Friday, 15 July 2011

Stranger Than Fiction

My first blog received the comment that my profile said a lot about what other people thought of me, and not a lot about me in my own words. So I thought that for my second blog, I'd tell you a bit about me.

Is this something that ‘somebody has to say’? I can assure you, just about anything that could have been said about me has already been said by someone. I might as well lob in and say something myself. The problem is', how would I even begin?

There are reasons for that. Firstly, I think it’s terribly immodest to talk about oneself. I don’t know where I got that attitude, but it has stuck with me. Possibly this is one of the ghosts of my childhood that has unwittingly haunted me through to adulthood. I was the quintessential nerd. Talking about my achievements was not going to improve my popularity at school. I had precious little of it to start with. 

The second reason is I do not often indulge in self-analysis. I am who I am, I like who I am, and I am comfortable with who I am. There is nothing about myself I feel driven to change, although of course I have naturally evolved with age and experience. I learned very early on that some people will like me for who I am, and others won’t, and that’s fine. My own self-acceptance means that I rarely have the need to stop and think about who I am or how to describe me. I am just me. I don’t consider myself to be especially remarkable. Because of this, it is the people who know me best who most often come up with interesting and accurate descriptions of my true self.

The third reason is you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you. At first glance, that sounds like immodesty, in defiance of my rules, but it’s not. I said you wouldn’t believe it. I didn’t say that was because I am unbelievably fabulous! Like most people, I have my own flaws and foibles, and, like the rest of me, they tend to be on a scale that is larger than life.

Even if I did describe myself to you, how much do the words really paint a person? At best, it’s a line drawing, with blank areas waiting to be filled in. You can’t get a real concept of a person from them (think about it, it takes a whole novel for you to really get to know a character). The best way you can learn about me is from observation. As the advice to writers goes, ‘show don’t tell’.

Now, you really can get a sense of who I am from what others have said. You can read some in my profile, but here are a few others you might not have read, before I go on in my own words. I will stretch my distaste of immodesty far enough to say I would not have included this if I didn’t agree with it, so you can assume that the quotes of people who described me as an intolerant judgemental b***h have been omitted. What would they know?

·         My oldest and closest friends describe me as tactless (I think they mean honest, really...), stubborn, loyal, passionate, quirky, strong-willed, confident, trustworthy, determined, and ‘bent on world domination’ (Um... thanks Kylie. What can I say in rebuttal? The world would not like me as dictator!).

·         A friend hand-picked me a birthday card that read ‘She had not yet decided whether to use her power for good or evil’;

·         My boss said 'if I didn't know you I wouldn't believe you could exist';

·         After a first meeting, people who don’t know me describe me as ‘...interesting’ It would be nice to think they are speechless in the face of my brilliance, but it’s probably just shock.

And here’s some extra titbits I thought I might throw your way.

If I was a Dungeons & Dragons RPG character, my alignment would be Chaotic Good. If you don’t know what that means, ask Google.

My favourite quotes are:

·         'I have loved to the point of madness; that which is called madness, to me, is the only way to love.' - Anon

·         'Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.' - Dr Seuss

·         You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.’’ - Ray Bradbury

This is the 'User Manual' created by my friends of 20+ years:

Rule 1: Ciara is always right.

Rule 2: If Ciara is wrong, refer to Rule 1.

Did I mention I'm a lawyer? There's a reason I chose that profession... Absolute conviction in your own infallibility goes a long way in law.

My favourite authors include Terry Goodkind, Fiona McIntosh, Diana Gabaldon, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks.

I love Stargate (SG-1, SGA and SGU), Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Supernatural.

My favourite word is 'defenestrated'. Who would have thought there'd be a word for this? It means to be thrown out of a window. Often used in the context of killing someone, in which case, in the interests of maximum efficacy, the window should be high.

My favourite place to visit is Scotland. I was there in 2008 and I am dying to go back, which won't be until 2015 or 2016. I recently discovered there is a subgenre of romance called 'Scottish Historical'. Clearly I am not the only one who thinks it is a romantic, magical place.

I'm currently working full-time as a lawyer, writing and/or editing, participating in a writer's critique group, undertaking a number of writing workshops, marketing myself online, blogging and raising a daughter. Oh yes, I am an excellent time manager.

And for those people who really want me to describe myself, I have prepared the following, at great emotional cost to myself. I hope you’re happy!

I am an action-oriented perfectionist. I am a decision-maker and a leader. I am demanding, forceful, strong-willed, and determined. I thrive on competition and perform well under pressure. I am fiercely independent, and I work best when my boss just leaves me alone. I am intelligent. I am easily bored.

I am a planner and an organiser, but I am hopelessly untidy. I believe in rationality and logic. I have no tolerance for stupidity (really, none… don’t believe me, try me). I don’t like taking risks (this is almost a pre-requisite to being a lawyer). I am detached and analytical, but at the same time I can be extremely empathic and compassionate.

I am (I think) uncomplicated in my desires. My husband may disagree. I am direct, I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. I won’t play games or politics. This makes me tactless to an extreme. If you ask me to critique your work you will get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I won’t be cruel or nasty, but I won’t lie to you. I will provide helpful examples. I promise not to do the critique in red pen. I can’t be held responsible for whatever colour Word chooses to use on marked up text.

I don’t like time-wasters, or being told what to do. I’m compulsively argumentative. I am assertive, aggressive and confrontational. I don’t like arguing with the people I love.

I am a cynic and an atheist, but I love fantasy and magic. I don’t believe in ghosts and the supernatural but I watch Supernatural. I read fantasy and watch science fiction.

I am a contradiction.

If I was a character in a book, would you believe in me?

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