As you know I’m Maria’s twin sister – and we’ve been working together for over 20 years. As in all good twin relationships there is always an alpah twin – in our relationship that would be Maria. She’s the ‘up-front’ gal, I’m the beta, more the ‘behind-the-scenes’ gal. When we meet new people, Maria is the one who does all the talking; she’s the one who is ‘our’ public face. In private, with our families, I’m the one who does all the talking. Public speaking makes me nervous. Meeting new people makes me nervous. Well, being on the road these past two months we’ve had to meet a lot of new people and do a lot of talking. It’s been both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Add to the mix that I’m meeting people I admire and respect – the women who write the books I read with a passion – well it’s more than just a little nerve racking.
You can imagine what it’s like for me – trying to be professional, competent and intelligent is tricky when in reality I’m a gushing fan. I’ve been on many sets and locations with celebrities and have done my job in a professional manner; but I couldn’t seem to pull that persona out when I was with my favorite authors. When we went to interview Nora Roberts, I couldn’t speak, all I could do was grin and nod, I looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Maria had to do the interview. I know, very professional.
It was a different story when we were doing the Mary Jo Putney interview – Maria was on another location – so I had to do the interview – by myself! I was a nervous wreck. The morning of the interview I woke up in the hotel in a cold sweat and unable to breathe. Our partner, JR, took one look at me and said – breathe Marisa, just breathe. Easier said than done. When ever I’m nervous or full of fear I pull into myself. There are times when I’m on a plane and Maria tries to have a conversation with me, I tell her to please be quiet, I can’t speak, you see I’m busy holding the plane up. So as we were driving to do the Mary Jo Putney interview the crew looked at me like I had two heads. Normally I’m busy talking about everything under the sun – not this time, I was practically in the fetal position in the back of the van. I couldn’t speak – I was trying to hold the world up. By the time we got to the interview I was barely able to get out of the car. But Mary Jo came out and welcomed us with open arms. Her warmth and generosity put me at ease – I could fianlly breathe.
Since then, Maria and I have been in different parts of the country and I’ve had to do many of the interviews without her. I’m learning at this late stage in my life to face my fear of meeting new people and to step up – to do the thing that needs doing. It’s been an incredible experience. Each author has welcomed us with grace, humor and warmth. Their generosity trumps my fears and when I’m sitting there talking to them I begin to breathe again.
What fear have you recently conquered?