Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Naked in Austin

You know those “naked in public” dreams? I used to have them a lot. The embarrassing sort -- not the good ones. The ones some folks interpret as “vulnerability” or “shamefulness” or “people can see right through you, you big, fat, fucking liar.” I’ll come back to this in a bit.

Got back a couple days ago from the Austin Film Festival. Had a great time, as always. This was my fourth year and it was a strange one, as I don’t fit so well at the kids’ table, anymore, but there’s not yet a seat for me with the grown-ups. It’s a funky kind of limbo.

I won’t go into what makes AFF great. I’ve written about that before and Brett and Shawna and Jamie and others have already covered that this year.

Some of the highlights for me:

  • Got some quality time with a couple of A-list pros I’d met previously at AFF who have been wonderful mentors and who are now dearly-beloved friends.
  • Met and built fast friendships with a couple of other pros – acclaimed writers and producers – whom I hope to continue to get to know better.
  • I met my way-cool manager who’s even cooler in person. I’m even more excited to be working with him, now.
  • Hung out with old and new online writer-buddies whom I love a bunch and miss terribly.
This year is also different because I don’t have the post-Austin blues, as I usually do upon my return to reality. Sure, I was weepy saying goodbye to my friends, but I was also ready to come home.

In previous years, I think the person I most hated leaving was the person I am in Austin. The Writer. But it seems that over the past year - sometime between AFF 2005 and 2006 - she moved in with me.

Into me.

Ever since Writing became more about who I am and not just something I do, my skin just hasn’t fit right, so leaving Austin and zipping back into My Usual Self each year has been something to dread.

But somehow, I’ve integrated the person I get to be in Austin with the person I am at home. Now, I’m a writer there as well as here. Yes, it has something to do with having a manager and the POOL BOY option, but more to do with my allowing myself to BE that.

It’s a confidence thing and confidence is something I’ve never had in excess.

(Yeah, I know. “Writer.”)

Which brings me back to those “naked in public” dreams.

See, a few weeks ago, I had a really strange one. It started off the usual way -- I’m out somewhere, surrounded by strangers in a mall or grocery store or something, then look down and realize I’m naked. But this time... instead of getting embarrassed and searching desperately for a sweater or blanket, I kind of laugh at myself and shrug, “Fuck ‘em,” and continue on my way.

And that's kind of how Austin feels, when I'm feeling it.

And that’s kind of been my life lately.

Naked is good.


Blogger Brett said...

This is not the comment I am tempted to make.
meta B

7:12 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

And neither is this, either, but I felt bad giving just a snarky response to cool post.

My feelings toward Austin are similar to yours of last year but still different. I know I am a writer, but right now only in Austin am I given an opportunity to get up and live for days at a stretch AS a writer. When I come back, I'm suddenly a baseballl coach, or a scout leader, or a room "mom", or a board member, or whatever, but seldom if ever does anyone look at me and think "writer."

And that's who I see when I look in the mirror, which is what creates such odd dissonance between my internal reality and the outside one -- the world I see versus the world that sees me.

I'm good at that other stuff, and I know that and I enjoy doing it. But what I am -- WHO I am -- seldom seems to be acknowledged save for those four glorious days in October.

I see myself as a writer. For now the world sees me as "a guy named Brett."

11:12 PM  
Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Hey, I like naked!

I'd like to get back down there though, haven't been since 03, perhaps next year.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

By the way, continued best wishes on Pool Boy, etc.

1:51 AM  
Blogger japhy99 said...

That's a great corner to tun -- bravo.

It goes without saying that the world would be better off -- and artists would be better artists -- if we all could be so comfortable with everything stripped away.

Plus, naked's fun.

11:39 AM  
Blogger suzbays said...


2:36 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

What I want to know is if naked you had any trouble fending off famous directors without a chaperone?

You and Brett and making me wish I went this year.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Chesher Cat said...

At what point were you naked?

Checking pictures...oh my God, there you are...naked.

Permission to publish?

2:33 PM  
Blogger Julie O. said...

Patrick -- Thanks!

Ron -- I missed your chaperone-ness, but luckily, was able to fend off all advances.

Suz -- :D

Deb -- Of course, long as you've got my good side.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Systemaddict said...

Wow, I thought I already commented...strange.

Anyway. It can be hard not to separate things- the obligitory "what do you do?" -- "Well, I'm a whatever the hell". Sometimes is a lot easier than saying "I'm a writer." Even though that's what you are, it's sometimes hard to admit it to others, if not ever to yourself.

But you're dead on, Naked is good. Nekkid is even better... ;)

Embrace the Nekkid.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous jessica said...

very insightful

4:28 PM  

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