Worlds Collide

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My day job (the one that actually makes me money) is as an electrical engineer. Day to day, I write programs, design embedded systems, run field tests and such. Sometimes I have to purchase equipment from companies. I recently had a rather pleasant and lengthy email exchange with one such company, when I purchased one of their boards and had to exchange it for another (my own fault, not theirs). While nailing down the details for the exchange, their lovely salesperson mentioned finding a book called "The Sphere" on Amazon, and wondered if I was the same Michelle McBeth. Indeed I was! They were very excited by the summary of it, and downloaded it that very day.

I found the whole thing exciting and just a little unsettling. I consider my book to be part of my personal life, and I tend to keep my personal life rather separate from my work. It's part of the reason no coworker has ever seen me in a play, and probably never will. It's also why I haven't talked about my book much at work. Very few people at this point even know about it. It's the opposite of good marketing tactics.

I assume this hesitation on my part has to do with a desire to keep a professional impression of myself upon the people I work with. I've always been very reserved with my emotions, and acting and writing this book definitely breech that boundary. The book a little less so than acting. My father recently commented that he couldn't read my book without picturing me as Adelaide. It makes sense, since the character is slightly autobiographical. Then I realized it's a good thing my sister Heather's book is geared towards teens. I can't imagine what my father would think reading the end of "The Ghost in my Bedroom" and picturing her. The end of the book was disturbing and upsetting. Frankly, I cried, because I couldn't help not picturing my sister. In that sense, I think she is incredibly brave in her story choices.

The idea of one day being famous terrifies me. It's strange, since I'm perfectly comfortable performing in front of people (normal stage jitters aside). In grad school I became very adept at giving presentations on my research, and know how to work a room very well. But in both of these situations, it's not me. It's my work personae. It's the character I'm playing.

And it's exhausting.