Fear and Other Pleasantries

October 3, 2011 § 16 Comments

Lovely blog readers, I’d like to direct you to a new link on the left side of the home page titled “Published Work.” After years of writing and submitting, I finally have a short story acceptance forthcoming in Quail Bell Magazine. 

I am struck with moments of “YIPPY SKIPPPY.”

Like so:

And then I’m attacked with moments of “PEOPLE ARE GOING TO READ THIS. MY FICTION WILL BE PUBLISHED FOR THE WORLD TO SEE AND POSSIBLY HATE.” I break out into a cold sweat and begin to weep. Oh the gnashing and snarling. It isn’t pretty.

Until now, all the writing I’ve linked to is non-fiction/mommy humor variety (Like the ghost story I have up at An Army of Ermas now. “Ghosts” are the theme of the month and I really don’t like ghost stories. Mama scares easy. Yes, I just referred to myself as “Mama”).

But with this short story acceptance, I MADE IT UP IN MY MIND, and people might hate what my mind made up. I wrote it two years ago for a competition I lost  and it doesn’t even sound like me anymore. I can’t tell if that’s a good or a bad thing.

I want to do things that scare me, to tackle the unknown head on. I did that this weekend by way of going to my high school reunion. Might not sound that horrifying to you, but my senior year of high school was an interesting one – I was a new girl.

Fear. It was a fearful year in so many ways and for the reunion I was afraid no one would remember me and I would feel awkward or out-of-place, which is how I felt the majority of my senior year. But you know what? I had a wonderful time. People remembered me and were genuinely kind. My husband seemed to have a nice time too.   

I’m going to keep doing things that scare me, to get over my fears, and myself. People might not like my short story, but I enjoyed the process. That’s good enough for me.

I know I’m not the only writer who is afraid. How do you all get over your fear and anxiety?

Also, if you’re afraid of clowns, I suggest you watch this to get over it. Yes.

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§ 16 Responses to Fear and Other Pleasantries

  • Patty Blount says:

    You’re right to be proud and to be yippy skippy and that there will be people who don’t like your work. Goes with the territory. Don’t focus on that part – it’ll just paralyze you. Instead, embrace the process, as you said. You’re doing something you love and for that reason alone, I say you should ENJOY THE HELL OUT OF IT!


  • Linda G. says:

    So. Freaking. Cool!!!

    Yes, terror and all. That’s all part of it, like with roller coasters and clowns.

    Now, do as Patty said and ENJOY THE HELL OUT OF IT! 🙂

  • Yay! Congratulations!!! 🙂

  • Wild applause from my end of the gallery! So happy for you HM! That is great!

  • Anna Lefler says:

    I love this post. And I can’t wait to read your short story.

    I can relate to the particular fear you’re talking about. Two nights ago I discovered that – unbeknownst to me – Amazon had released the Kindle version of my book. Waaay ahead of schedule. The print version isn’t due out for weeks, but here the book was, essentially – right there, ready for complete strangers to download, read and MOCK.

    I wasn’t braced for it and I didn’t have my shields up, you know? I downloaded it into my Kindle, looked at for about 4 seconds, then proceeded to have the first anxiety attack of my life. (Yes, that would be me, lying on the floor under the breakfast table.)

    Anyway, it passed.

    But I agree with you that facing fears and putting it out there is crucial. I also happen to believe that it’s the secret to youth – being willing to push oneself outside the comfort zone – and keep pushing it back further – and keep growing and increasing the personal skillset. I think that’s where the magic is, frankly.

    So I applaud both your getting your story published, and your having the COURAGE to get your story published. Both of these things are a big deal.

    Cheers to you!



    P.S. – Also, I’m scared to crap of clowns and will be until the day I die.

  • Jen Stayrook says:

    No amount of cheeky Wal-Mart advertising will dispel my fear of clowns. That’s a deep-seeded fear there. It will takes years and years of therapy to even scratch the surface. I applaud you for trying however.

    CONGRATS AGAIN on the awesome short story news! You’re amazing and deserve ALL wonderful things. Haters to the left.

  • Karen Hooper says:

    I’ve got the same fear/anxiety feeling about next month. Eek.

    Miss you!!!

  • Shain Brown says:

    The brilliant Harley May worried about her stories being read, rather being admired, by all these strangers. Be happy, be proud, and love that you are finally being acknowledged for your brilliance. Congratulations. I am so happy for you. You deserve every bit of the accolades coming your way.

  • Congratulations! Now let’s work on what’s under the bed…

  • Many congratulations! The terror is part of it – it’s like stage fright just before you walk out before the audience. Then it goes fast in a whirl and, before you know it, you’re at the after-party, drunk and getting felt up by the handsome male lead AND the sensitive assistant director.

    Um, not that that ever happened to me…

  • Mercedes says:

    YAY YOU! Congratulations! 😀

  • You’re brave! Facing fears is so much easier said than done. I like knowing people who actually do it. I am so happy for you. Had I known this the other day I’d have tackle-hugged you!

  • Harley May says:

    You’re all incredible. Thank you so much for your input, for reading, and liking me.

    I am humbled. Thank you, thank you.

  • Trisha Leigh says:

    Fear is normal, and healthy, but the amazing part is how you don’t let it stop you from doing the things you love, and the things you’re good at – that’s writing, in your case, and I can’t wait for more people to get a glimpse of that beautiful soul through your words.

    Hugs. So proud of you.

  • Masonian says:


    Welcome to the other side of the invisible fence that is publication of made up things.

    Adulations and tips of the proverbial hat to you.

  • Hey Harleymay,
    Cool Post, Pleasantries of emotion denied
    One abandons all hope
    Yet all fear
    No regrets
    I see no pain
    I see no happiness
    What right do I have to
    My efforts fruitless
    Yet another in a campaign of lies
    Falsified importance
    I continue on
    For the sake of doing so
    No hope in death
    No hope here
    Kindest Regards

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