ultimately for others to consume (or not). Along the way to that consumption, it's likely the writer will have to interact with people in the flesh, as it were...
So, there I was, BALD ASSHOLE, going to conventions and meeting people involved in the writing world, and worrying what they thought of me and, if they had the time and inclination, my writing. Now, I've lived in a few places, known a few different people from different walks of life...
Mind you, I was always worrying, even when I wasn't bald, that people saw me as a BALD ASSHOLE, but because of this experience of life, I wasn't all that fearful of putting myself out there. Having done it a few times makes it easier to brave the writing convention waters.
At the conventions I met hopefuls, I met stars, I met superstars, and I met some of my writing heroes. Along the way, I even made new friends that seem to have overlooked my BALD ASSHOLISHNESS.
In this modern era, we can easily reconnect with old schoolmates, old friends, and even integrate distant new friends and acquaintances with our current lives. It is a blessing that BALD ASSHOLE doesn't think he deserves, but there it is.
Don't mind that little bastard, at least not today.
This, in a roundabout way, leads me back down the rabbit hole to my big announcement: Today I announced on Facebook that Eric Flint and I had sold our novel, 1636: Mission to the Mughals.
Then something happened:
I had a torrent of good wishes from people I have come to know throughout the various stages of my life. Some were even moved to comment with well-wishes, and not just my blood relatives.
The response from all these people from all these different places of the landscape of my life silenced that little ego-piercing voice for a moment.
Just a moment.
What a joy that silence was.
I shall continue to seek it, and be worthy of my friends and family.