On the One Hand

Have you ever had someone paint a picture of you that you don’t recognize? I’m talking not of portraits, but a picture in words, an opinion of who you are and what you have done that takes your breath away because it is so totally different from the way you see yourself. Than the way you want them to see you.

I recently had a conversation with someone that left me scrambling to make sense of the differences between their perception and my own. I am not naive or egotistical enough to imagine that I have no flaws, but to be accused of faults I have no knowledge of, no awareness, and an abhorrence to leaves me feeling a little lost and insecure. Are they right? Am I?

I know my image of myself is not completely unprejudiced (usually in favor of myself but often against), but the other view isn’t completely accurate either. They don’t know everything that has happened in my life, in my head, and neither are they completely impartial as they judge what they do know. The truth has to lie somewhere in between the two, doesn’t it?

The conversation left me with a “What now?” kind of feeling. On the one hand, I want to tear through the past, looking for concrete proofs–letters, emails, texts, photos, recordings, journal entries, anything–that will reveal the truth of what kind of person I actually am. I’m not sure if the purpose of such ransacking would be to prove something to myself or to the other person. Mostly, though, this urge stems from a knowledge to want to know the truth. Who am I? What is the true balance of character that is Debra R. Borys, Deb, Debbie, mother, daughter, sister, friend?

On the other hand, I want to dig a hole and live in it. I want to build walls and hide behind them. I want to be a hermit who lives in the cave and only communes with squirrels and wolves and woodpeckers. I want to quit.

I have to pick a path somewhere in the middle. One foot in front of the other, doing the best I can with what I have, whatever that might be. Looking for a way to keep balanced. I will keep the criticisms in the back of my mind, weigh them against my experiences to see if I might learn from them and improve. Embrace what helps, discard what harms. Try, try, try. What else can we do?

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October Events

I can’t believe October is almost here, but I’m loving this fall weather. If I can just pretend winter snows and cold aren’t right behind autumn, I can be a happy camper. I’m also happy about a couple of events I’m doing in October, three actually, though two of them are on the same day but in different places. Check these out.

Saturday, October 3
Oswego Literary Festival, 9:00 – 1:00
32 West Jefferson, Oswego, IL

The Village of Oswego Cultural Arts Commission along with the Oswego Public Library District will be hosting the 4th annual Oswego Literary Festival.  They will offer sessions, displays, and vendors, including me there selling some books.  I’ll be bringing the new Deb Donahue novel with me, too, so if you’re in the neighborhood and want one, come on by.  They are also raffling off all three books in my Street Stories series (Painted Black, Bend Me, Shape Me, and Box of Rain) and lots of other cool prizes. The library’s Oswego Campus features a beautiful, new addition. This will be the first major event in the new annex.

WOA2Word of Art 2/Fall Art Scene, 5:00 – 9:00
Celebration Gallery at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church
902 Third Ave, Rockford, IL

This is an extended showing of the Word of Art selections being shown in their gallery, and will include 5 minute readings during the first 30 minutes of each hour by In Print members.  My reading will be at the beginning of the 6:00 hour and I haven’t decided yet if I will read my award winning story Spare Change, or if I should read a scene from one of my novels, like Box of Rain.  What do you think?

Saturday, October 24

PPLPrinceton Public Library Author Fair, 10:00 – 2:00
698 E Peru St., Princeton IL

I am especially excited about this event, since this is the library where I work and I am involved with the planning, in addition to being one of the authors who will participate. We have over 30 authors lined up to bring their books for a chance to sell and sign them for readers. We hope to make this an annual event, and may add a few extras to the day like speakers and giveaways.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated if we do.