Woman and boy working on homework togetherI spent the last three weeks making connections. Very temporary connections with very young people of various races and cultures. I, a total stranger, stepped into their classroom and walked them away to another part of their school’s campus to read tiny stories, ask questions and do brain-related activities. They all came. The vast majority stayed with me the 35-45 minutes it took to do the assessment–they all had the option to refuse. They didn’t know I checked out okay with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and passed a security check performed by their school district. I said, “Come, please.” Their teacher said, “You go.” Children are very trusting.

view detailsI learned a little about each child in our short time together. One boy with long braids wanted to learn more about creatures (insects.) I knew right off that a little girl was too scared to stay for the assessment. She was very withdrawn, more than shy, like something scary was going on at home. Some kids were reserved until I showed them a page of 30 lines of small pictures of puppies, soccer balls and coffee cups where they were to circle a certain arrangement of the pictures. Often, their eyes widened at the seeming enormity of the task. I said, “Dunh dunh dunh…” in an ominous way, and they smiled and embraced the task. That made it fun for me, too. I liked seeing their reactions.

One little kindergartener slipped her hand into mine as we walked back to her classroom. How sweet! That was like the highlight of the three weeks for me. Somehow, we touched hearts in a way we probably can’t explain and won’t remember. It was special though, and affirming.

view detailsI also reestablished a few connections made in the fall when I did this job then (field research with Harvard U. and U. of Michigan.) And I made some new friends. Some of us connected on Facebook as soon as we got home!

I used to be a very shy person. I could walk into a room and be totally unnoticed. Quiet, overweight and ignored, it’s a good position to observe people. Beware, the quiet ones are watching and listening… But that kind of treatment confirmed my self-talk that I was an uninteresting bumbling dork, condemned to life in a society that didn’t acknowledge my existence, let alone my worth.
Businesswoman hiding
I credit writing for bringing me out. And maybe middle-age. As a writer wanting to improve, I reached out to a critique group and organized write-ins for NaNoWriMo and ScriptFrenzy. I’ve met writers and others online I wouldn’t hesitate to meet in person. Talking about my writing lights me up and gets other people excited, too. People express awe when I tell them I wrote a novel.

Following this dream, accepting and using my God-given creativity has given me a new door to life. A wide French door with a beautiful view of people, ideas, emotions, dreams and experiences. And a door I can also close for awhile to create alone, as most writers do. That’s a time I still crave and cherish. Each fuels me for the other. It’s a glorious thing.

How do you connect with people? How do your personal giftings help or hinder forming new and improving old relationships?

I’m an Indie Author!

We do it for love before we do it for money.

I decided to call myself and indie author instead of self-published. Indie puts one in the same circles as indie filmmakers and musicians. Those folks are viewed as adventurous and risk-takers, and buckers of the system. They have the aura of mystique and are held in awe by anyone who ever wished they could break out of the mold.We all put our vision into the medium we love or can use the best, then spend a lot of our own time and our own money to get it out into the world.

Some of us go to school to learn to do what we love, others learn as we go. We learn the rules and break them when it makes sense to us. We talk to others who do the same thing. We form friendships and networks in real life and on the internet. We share experiences and tips and resources and encouragement.

Fans of indie artists want to be ones who “knew him when he published his first book online,” or, “saw their show at a little pub years before they signed with that big record label.” (I don’t even know what big record labels there are anymore!) Or, “I saw her first film at the local film festival and stayed for the question and answer part.”

Sometimes fans of indies want their discoveries to stay indie, to not sell out to the labels and studios and publishers. I imagine most indies want to get noticed by some big entity so we can do what we love full time and have someone else manage the business end while we do the creative part. And I suppose a lot of us hope someday we can have the money that goes with being on the top of the heap.

Most of us know that probably won’t happen. That we’ll labor in obscurity, doing what we love. But some people get noticed and get that lucky break or know how to put themselves in front to the right people at the right time and place. They work hard and have everything in place and are ready.

I’ve never been happy doing things the same way as most people. Maybe that’s just because I never really figured out how! I’m proud to be indie and proud of my friends who are.

Now, back to work to get ready for that lucky break…