Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coward's Mask

I don't know if I wear a mask, anymore. I used to, back in high school. Hell, I used to back at my day job, just to get by amidst people I despised and who daily wanted to talk about boring things that I didn't actually care about.

I've always been good at faking interest. I've always been good at putting on the mask of a normal person, so that I can laugh at jokes that bore me and pretend I like talking about some baby that some friend of a friend of a cousin of a sister had. When really I couldn't care less, because seriously...what is some random baby to me?

Of course, I know that sounds cold. But I don't think I am a cold person. It's just that...I'm the kind of person who cannot talk about personal things within five minutes of meeting someone. I can't even talk about some major thing that happened to me once, never mind rambling on for an hour about a baby who isn't even really a relation to the person doing the rambling.

Because doing so embarrasses me. It's the one thing that does, really: that vertigo-inducing feeling after I've just told a little story about myself comes on, and I have to start wondering about the things I've said. Was I boring? Did I go on too long? Were the things I said phrased in a weird way - did the whole story itself sound weird?

It's insane, I know...and especially because very few people I know in real life seem to feel this way. They can literally go on for hours and hours about some person they know on Facebook, while I sit there and nod and laugh and make helpful comments in all the right places. I'm good at that. I've always been good at it, even when I know and they know that actually...

I have something better to talk about. Or maybe not better, exactly...I hate to say better. Even if it is actually and totaly better, by any standard of measurement. Publishing a book is a more exciting topic than some random person you know on Facebook.

It just is.

But instead of claiming it is - instead of trying to talk about it on any level whatsoever - I shy away. None of the people at my day job knew anything about my writing career. They knew I was published, but that was it.

And it's not because I'm ashamed of saying I'm an erotica writer, either. It's nothing like that. I wanted to talk about it - I would have loved to talk about it! And for once, I was keenly aware that yeah, I had a story worth telling. But instead of telling it I wore the mask of the Sociable Person, the Normal Person, the Person Who Won't Impress Her Own Stories On You, and I listened to endless tales of Tenerife and random babies and some dude on Facebook.

I couldn't even talk about my books at my own book launch.

So maybe my real mask is that of a coward. It's of someone who's self-esteem is so low that they can't even raise a really interesting topic in a room full of idle conversation, for fear of seeming boring or stupid or like I'm going on and on about myself.

Which is why I'm no longer wearing it. I don't care if you don't care. You've never cared if I did, or not. My real face is the face of a writer. It's the face of someone who enjoys nerdly interests and likes silly conversations about socks.

This is me. And I don't care if you like her, or not.

P.S. My latest book, Sheltered, was released on Friday! Hooray! Here's the blurb for it:

Evie has lived her entire life under her abusive father’s thumb. He controls everything. Where she goes to college, who she sees, what she does. But when she meets Van—a punk who shows her how different life could be—she realizes how much she’s been missing.

Van offers her excitement, protection, love…and most of all, sex—even if he’s at first reluctant to give her all the things she’s been craving. She wants to explore this new world of arousal and desire, but Van is only too aware of how fragile she is, how innocent…

And how much is at stake, when their love is forbidden

And the buy links, if it strikes your fancy:




  1. I know that feeling! I hate to mention anything about myself because I'm worried that it's boring. And egads, those rambling stories from coworkers! Yes, tell me about something cool you did or share if your mom is ill, but your shopping trip to Target as the highlight of last weekend? Pass.

  2. I'm glad to see you throw that mask away, Charlotte. Because you don't need it.

    You're more interesting by far than 95% of the people on the planet. Maybe 99%. And certainly more interesting than their BABIES.

    (And congratulations on the release of SHELTERED!)

  3. Excellent move, CMVS!

    Also: In case it helps keep insecurity at bay, remember that the on-and-on inane ramblers (i.e., 99% of the population) don't really listen when we talk, anyway. They're just in mental limbo, waiting for a chance to resume their monologues. So you can say anything, really, and not worry too much how it's going down.

  4. Kathleen - lol lol that's exactly it! I don't know where they get the sheer balls to relate their boring stories about Target!

    Lisabet - thanks, dahlink. I don't feel it, but you MAKE me feel it.

    Jezza - So true! I should really bear that in mind more...

  5. I can identify with so much of this, Charlotte. You have a gift for expressing so much of what we writers experience. Unfortunately, I agree with Jeremy. You can talk about yourself without fear of boring the ones who don't listen. Feel free to discuss your writing with us!


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