katharine makes a book trailer

As part of my continuing and exhaustive efforts to promote my book The Curable Romantic: Advice for the Romance-Impaired, I jumped on the growing trend of book trailers—videos created to promote books. Previews are no longer limited to movies.

My promo is very simple and made up of illustrated stills with a midi track. Over the course of two days I drew the new illustrations, imported them into iMovie and imported a karaoke version of Doris Day’s “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” which I modified slightly in Garage Band. For a freshman effort, this isn’t terrible. I suspect I’ll work up a few more of these and do a series of book trailers.

Feel free to share the link to the trailer amongst your friends and internet viewing audience.

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Failure #9: Participate in Public Nudity

Most items on my 30 Failures list are things that might have had some impact on my social life. When I think back on my youth, I don’t recall any invitations or occasions for public nudity. In general, public nudity tends to be frowned upon, though I suspect for the wrong reasons. Failing to bare more than teeth in public isn’t so much of a failure in itself—it’s the lack of bravery to even consider doing it. Bawk ba gawk.

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And I don’t think I’m alone in my reluctance to drop trou amongst strangers. You might be struggling to think of instances in which public nudity would be appropriate. Has Emily Post ever covered this sort of thing? Certainly Miss Manners laid down some etiquette for skinny dipping!

I’ve never gone skinny dipping down at the quarry. My hometown probably didn’t have a quarry. But there might have been some swimmin’ hole where the youths would strip and frolic ‘neath the moonlight. My invitation must’ve gotten lost in the mail. Perhaps none of my young beaus needed to resort to such trickery to get me unclothed. (Miss Manners had a chapter on that, too, right?)

Streaking is another act of public indecency that I haven’t had the occasion to perform. But then, I’m not prone to any bouts of athleticism. Which is also why you’ll never see me at one of those clothing-optional bike rides or at the Co-ed Naked Jai Alai tournament.

I will also confess that I haven’t exhibited any signs of exhibitionism. I have never, on purpose, participated in flashing, mooning or anasyrma. If I owned a classic trench coat, I might entertain notions of traipsing about town in only my London Fog and bowler hat. But not in winter. Or on Thursdays.

Now those are just the deviant deeds. We haven’t even considered the legally acceptable forms of social nudity—the nude beaches, nudist colonies and naturist clubs. Just the word “nude” conjures up grand fantasies of airbrushed bathing beauties and hard-bodies. In theory, these places could be great locales to toss off your trousers and your inhibitions. That is, if you’re willing to have your dreams shattered by the lumpy bottoms of reality.

For whatever reasons—body issues, fear of skin cancer, lack of bravery—I’m not quite ready to shed my threads for all the world to see. But, who knows? Someone might decide small breasts are high art and want to paint my portrait for public viewing. Maybe I’ll get involved with a local burlesque show. Or maybe I’ll take a road trip where I moon my way across the TransCanada highway. In the meantime, I’m going to look for an Emily Post’s Guide to Nude Etiquette on Amazon.com.

katharine turns 30

And so I’ve passed that critical milestone. Like millions before me, I have survived my twenties. My feet now firmly planted in adulthood, I reflect on my partially squandered youth. I think about my accomplishments, the things of which I’m most proud. And, of course, I think about my failings. I am not famous. I am not well-liked. I am not gainfully employed. I don’t get enough protein. I spent too much time on the Internet. I do not call my mother. I am not what I envisioned I’d be at this point.

Watusi_1

Some life-long goals have been met. A few dreams were realized. Nothing achieved without compromise. I left my small hometown with chest puffed and hat tilted forward, muttering “I’ll show them! And how!” I don’t know what I intended to show. Whatever Big Plans I had to prove myself to imaginary naysayers have been discarded and forgotten.

In the modern world, youth comes with great curiosity about the world but it also comes with an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. When we’re young, we imagine that we will change the world. In my own youth, I was so certain that, one day, people would be impressed with my talents, my wit, my beauty. Now I see that I am merely adequate. I am competent in my skill set, but thousands more far excel in talent and knowledge. I am not a whiz or a hotshot or a super star in my field(s). No one has been immediately won over by my work.

I’m not struggling to remain relevant because I was never completely relevant in the first place. Absent are the urges to decorate my body with tattoos and superfluous piercings. I have been fortunate enough to retain enough of my youth (in appearance, at least) that I don’t feel the need to go chasing after it. In fact, I get so many unwarranted comments about how young I look, I should write an article or a book on my secrets. Turning 30 means I’m officially old enough to take it as a compliment when middle-aged women coo about how young I look. But if someone wants to call me ma’am, I won’t protest too much.

I have learned, in the grand scheme of things, that I am insignificant. The words I publish on a blog or my silly little robot drawings will not have an impact on the world. They will not cure cancer. They will not influence politics. They will not inspire greater works of art.

Okay, so I’m insignificant. But I still exist. Now is the time to make peace with all the things I am not. It is the time to seek approval from within. It is time to appreciate life as it is, to recognize that things aren’t so terrible, really. This does not mean my life will be all granola and wind chimes, zen gardens and bamboo tunics.

My youth was plagued with multiple failures but few regrets. If given the opportunity to return to the past and alter events, I’d probably reject the idea in favour of watching videos of Maru. Anyway, I’m not sure that anything in the past could be tinkered with to prevent my random spurts of adult acne or sciatic pain.

These days my chest is a little deflated and my hat sits perfectly centered atop my noggin. The challenge in this new decade will be to balance the negative with the positive, while never forgetting the other exists. I’ll continue to recount my failures so we can both see where things went astray, while also entertaining you with drawings of silly robots and passing fancys. I will still spend an exorbitant amount of time on the Internet.