You’re shaking your head. You don’t believe me. Embrace embarrassment?
Nobody wants to be embarrassed. After all, it’s awkward and uncomfortable and …
But unless you’re an alien from outer space, suffering from
delusion, or are otherwise abnormal, you understand embarrassment.
You know what it’s like to say or do something really dumb or silly and to
experience the sudden desire to crawl into a dark hole and become invisible.
Some people experience this more than others, especially Life-Long
Card-Carrying Members of the Dork Club… like me.
Embarrassment is my old friend.
So, as a writer, I’ve learned to embrace it. In my stories,
essays and just-published (yay!) book from Oak Tree Press, Confessions of a
Do-Gooder Gone Bad, I’ve written about some of the most embarrassing
experiences in my life - like the time I rushed to the vet, thinking my poor bunny
had cancer, only to be told by the amused vet that those “tumors” were
Or the time I was so spaced out from taking allergy medicine, I
couldn’t think straight at work and inadvertently introduced myself as “Ann
Oh my gosh... seriously?
Embarrassment is a gift to me because these are the experiences that I will remember and laugh about forever. Whether I write a tongue-in-cheek piece about Hollywood actresses, or an essay about my son's early childhood obsession with flushing things down the toilet, I love to write about the inevitable surprise and hilarity in life. Embarrassment is often the key.
So embrace it. You don’t have to write a memoir. Use the
funny and ridiculous experiences in your own life as inspiration to give your
characters depth. Allow your characters to say or do something stupid. Make
their faces turn beet red and let them squirm. Give your readers periodic permission to
laugh at your characters, no matter how serious the story. They will
relate, and they will appreciate it.
As a writer, I have fully embraced embarrassment, so if you
read about the foibles of my life in Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad, I
give you permission to laugh with me… and at me!