Going Viral


I told the shop-keeper I hate my photo taken, that something in me freezes and I get the most wooden expressions.  When someone says “Smile” or “Say cheese” I automatically sabotage my chances at appearing ‘real,’ and that comes across in the photo—or the video.

He said he’s the same (tho’ he appears ‘normal’) and he avoids those at all costs. He believes, like some Asian people, that when others take his picture, they invade his spirit, and this guy looked to be German or English descent, born in Maryland.

Then I thought:  There must be millions of us out there, people who are uncomfortable with a device that captures exactly what one looks like, reproduces it, and spits it back at you.

That’s when we have to look at that photo, and unless we’re self-assured narcissists, we don’t like what we see.  In fact, we may hate those photos.

A tape recording of one’s voice causes the same reaction.  I watched Julianne Moore in an episode of “30 Rock” when she appeared as long-ago love interest of boss, Jack Donaghy.  She had come to New York, and on a whim, decided to see him.  What happened?  They rekindled their romance. It wasn’t hard; she was going through a divorce, and he’d always cherished fond memories of their earlier time together.

But as Julianne Moore’s character spoke, I grimaced.  “Wow, that’s bad.” (Moore nailed the Boston accent, just as she has with so many of her other cinematic characterizations.)  My daughters reacted with:  “What???”  “She sounds just like you.” 

They weren’t being harsh—just stating the apparent ‘obvious.’

If Moore’s ‘Boston’ was like my ‘Rhode Island,’ it stands to reason:  Our states are right next to each other. I just didn’t know I—and all Bostonians– sound that bad…really.

I don’t know how many of you have listened to your own voice on a tape recording and thought:  “Who IS that?”  “Is that what I really sound like?” “Ooooh…”

For a moment, you probably suspected (like me) the recording equipment was ‘off’ that day, sounding tinny, not really recording your true voice, the one you’ve heard (or not heard) in your own head, for a lifetime.

Some might even be constrained to never talk again, tho’ my family knows that won’t happen in my case.  I just love talking to any and all, so I’ll get over my discomfort about how I really sound.

In Asheville-country (North Carolina), people think my Rhode Island accent’s ‘cute’ (course, theh’re not from hehr, eithah.) 

Some even say they love it, as I chop off the g’s on ing endings and leave out the r’s on any word containing them. They all pretty much say the same thing:  “Well, we know you’re not from here (and they pronounce all the r’s in those words.)

Sometimes, I work so hahd trying to put those r’s in, that I inadvertently put them  in, when theh not even supposed to be theh. I think  that’s called overcompensation.

In any case, now that my series of “Grandpa and the Truck” is entering a new phase, of actual production (publication), I’ll have to get over my hesitation at putting myself ‘out there,’ as when I market the daylights out of it, with You Tube videos and recordings of me—Grandma– telling the stories.

In other words,  I’ll have to get over my aversion to hearing and seeing myself… as I am.

I read the blogs of young writers who have no trouble capturing every aspect of their daily activities (well, almost ‘every’), reproducing it for countless strangers, and I marvel at their ease with the medium.  They post shots of themselves, spouses, and children everywhere…their most private moments….a kiss between mates…a shared moment of hilarity….a quest for something crazy.

There’s no apparent shyness before the camera…or a You Tube video.

You see, soon  I’ll be selling my product—books for children (but adults might want them, too) that tell the adventures of a long-haul trucker—my husband, as he moved households across this country for 30 years.

So, bear with me—my “Grandpa and the Truck” books are coming…even if I must launch them from a culvert or from under an overpass…just like those sneaky smokies do with their radar devices.  That way, I can still lie low (Yeah, that’s going to happen!)

And here’s another validation of the fact:  Most of us don’t like what we see and hear, in video or tape recordings…It would appear we’re ‘the norm.’ (Now, click on this link for some comforting advice from the Eloquent Woman.) And then–

Tell me if you’ve ever created a You Tube video?  Did you stress about putting yourself too much ‘out there’? Is it really ‘practice,’…’practice’…’practice’ that allows one to develop a comfort-level?

I’ve got a feeling, dear reader, you’ll be one of the first to know how I do in this venture when you see and hear my attempts at harnessing what the young do ever so easily…

***And if you haven’t checked out my new site at www.grandpaandthetruck.com, please come on over.  Every day (or almost), I’m adding something different. Read about my Arkansan trucker husband looking for La Jolla, California…He’s a funny one–he is.



About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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