Getting ready for the Winterset Festival
So this upcoming weekend is the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival in beautiful Eastport. I will be on the New Voices panel, a group of three writers who recently had their first books published. Our panel will be hosted by Noreen Golfman. I will be there with Michelle Butler Hallett and Shannon Patrick Sullivan (I need to add another name to mine or I'll be left out). I know them both so that will make it easier. I've discussed my nervousness about public speaking here before so it will come as no surprise that the idea of reading and answering questions on a stage in front of a theatre of people has caused me quite a bit of anxiety. "You should be used to it by now", I am told. Nope. The funny thing is that I'm not nervous about answering the questions. It's the reading that gets me. And I'm only reading from a book, not like I'm reinventing the wheel here or anything. It should be easy. And it usually is once I get going. It's the anticipation about the event that is worse. I wind myself with negative thoughts and end up getting all nervous. If I change my attitude I will be fine.
My friend Christine has helped me a lot with this anxiety. She taught me some relaxation techniques, gave me a positive scenario to meditate on, and an affirmation to repeat to myself. This has helped quite a lot. It is difficult to practice these techniques around here though. I had myself wound up in another tizzy of anxiety a couple of mornings ago so I decided to do the relaxation exercises. I went in on my bed, lay down and started to do my deep breathing. Before I got through deep breath number one, one dog (mine) was licking my left hand and the other dog (my SIL's--we are dog sitting) was licking my right. So I put them out and shut the door. Then my SIL's dog started whining to get in. So I opened the door, lay down and put my hands behind my head. Then I felt my dog lie across my face. He is very sensitive to anything being wrong with someone and appeared concerned about my deep breathing (so he decided to smother me). I spent most of the exercise laughing at how impossible it is to do any kind of relaxation at my house but I did complete it and felt relaxed after, either from the relaxation exercise or the laughter.
I really am looking forward to this weekend. It is a great festival in a beautiful place full of friendly people interested in writing and reading. That doesn't mean that I won't be a relieved and happy camper when our panel is over on Saturday afternoon. If you're around the area please take in as much of the festival as you can. And don't forget to say hi.