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 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.
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 PB 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.