Because I wouldn't believe me either, here's my proof.
There are more pictures, but I'll wait for them to surface in a scandal as my life becomes more notable.
Anyways, this occasion was the first for which I ever flew, in an airplane, in my entire life. Up until that point, I'd never had a reason to get on a plane that I found worthy of facing my fear of flying. And it was't like I even had a well-developed fear. Apart from being forced to watch Alive! in my junior English class (thanks again for that traumatic experience, Mrs. Roberts) I'd never had any personal bad experience with the airline industry. It was more like, "Hmm... I could probably die if the plane crashed, so I can eliminate that possibility 100% if I just avoid flying forever."
Done, and done.
But then, the invite came, and the part of me that was like, YOU WILL GO THERE AND YOU WILL MEET BEN MCKENZIE
And it was as awesome as you can imagine it was... maybe by inserting into the equation a more current teen drama about rich and attractive people.
Over the past two years, I've realized that much of my life has been lived by the same philosophy that I developed my "fear" of flying.
Somewhere in the abyss of childhood, I'd discovered that life was much more easily lived out by just not participating in it. That if I never attempted anything I didn't know to be 100% foolproof, safe, or easy I never had to face those consequences.
And because of this approach, I didn't die in a plane crash.
Or NOT make the softball team.
Or get rejected as a writer.
Or lots of other things.
But, that doesn't mean that it didn't cost me. Probably a lot more than any of the risk of those things could have.
So, in a very important way writing Songs Eight Six is my own underdog story where the girl faces the giant who is Fear and defies the odds she has stacked against herself and DOES instead of AVOIDS.
And as I count the days until my manuscript comes back to me covered in the scribbles I've always been so afraid of, I am excited that I'm a participant.
And I can't wait for you to read the metaphorical Ben McKenzie that turned me into one.