“So, um, I like your work.” It feels an awful lot like, “Hey, baby, what’s your sign?” It makes me feel like I’m going on the prowl, and that just seems…strange.
But I decided a long time ago that it doesn’t hurt to sincerely compliment something that I admire. And sometimes something good can even come of it. The key word is “sincere”, though. Now that I’m writing/reading slush for Shock Totem, I can’t tell you how many people are schmoozing me for an in. Which is pretty funny, actually. I can spot a schmoozer a mile away (hello, my old job, remember? I worked with liars for a living!) and even if somebody did manage to sweep me right off of my stilettos, I have zero pull. But knock yourselves out, people; hope and humor are good for the soul.
I read a story last year that was simply amazing. Thoughtful, touching, tinged with sadness and a bit of burning anger. It stayed with me, and I finally emailed the author to say how stunning the story was. She wrote back not long ago saying, “Thank you, and I like your work, too. Especially X, Y,and Z.” It made me happy. Suddenly I’m reminded of two unfamiliar girls in pigtails and knee socks, standing awkwardly together at recess. Do you want to play? I guess so. Okay. Okay.
(This analogy reminds me of my friend Rachel. “I like your skirt.” “I like your dress.” “Let’s be dear friends!” “All right!”)
Twitter was abuzz this morning with this particular post by Jeremiah Tolbert. I’ve never been a Internet flamer, but I sometimes shy away from telling somebody that I enjoy what they said or did. I like his “Hey, use your fandom powers for good!” attitude, but most importantly, this article just made me happy.
So I’m going to be more open about the things that I like, even if it makes me all twitchy. I’m still committed to Doing Things That Scare Me.