No need to freak, right? (Right?!?)

Konny graffiti on the streets of Paris photo credit Kirsten Akens 2014

This morning I've got a big interview for a story I've been assigned to write.

And I am freaking out.

I'm trying not to freak out. But I. Am. Freaking. Out.

My interviewee is a big deal. Not just out there in the world at large, but in my life. His work has influenced the way I think. His words are at times so intensely down-to-earth and relatable, and at other times, pure magic — at least in the sense that he seems to be speaking right to me.

And now, in a few hours, he will be.

Instead of him challenging me to think about things differently, I'll be asking him the deep questions.

That feels like a lot of pressure.

Of course, I've been in a similar place before.

I've freaked out (and geeked out) over interviewing, among others:

Amanda Palmer. Hunter Hayes. Norah Jones. Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell (who sadly would not record a message for my phone). Taylor Swift. Phil Liggett. Alton Brown.

And then, after getting on the phone and having my initial "Holy Heck I'm Talking To (Fill-In-The-Blank) Moment of Panic," I'd take a deep breath and remember that each one of these people was ... just another person. A successful person, yes. But still, just a person. With a body and a mind. A heart and a soul. A breakfast-lunch-and-dinner-eating human being.

Just like me.

Norah and I chatted about shopping at Target.

Alton and I talked about his love of flying airplanes.

Phil and I chuckled over the fact that he doesn't have a very good history when it comes to picking cycling tournament winners.

And Hunter and I laughed — and laughed and laughed about absolutely nothing at all of importance. (Super nice guy, he is.)

These tidbits might not be of the headline-grabbing sort. But to me, they're what I love most about interviewing, both "celebrities" and the woman next door — connecting with another individual, on a person-to-person level. Catching a glimpse of who's behind the persona. And then using a range of quotes and content to help tell a piece of that person's story, so that my reader has a chance to connect with them too.

Today, I have to remember that. Remember why I like doing what I do.

A little bit of freaking out is OK. It keeps me on my toes.

But then I just have to settle into my seat, open up my computer ... and dial his number.


(This is my Day 2 contribution to the Your Turn Challenge. Read others' contributions and learn more here.)

Show up & ship: the Your Turn Challenge


You know when a sign hits you over the head with a smack and wakes you right up?

That just happened to me.

I blogged every day last week. And I was super proud of that. And I planned to keep it going this week.

Until a case of the Mondays, and a slew of really amazing writing passed across my screen. Inspiring and clever writing like this piece by Mark Manson: The Most Important Question of Your Life.

And this, on the Myth of Perfection, by Susannah Conway.

And this, by Courtney Martin, on the Sacred Inefficiencies of a Very Human Life.

Cue the self-doubt. I got a major case of ...

The not-good-enoughs.

The I'll-never-write-like-thems.

The why-do-I-bother-anyways.

And then, like a whack on the side of the head (great book, by the way, which is why there's an affiliate link there, just so you know), or a tap of a magic wand, I found the Your Turn Challenge. A product of Winnie Kao, the Special Projects Lead for the incomparable Seth Godin.

So here I am. Writing a post.

Yeah, it's a post about posting. Which feels a little like cheating. But it's also about how sometimes we just have to shove the crappy thoughts about ourselves that take up residence in our mind aside and produce anyway.

Here's to, as Seth would say, shipping. Every. Single. Day.

Here's to, as my yoga teacher Jessica would say, showing up. Every. Single. Day.

Here's to, as I'm going to say, courage. Every. Single. Day.


(This is my Day 1 contribution to the Your Turn Challenge. Read others' contributions and learn more here.)

Beating myself up

CoffeeCup[dropcap custom_class="normal"] T [/dropcap]his morning at my usual coffee shop a guy asked if he could share my table. It was a wide four-top, and while I tend to spread out, I certainly didn’t need all the space, so I said sure. I kept working on my laptop. Until the table began to shake lightly.

I glanced up. My tablemate had his cup of joe in one hand, his cell phone in the other. He was listening to music through some (really big) headphones – and tapping to the beats on the table.

I was annoyed.

I mumbled in my head.

I felt myself getting worked up.

I complained on Facebook about it. (I do love social media. Instant support!)

After about fifteen minutes, I packed up and left. (He was still there, apparently oblivious.)

And now, I’m kinda pissed at myself. It had been my table. My space he entered. (As much as a table at a coffee shop can be, at least.) And rather than say something to him, I retreated. What is it in some of us that keeps us from speaking up? That keeps us from standing our ground? Really, I should have been able to look up, catch his eye, and ask him (politely, of course) to (please) stop tapping the table. How hard would that have been?

But I couldn’t. I. Just. Couldn’t. I didn’t want to be seen as rude. Or bitchy. Or imposing on his activities. It was easier (at the time) to be all cranky about it, and ultimately, change not only my mood, but my plans.

I don’t want to be that person.

I want to be the person who has enough respect for herself that she can choose to be as important as those around her, and who can ask for what she needs in any situation.

I want to be the person who others respect, and who are willing to honor my needs, and consider my wants.

I want to be the person who can look conflict in the eye, no matter how big or how small, and come nose to nose with it.

I want to show up in my life. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every single moment.

Seems I have some work to do.