Monday, January 29, 2007

Audiences and Idiots

On Friday I was teaching creative writing at a seminar in Edmonton, Alberta. The people were great and we had a blast.

Well, I noticed a woman sitting in the front row who didn't seem too engaged. In fact, she seemed well... bored. And even though there were 70 other people in the room who were all totally into what I was doing, that one woman began to bother me. A little voice in my head started saying, "Why doesn't she like me? Aren't I funny enough? Did I offend her? Why won't she smile?" It was annoying. Not only her, but the voice too.

Then suddenly I heard another voice. I wish I could tell you it was God, but I think it was just common sense. It said, "Ok Steve. So 70 people are laughing, learning, connecting, loving this seminar and this one woman isn't into what you're doing and you're letting that bother you? Do you have any idea how stupid that is?"

Um no. I didn't.

Why do I do that? Why do I let these perfectionistic tendencies get such a firm grip on me? I want to be wanted, I love being loved. But in that moment I realized that not everyone is going to love me and I better just learn to deal with it.

That revelation was sort of depressing and also encouraging at the same time. I'm not perfect. Everyone else knows that. And I'll be alot more fun to be around when I can learn that too.


Tammy said...

I was one of the 70 in the room on Saturday. NOTE: I was NOT the grumpy one, lol! Funny how many of us who seem to exude confidence still have doubts on the inside. Have no doubt though, that you ministered to me on that day. I'm here because I'm ordering a couple of your resources to help in my new ministry (yes, starting over after 14 years in youth ministry... child-focused this time), as a jump-start to using more of my creativity as I share the stories of Scripture with kids.

Thanks for your ministry and God bless you!

Boys Town said...

um, i wasn't in that class. however, i just want to say that i LOVE your writing! actually, i've only just discovered one of your books, story. (i had no idea you had written nearly 2 dozen of them!) thank you, thank you, thank you for your work. i'm looking forward to reading lots more.

rjh_73 said...

I attended two of your classes and I agree with what Tammy said, you definitely ministered to me that day. I was also not the grumpy one and I appreciate your enthusiasm towards this ministry. But to the 'grumpy' persons credit, maybe they were just having a bad day and it reflected in your room or maybe that's just their personality. Hopefully, you were an encouragement to them to smile, jump on chairs,throw bears around and even sing a little rap tune once in a while.

Sing and be happy my friend!

suzie said...

So maybe this is part of the journey we are all on , eh?
(I was in the class in Edmonton too)

Becoming more accepting of ourselves, un-perfect creatures such as we are, and in the process becoming more like God intended us to be in the first place.

I liked what you had to share so much on Friday that I traded my "ticket" to come and hear you again on Saturday. Thanks for being there! You inspired me to not be afraid what other people think of my writing or me.

Flea Christenson said...

I wasn't in that class, but I wanted to affirm that you're not perfect. :) Anything I can do to help.

I actually met you last spring at Blue Ridge and was very moved by your talk, as well as the classes you held there. At the time I picked up Story and Quest for Celestia (which my non-reader 12 year old son loved) and have consequently fallen in love with your work. Am looking forward to ordering your new book in September!

I also wanted to let you know that I've listed Story on my blog as one of my all time favorite books ( -- aren't I shameless?)

Keep up the good work Mr. James!