I’ve been reading on a few YA blogs about a challenge that’s been going around, where you are dared to do something that REALLY scares you before Halloween. No one asked me to do this specifically, but if they had, I can now say that it’s done. Because last night, I got up at The Monti, a live storytelling event, and told a story. The idea of the Monti is this: you tell a story, it has to be true, you can’t use notes and it’s got to be less than twelve minutes. Also, there’s a theme, and last night, it was siblings.

When I first got asked to do this, I was excited. Then, terrified. I mean, I’m used to being up in front of people, but I usually am talking about my books, or my writing, or in the case of teaching, other people’s writing. I’m comfortable with all those topics. But just getting up, and talking, about me and my brother? Scarier than you would think. I was nervous ALL DAY yesterday, and I didn’t even go on until about 9pm. Yikes. Plus, I had to follow the fab Zach Ward, who is a comedian by trade. I mean, hello! But I did what I always try to do when I am terrified and really, really don’t want to do something because of my fear: I took a deep breath, pushed myself to my feet, and walked up there anyway. On the way, I passed this woman who whispered, “Have fun!” Which was actually very helpful. Also helpful was the fact that my parents were there, so I knew that SOMEONE would think I was great even if I passed out or ran offstage. Luckily, that didn’t happen. In fact, I think I did all right. But whew, am I glad that’s done now.

In other news, on Monday afternoon, I did something that was not scary at all, and felt REALLY good: I voted. Early, at Town Hall in Carrboro. I took Sasha with me, and she crumpled up my voting guide and babbled, trying to grab my pen while I filled out all those little ovals. If you can early vote, I HIGHLY recommend it. Now I just wish I could stop having to hear the negative campaign ads. There should be a switch you can flip once you vote so they’re just blocked out, or something, replaced on your TV by something else. Something nice and happy. Like maybe my new favorite person, from Sesame Street, Mr. Noodle:

I mean, how can you see Mr. Noodle and be worried about anything? I think after the election, I’ll lobby whoever wins for an All Noodle, all the time channel. It would not just be good for me, but good for America.

Have a great day, everyone!
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