Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Michele Hauf: Heading to the Party...


...(with fear in my soul)

The last time I went to a Romantic Times convention? Six years ago. Why so long to visit again? I confess. I'm not a social creature. The idea of standing in a crowded room makes me feel crawly and uncomfortable.

Most writers will claim the same, but I know our ilk is varied, from wallflowers to party crashers. I'm of the wallflower variety. And I don't believe it's a condition that can easily be changed, but maybe...modified. I'm determined to do so!

I'm excited about RT. What an excellent opportunity to meet the fans! Do I have fans? I don't know. I hope at least one will show up. See, there's another fear. Will anyone care? But it's a silly fear. I know I have readers! Now, the challenge will be for them to find me. (Just kidding!
Er...maybe.)


It's not like I'm hiding, or that I'm unsociable. I just...don't know how to do it. To chat. To mingle. To (okay I'll admit it) let my hair down and relax. Heck, I even have trouble speaking with new friends. If I haven't known you for years, there's just a certain distance that prevents me from embracing the conversation completely. (And let's not even bring up the subject of embracing, all right? Hugs? ) I've oft looked back over parties and wondered if they thought me a little cold, perhaps a trifle snotty? It's never purposeful, I promise. I'm just a social retard, that's all there is to it.

And we got this fabulous party planned! What have I gotten myself into? I am most comfortable at parties sitting along the edge, watching the crowds as they talk and dance and laugh. But to walk around and seek conversation? Now that's a horror story. To be greeted by someone who says they've read my book? A complete stranger? Well, not so horrific--in fact, pretty darn cool--but excuse me while I take a deep breath and summon my confidence. I just need to remind myself that we're all going to be there for the same reason--the love of reading.

***

Encore! Head over to CosmoChix.blogspot.com for more fun with Michele Hauf, and enter to win the CosmoChix bling!
Encore due! Michele Hauf is a lovely person, inside and out. But she is kinda shy. I have an image in my mind of her at our local Romance Writers of America chapter's holiday shindig, which was at my house last year. It's of her with a stricken look on her face, trying to escape me as I attempt to force food and drink upon her for the millionth time. I was just being Italian.
Encore tre! Michele may already have left for the RT convention, so I'm not sure she'll be checking in today. But I'm sure she'll check back when she returns.

27 comments:

Julie in Ohio said...

Michele, you brought tears to my eyes. You just described me at every social gathering I've been to. I, too, have been called cold because of my shyness. I wish I was going to RT. We could've sat in a back corner with a drink people watching together.
I hope you have a good time and am excited to hear your take on the conference when you get back.

Vivi Anna said...

Michele, you have a fan right here! I love your books. Crowds? Shy? My advice, drink!

amy*skf said...

Michele, I met you once at an MFW meeting and you were lovely--you were incredibly sweet to me.

At the meeting I was on some kind of 'I'm the biggest fool to be here' and 'talk to me, because I'm a riot' kind of fence post. That is where I'm usually at Michele--fluctuating wildly between the two.

I think you have a fabulous brain--can't believe you don't actually know how to crack a safe and have never been to France! You'd never know it from your books...but you also never hit us over the head with it.

Have fun at RT! You'll be great.

Monica Burns said...

Michelle,

Like you, I despise going into a room without the protection of friends or knowing people. Once I get to know you, I'm quite gregarious.

The key to socalizing is to make the other person think that they're the most important person in the room. Simply listen. Look them directly in the eye and listen. That way you don't have to worry about what to say.

Here are some questions to memorize and use.

So what do you write/read?
What drew you to write/read it?
Who's you're favorite author?
What's your favorite genre?

This is AT LEAST a 10-15 min conversation where the other person is doing the most talking. And since you're listening hard, you'll think of more questions as you go along. Just ask questions. That's the key to socializing.

Oh, and while I love ViviAnna's drink suggestion, keep it to watered down drinks. There are still editors and agents around. They do pay attention to who can hold their alcohol. *wink* And one never knows if the person one bumps into is an editor or agent that you want to impress.

Julie in Ohio said...

Monica, that is such good advice. I will use it the next time I'm out somewhere. That's my problem I never know what to say, I failed small talk 101, but if the other person is doing the talking then I don't have to worry about it. I can just sit back and listen. Thanks.

I tend to go from one extreme to another. If I get enough caffeine in me or be involved in a topic that I know something about and feel like I can contribute something, I start babbling and don't stop. But most of the time I find a corner and people watch, which can be fun in the right atmosphere.

Julie in Ohio said...

Correction to my comment: I actually don't have to feel like I contribute anything. If there is a topic I know something about, the babbling just begins.


Kind of like right now. I need to back off on the coffee in the A.M. Maybe only 2 cups instead of 3.

Michele said...

OK, this is bizarre.
Her name is Michele with one L.
MY name is Michele with one L.

In large gatherings, I am exactly the same. If I can be "helpful" and do things for the hostess, serve, clean, gopher - I'm more comfortable. I crave it.

In blogland, I can hide behind the keyboard and let my inner goof out. Once you know me - in a small venue - I am the way I type.
Put me in a large populated event, and I fade. I can't look people in the eye when I talk to them, I get quiet and nonassuming or I suffer from "foot in mouth" syndrome. ergo - babble.
Female geek with the emphasis on "EEK!"

I find it amazing that I have some things in common with people who are genius - like Michele Hauf.

Julie in Ohio said...

Oh, Michele, I forgot to mention it before, I love the picture of you with the wig. Well, I'm guessing it is you and I'm really hoping it is a wig. If not, I know a great hair dresser who would love to get her hands on you.

Eve Silver said...

Holy flying cows, Michele! You could be describing me to a "T"!

I can stand up in front of a lecture hall full of people and do a class without even feeling my heart rate increase, but put me into a one-on-one social situation, and I freeze.

Love Vivi's advice, LOL! (Unfortunately, I'm not much of a drinker, so it wouldn't work for me).

And love Monica's advice... I'm memorizing her questions for RWA this summer.

Sunny Stefani said...

It amazes me how shy so many of us are !!!

I thought it was just a big problem that I've never been able to overcome...

When I have my camera in front of me...I am a Lioness...stalking and fierce....

but place me at a party or some social function...and I dress in black and hide in the corner at the edge...

..but I've been trying to work through my shyness...

...like when I enter a restaurant...I look into the eyes of people that are around me...rather than lowering my head...

but it is so difficult....

...my only comfort is to know, that I'm not alone in this feeling...

and of course a valium can come in handy...

rachd said...

Oh, Michele, I'm sorry you have to endure this. I'm an extreme extrovert (bet ya'll hadn't figured that one out *smirk*), but my husband and best friends are MAJOR introverts. They are worn out by socializing, and prefer to find a quiet corner in which to talk with a very small group of people, or hide =).

These ladies seem to have some excellent advice! Good luck! =)

Manda said...

Okay, this is wierd, because I too am a shy one...

Michele, I am so with you on the hug thing. I don't mind hugs, but it's taken me a long long time to even hug my close friends. My family just isn't very demonstrative. And I feel like I give off a cold vibe, though aroung people I know I can be gregarious and outgoing.

Eve, I too am more comfortable giving a speech than making small talk. What's with that? I guess for the speech I tend to be more prepared than for impromptu conversation with new people.

Monica, those are great tips!

Vivi, I must confess that your liquid courage advice has helped me on more than one social occasion...

Cheers everybody! Hope all those who are going to RT have a great time!

Manda said...

Oh, and Rach, it's really hard to tell who's outgoing and who's shy on this list. Though I think I wouldn't have picked you for a shy one:)

rachd said...

manda, et. al, isn't it wonderful how the relative anonymity of the blogosphere lets those who otherwise wouldn't feel comfortable enough to come out of their shell (so to speak)? I wonder why that is...

Julie in Ohio said...

That is the thing I like about 'net' friends, is that we don't have an image to live up to. We are actually being the selves that we want to be, not the living in a hole, hoping nobody tries to engage conversation with us person that we tell ourselves will not come out the NEXT time we are out somewhere. (Please tell me that I'm not the only one who tells themselves this everyday in the mirror.)

It is a great feeling of release not to hide behind a mouthful of food or a drink or even an unneeded bathroom break (I'm not the only one who has done this!). To just be ourselves.




Alright, I began rambling again.

Instead of "word" verifications (which I'm still not convinced it should be called), I think they need to initiate time limits. SHEESH.
Think they could get the head honchos to let them use the final Jeopardy music? *g*

Julie in Ohio said...

Rach, our posts overlapped. Isn't it funny that we were thinking the same thing?

Maybe there's hope for me yet!

rachd said...

You are too funny, Julie! =)

I think you may be onto something with the not living up to an image thing. I don't worry about it because I *know* I'm a dork. And well, although I want everyone to love me (I live in utter terror that someone won't like me!) at the same time I have to say your loss if you don't! (See, I can pretend to have self-confidence in blogland--ya'll don't know any different ;-) ).

Julie in Ohio said...

Well, it is a relief to know that I'm not the only one out there. Thanks, all!!!
Cyber hugs all around. (There not so intimidating.)

Now it is time for American Idol. My guilty pleasure.

As Tigger says, T.T.F.N

Stacy~ said...

Wow, I feel like we are all soul sisters here, because I am one of the shy ones, too. I do admit to being more outgoing lately, but put me in a social situation where I don't know anyone, and I am a total wallflower. It does come across to other peopl as being cold and unfriendly, which isn't it at all, so when I see the same thing in other people I tend to believe they are also shy cuz I know what it's like.

Monica, I like your suggestions - for those of us who are shy, socializing can be exhausting, so it's good to go into it with a list of things to talk about - I'm not always spontaneous.

Michele, I agree about the internet and blogging. I probably sound more confident (but no less of a dork *g*) than I do in person. The keyboard gives us the luxury of deleting (think Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail) and sounding more brilliant than we might in person.

Manda, I'm so with you on the hugging thing. My family doesn't show a lot of affection and while I don't mind it, it's sometimes hard for me to express myself with hugs. I'm usually the one being hugged, not the other way around.

Julie, I ramble constantly, and I really do enjoy your posts. You may feel a bit insecure but you're not afraid to share or talk about it. I can relate to a lot of what you say.

Rach, I always worry that someone won't like me - even here. Sometimes I'll think "so and so didn't respond to my post. They must not like me". LOL. And (hopefully!) that's not it at all. But I let myself fall into that trap. It's crazy how we do that to ourselves.

Let me just say that this is an awesome bunch and I really feel like I can be my old, dorky self and it's okay - no one's gonna judge me. Thank you Michelle (with 2 l's) for bringing us all together and making us one big happy family :)

rachd said...

You said it best, Stacy! Thanks, Michelle! We are a pretty classy buncha bellas and we're here because of you =).

Now, since the hubby has yet to return and I'm up at 4 am (Oh, gawd, I HATE that!!) I'm off to bed.


Oh, one last rambly thought. Michelle, I don't think any of us were griping about the "word" verification being on, just that the "words" are insane! We certainly don't want our cozy Bella abode to be invaded by nastiness, or people who don't appreciate dorks *g*. You know we all need to gripe one in a while...

rachd said...

Oh, heck, that should be "ONCE in a while". Yup, it's offical, I'm a pooped dork.

And, my "word" is xsxcxvw. What?????

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! I feel like a mother hen, reading all of your convos today. And if I weren't so slammed, I'd so be gabbing, too.

I'm off to RT tomorrow morning. I'll be posting Travis Grieman's questions tomorrow. Friday, I'm guestblogging on SquawkRadio.com, reporting "Live" from RT.

So, in penultimate comment, Michele Hauf apparently has a cutie UPS guy, too. And, now that I think of it, my UPS guys is kinda cute, too.

I'm so glad you come here to share and play and drool and pant. You're always welcome. I feel honored to have youz. As my father-in-law says: grazie e buona sera! Ciao for now!

Sunny Stefani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sunny Stefani said...

I just wrote this at SquawkRadio earlier today!!! ...I have a beautiful UPS guy too !!!

I am so in lust over my UPS man !!!

I order everything I can to get that beautiful Hunk knocking at my door...

...and with his beautiful sweat glistening on his face and forearms...

He'll bring the packages in for me...and place them on the floor....

...while I control myself not to stroke his skin or smooth my fingers through his dark hair...

...and then I'll offer him water...and watch him smile as I thank him and walk him to the door...

...already thinking in my mind...what I will order next week from UPS...



Sunny

amy*skf said...

Sunny--LOflippinL.

Sunny Stefani said...

Of course...my UPS reveries...are only for fun....

...but, I am anxiously awaiting his golden arrival with my Pearl Jam tickets on Monday !!!


"...that she had so completely recovered her sanity was a source of sadness to her. One should never be cured of one's passion."

~ M. Duras

Michele said...

Wow! I wish I would have had all this awesome advice before I set off for RT. But just to report, I think I made it through just fine, and was only hugged once (by our own lovely Michelle B, but she did warn me first). I like hug warnings, eh?

Anyway, I did linger along the edges most of the time, but fortunately I was there with a great group of friends, so it was easy to join conversations just having someone next to me. I tried to avoid all cameras, but I know some pictures were taken. !!!!!!! Ah well, I don't think I'll ever get over the camera thing.

What do you all think of pictures? I always see myself and it's like the camera highlights all those wrong things that you never really notice in the mirror. I must have some body-dismorphic thing. (Not to be crass about it, because it is a serious condition.) My pictures are just never right, hence, my shyness.

And for all those who called me a genius, well, heck! Obviously you don't know me, but I can work with that one for the day. I've got a synopsis to get polished up in two days and I could sure use some genius vibes. :-)

Michele