Shelley Widhalm

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

A Poem about Writing

In Novel editing, Poetry, Writing on September 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

After finishing my novel in February, I, of course, had to edit it, and edit it again. I finished my sixth edit last week and upon completing the three-week process, figured the manuscript was ready for the agent search.

But because I couldn’t get enough of editing, I started editing my poetry — I’ve written 750 poems, not that even half of them are any good. I’m trying to winnow them down into a collection. I found dozens on the writing process, like this one:

HIGH/ Shelley Widhalm

I can get high off writing.

The words to me are like alcohol.

I drink them, wanting more

And more.

My heart clicks in my chest

And my breath quickens

As I slur them scribbling, trying to cram

Each

One

Onto paper.

Even so, I never hear the rattle of ice cubes

In my empty glass.

I never have to say,

Barkeep, get me another.

I just keep on, feeling lighter and lighter

As I let go of them.

My buzz is from seeing the sentences

And paragraphs

Like pieces of myself

Filling up the pages.

Rows of beer bottles I can come back to if I feel

Lonely.

I let the words go, get crazy with them,

Don’t stumble

Walking.

I change words and add some,

Leave out others,

Always coming back to the wanting

Like needing a drink.

I need words, or I go into withdrawal

With the missing of what is really me and my company.

That’s what writing is.

Or is it?

I’m only one drunk writing to another.

Defeating Shyness

In Modeling, Shelley Widhalm, Shyness on September 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

Modeling, reading my poetry on stage and blogging about being shy all have helped me overcome my shyness.

I think.

I have learned that one way to conquer shyness is to set aside fear and dive into the situation. I don’t like approaching a large group of people where I don’t know anyone.  But if I break up that group into smaller groups or individuals, especially those who I find interesting, then I can say “hello” and ask a question or two.

People really do like to talk about themselves.
If they brush you off, it’s probably more about them, than about you.

Another situation I found to be difficult is giving speeches.

In my college speech class, I memorized my speeches and thought I had to follow my note cards to the letter. If I looked an audience member in the eye, my fear instinct took over. What if I messed up and looked like an idiot?

But I now can read my poetry to an audience, because I, for one, am not being graded. And if those in the audience don’t like what I wrote, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m rejected.

Rejected – that’s how I used to feel.

I was told throughout my life that I was beautiful (on the exterior), but I felt like an ugly duckling. I didn’t go for modeling when I was a teen, because I didn’t know that you could learn how to do something and then do it. Now, that I’m checking off one of goals, I figure that it really doesn’t matter if I get turned down for modeling jobs, I just want to do it for the experience.

I went online to research about shyness, as if I’m not already an expert on the subject. One blogger wrote that she is an inwardly directed person and prefers to process the world internally before speaking up. Another blogger stated that shyness doesn’t benefit anyone.

I get that.

I read that those who are shy are afraid of rejection, humiliation and being ignored. They are oversensitive and insecure.

And that those who are inclined toward shyness are often the most thoughtful.

I still have the fear of getting rejected, but I expect it to happen here and there. I don’t mind being humiliated because it happens. And as far as being ignored, I think I experience that a lot. I say things that bounce along unheard.

But who cares?

The sensitivity I likely won’t shed because without it I wouldn’t gather words and images and life to fling into heart-rearing sentences, as if I could get rid of insecurity with careful observation.

The Modeling-Writing Connection

In Artists, Modeling, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on September 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

I decided to accept the modeling contract but still need to do the paperwork. Why I’m delaying, I don’t know.

Maybe it’s fear. I don’t mind getting the rejections, but I do hate to waste time. I’m worried that I’ll go after the casting and modeling calls and not get accepted for anything, plus lose the time that I could have spent writing.

I’m trying to finish editing a novel, start my next novel and put together a collection of poetry.

I see my time after the work day as something I have to fill with a set number of tasks, plus have some fun, if there is, you know, time. If I don’t accomplish at least most of those tasks, I tell myself that I won’t get anywhere with my goals of writing and getting published. It’s a self-imposed conundrum born out of perfectionism.

I used to not be this way, well except for my grades.

I used to see myself as shy and introverted with a desire to go out, at least during my college years. If there was a party to go to, I wanted to be there. I wanted to stay up late, listening to loud music, talking to at least a few people and forgetting that I usually label myself as shy.

But after college, I started moving every couple of years, chasing my news career. I still wanted the fun factor, but making friends wasn’t always easy.

So I hung out alone – a lot.

As I became more extroverted as a reporter, and that quality seeped into my personal life, I became more introverted in another way. I started getting my satisfaction not from seeing how much fun could be had in one night but from inner stuff, including completing tasks, writing and working on my dream of becoming a novelist.

Now, I want to show off my exterior through modeling, but at the same time, I want to protect my interior comfort of being that starving, alone and needing-to-achieve artist.

Modeling Confidence

In Body image, Modeling, Shyness on September 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

This week, I found out I made the cut for modeling/acting, a fact I’m still trying to process.

After I picked up my mail in the post office, I opened the large white envelop from the American Mall Model Search (I was too impatient to wait until I got home) and flipped through the information packet, thinking, “Are you serious?”

I did not expect to make it – I’m out of the 20s decade. I want to lose 10 pounds. And I’m not 100 percent confident. I got an 8 for modeling out of 10 possible points, and a 7 for acting.

One of the comments under the modeling category was “confident.” I thought, wow, that’s quite a compliment considering that I’ve been carrying around my shyness label for most of my life.

But my confidence only goes so far. The packet includes a list of casting calls for movies – I don’t have any acting experience, so should I sign up with this company? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? The doubts start entering my mind. I want to be handed a contract, but I didn’t make the top cut. I have to work for it.

And then my overactive imagination took over. What if I get a part and experience a taste of Hollywood? That would give me something to write about. And what if I land a couple more parts and become famous and a regular part of “Us Weekly” and “People”? And what if my being famous made people want to read my yet-to-be-published novels?

I have another six weeks to decide.

Either way, I am glad I walked the runway and recited one of my poems before the judges. My friend who I saw that night (July 16) said that I looked amazingly happy. I was going after an old dream, that of being a model, not caring whether or not I made it. It was the doing that mattered.