Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Doing Your Own Thing -- by Lynn Crain



The first thing I have to do now is thank Rebecca for being so patient with me. She had to remind me that I was supposed to be blogging here...see...I was out doing my own thing. My family has always had to drag me out of doing my own thing as it has always eclipsed doing their thing. LOL!

Seriously, when I read the blog posts, trying to get a fix on what I should be writing, I noticed several folks were talking about being shy and introverted. I’m not...as long as it’s online...and that makes me incredibly outgoing. However, it wasn’t until I moved to Vienna, Austria, that I found out just how introverted I really am when trying to learn a new culture and meet new people.

In April of this year, 2011, my husband of many years decided he wanted to go on an adventure. He wanted to run away from home, so to speak. All my friends told me moving would be the adventure of a lifetime. I told myself sure, it would. It would be my adventure on how not to be depressed or want to behead my beloved. Yes, I have a snarky sense of humor, so sorry if I offend any of you, but the simple fact is what I’m typing is true. I did want to do those things, as I couldn’t understand how this man I had lived with for a long, long time knew me so little.

I had lived all my life, with the exception of eleven years, in Nevada, in the good ole US of A and nowhere else. I had visited Scotland twice, along with England, and decided I wanted to have a summer home there. Note I said summer home. I also wanted to visit Europe, maybe even visit for a month or two, but never in any dream did I think we’d ever be there for more than a few weeks.

In May 2011, we packed up a home of nearly thirty years and moved to Europe. We’re here for somewhere between three to five years. I honestly think it depends on my tolerance of being away from home, family and friends. My impression from my dear husband was that like-minded people would surround us. We’d be entertaining or going to public parties and other venues for his job. I braced myself for this as I can be very good with my social butterfly guy. I have learned through my many years with various writing groups just how to be ‘on’ for an event. I had always told my friends that it was different from how I usually was, but it was still me...just a very social me...or so I thought.

In all my other social gatherings as I writer, I had never felt judged from just a look. Sure, those looks were there as were the feelings sometimes, but I had never let them bother me or even noticed at all. Here, maybe it’s because I don’t understand the culture as well as I thought, I feel practically naked in the public eye. All around me, people speak in different languages, and since I’m a control freak, it makes me feel very out of control. My controlling nature has mellowed over the years, but this had it zinging.

It was in those early days here that I understood just how shy and introverted I was. I really didn’t like crowds. I  didn’t like everyone looking at me as if I were a commodity on my husband’s arm. And no, I’m not sexy or anything but a plain Jane intelligent woman who wonders just why people are so political when they should all just be getting along. Here I feel that everyone is jockeying for a place within my husband’s social sphere while I’m just trying to keep my head above water, and to figure out just where I might fit in. To be honest, it wasn’t going well at all for me.

So, how was I going to get over these feelings of inadequacy I’d never had before? They seemed to reach all the way to my soul. First, I turned to my online friends, as they ‘knew’ me based upon who I felt I was and not what I could give or even do for them. They like me for me. In various discussions, I came to realize that I had to relax, to loosen up and let the sunshine in so to speak.

The other item I did was to study people for nearly a month here in Vienna and made some conclusions. Viennese are an extremely standoffish people who have a decidedly different mindset than the average American. It’s hard to explain and even harder to deal with if you have a friendly nature. I tend to smile a lot, and suddenly, I found myself with a perpetual frown on my face. I was going to be here a long time and needed to figure out some way to be fairly happy.

I decided to embrace the history of the country and believe me there is plenty. I studied artists, art and the emperors and empresses of the historical times. I found that I remembered some bits and pieces and now, stood in places where history was made. I visited palaces, towns, and the countryside to see Roman ruins. All of this made me realize that this can be an adventure as long as I start putting myself out there and seeing how it all fits with doing my thing as a writer. I guess I'd forgotten the writer part for a while.

Then, I did something I thought my husband was going to put his foot down against. I told him I needed companionship for when he was gone on business trips, and for the fact that I had no family around. I went online and picked out a pup named Harry Potter from a list of Parsons Russell Terrier breeders. I thought he’d die but when I explained my reasons, he acknowledged they were sound: Harry would provide the companionship for when he was away on travel, Harry would also force me to exercise and thus help me to get healthy by losing weight and I could do my own thing again without having to call him at least three times a day because I didn’t understand what was happening around me. In addition, as much as the Austrians seemed to be stoic, I had noticed they loved dogs.

Next, I told him in no uncertain terms he needed to help me construct a safety net of sorts. I needed to know who to call when I needed help when he wasn’t around. I needed to know all the emergency numbers and even contacts at the US Embassy should I find myself in a bind when he wasn’t there. I needed to know there were others I could depend on if he were unavailable. It took us a little bit, but the list came together quicker than I thought possible.

The last thing I did to put myself out there was in my writing career. In September, I received the rights back for a story that had been in an anthology. It wasn’t something that I wanted to market again. It was a short story, but I did want to put it out there. There had been some other ideas in the back of my mind and I thought they would do well in the scheme I had planned. There are a few stories out there that I wanted total control over, so with a friend, I decided to start my own publishing house called Shooting Star Books. This little indie press will publish books for my friend and me pretty exclusively as well as those things I have in what I call my overflow bin. Those are the stories that don’t fit any mold with a traditional publisher but still should see the light of day. I don’t know how well we’ll do, but the fact that I’m putting myself out there and doing my own writing thing again is very good.

Apparently, these were just the right ideas for me to do as since I put myself out there, doing my own thing again, I also started the creative juices that had stopped flowing while adjusting to my new life. I’ve almost completed three more books. I’ve started a new blog called The Log Line Blog where writers can get exposure for their log lines, the one-liner that sells their story, as well as their book. I’ll also have that first short story out with Shooting Star out in late December just in time for the Christmas rush.

The addition of Harry has people smiling at me when I’m out on my walks and conversing with me in my fledgling German. There isn’t a day that hasn’t gone by when I don’t get a comment about the little guy. And while it may be strange that Austrians seem to like dogs more than they like people, at least he’s getting them to interface with me on a new and different level. I’ve even decided to do a blog for him called ‘Just Call Me Snarky Boy’ because of his somewhat snarky nature.

All this because I love to do my own thing! See you around on the net!


Lynn Crain realized at an early age she wanted to write. She took the long way to being published by doing a variety of things like nursing assistant, geologist, technical writer and computer manager all of which have added to her detail-oriented stories. Now she’s a full-time storyteller and weaves fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal tales, as well as erotic stories for various publishers. She is a past national board member of the RWA; founding president of Las Vegas Romance Writers Chapter of RWA. Her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria, with her husband as he works for a UN-affiliated organization. You can find her hanging out at A Writer In Vienna Blog and various other places on the net (http://www.theloglineblog.blogspot.com/; http://www.twitter.com/oddlynn3;%20www.lynncrain.blogspot.com ).

Still, the thing she loves most of all is hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for coming on today, Lynn.

    You're way braver than me. I don't know that I could move to a foreign country where I know no one and don't speak the language.

    ReplyDelete