The late Johnny Carson was a notoriously shy public figure. In a profile I once watched on television, an acquaintance of his (whose name now escapes me,) said that Johnny Carson was comfortable in front of twenty million people, but never in front of twenty people. While I know I'll never have the kind of fame or audience that Mr. Carson had, I totally understand what they were saying.
I am a performer. I always have been. I'm what you might call a shy exhibitionist. Growing up an only child who was something of an outsider, my imagination ran at full tilt to keep me company and keep me entertained. In high school, having no interest in sports but hungry for the kind of busy life my peers enjoyed I turned to acting, art, music, and whatever else I could find that would give me the attention I craved and in return could bring happiness and excitement to others around me. But I was still shy: I could perform Shakespeare in front of people I barely knew in a heartbeat, but walking up to them and starting a normal conversation with them was ground for an anxiety attack.
As I got older my desire to entertain crystallized around writing and storytelling. It's amazing how different we are in the world that we, as writers, build in our minds. Shyness is never an issue for us there. We have nothing to fear from anyone there because we know exactly what they will say; we know their every secret. In the world around us we never know how anyone will react and it's that uncertainty that can be brutal. When you're onstage the audience will either applaud or they won't. Either way you'll know exactly where you stand. But regular interactions are so much more challenging. There's no script and our audience is so much harder to read.
I'm proud of what I write, but when I first began to experiment with dark fantasy erotica I found my shy tendencies really kicking in. Right or wrong, there's a stigma attached to the erotic genre: it's not socially acceptable. I've never been hesitant to say that I'm a writer, but suddenly the follow-up question of "what do you write?" had a whole new dimension to it! After all, there's no tactful way to say you write tales of angelic orgies and women who couple with demons, is there?
We're never shy in the fictional world in our minds. But self-confidence can still be our enemy there. In my case I'd grown to think of it too much as my private world rather than something I was eventually going to share with the rest of the world and have to answer questions about. If there's advice I can give to a shy writer, it's this: never lose sight of the fact that you're creating for that world you're so wary of. And when you describe it to the friend, family member, or co-worker who asks you are opening an exciting show for a new audience. Take all that fear of the many possible reactions away and you're back to where you are with any audience: either they'll applaud or they won't. Maybe what you write about isn't socially acceptable to some. But if they see your confidence and your pride in what you're creating, maybe they'll start to wonder if perhaps it should be.
BIO: A lifelong resident of the Midwest, Tyree Kimber hung up his electric guitar and poet shirt to become a novelist; although the guitar and poofy shirt still call to him from time to time. His short stories have been released through Dark Roast Press along with the novel Apocalypse Woman, a dark erotic fantasy tale. With Phil Jones and Dave McNeal he is the author Systematic, a post-modern noir comic book series available at IndyPlanet.com
http://darkroastpress.com/forbidden1.php - Forbidden Views, Volume 1 http://darkroastpress.com/baristachoice.php - Barista's Choice (Free e-book sampler)http://darkroastpress.com/apocalypsewoman.php - Apocalypse Woman http://indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3943 - Systematic (Issue #1)