Monday, July 14, 2014

Authenticity in action

In an interview following Terry McMillan's appearance at Quail Ridge Book Store in Raleigh, I was asked what was the most remarkable aspect of the event. It didn't take me long to respond. It was definitely her authenticity. (See this great article about the event.

For me, authenticity stands out as one of the most important values a person can live by.
Why? Because many people with abandonment issues have a hard time with being authentic.
Why? Because so many people with abandonment issues are codependent-- which makes them people pleasers.

I took this quote from the  mental health America website: "Codependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to 'be themselves.'"

Key phrase: They find it hard to be themselves. 

We sort of live in a society of copycats. There are so many ways not to be authentic:
- jumping on the latest bandwagon--in opinions, style, desires, speech, interests
- pretending not to care when you do
- pretending to care when you don't
- playing to the crowd instead of coming from the heart
- following a blueprint when it comes to emotions because that's how you're supposed to feel

(These 21 Quotes on Authenticity spell out what it's all about.)

So back to Terry McMillan. With plenty of time for questions from the audience, it was priceless to see her personality in action, in public. There was no posturing. I couldn't detect any censoring. I got the sense she was digging into herself to answer honestly and clearly. She was so off-the-cuff: with her facial expressions, with the information she chose to share, even with what she chose to read (A child was asked to leave the room because what she read wouldn't be appropriate for young ears). Love it!

Why was this important to me?

As a writer, I needed/need to believe that there is no "formula." We now have access to TED Talks, bulleted How To lists, and resources to prepare us for any topic/situation we can imagine. The fallout: an era of continuous searching for the right way to do it (whatever it is). Don't get me wrong, information is great-- as long as it doesn't kill our ability to be spontaneous, to trust our own instincts, to friggin' wing it.

So it takes a certain level of chutzpah to know your craft, be prepared, and just be comfortable-- without affectations or gimmicks.

What's the benefit of authenticity? Removing the filter between who you are and how you do you. Because the only person who can really know and satisfy you is you. And that will never happen if you're two steps away from who you really are.

Me, introducing Terry McMillan on July 8, 2014 @Quail Ridge Books

By the way: If you're interested in learning more about book promotion and publicity, put this on your calendar:
  • Join publicist Bridgette A. Lacy for her Book Publicity Boot Camp on Saturday, Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon at Quail Ridge Books & Music. The three-hour session will cover how to create an Author Press Kit, A Social Media Strategy for Your Book and How to Build an Audience. For more information, visit

  • Get your copy of Salt in the Sugar Bowl today!
Read a review:
When Sophia Sawyer walks away from her six children, she failed to realize that her absence will color their expectations long after their childhoods were over.