Getting Used to Time in the Spotlight

I started out as a small-pond/big-fish kind of guy. I grew up in a the country and was an academic achiever at an early age, so I would end up in the local paper for some kind of academic award every once in a while. But growing up in a small town, even in the larger network of small towns that make up rural communities, means everyone knows you anyway. So the little bit of notoriety I had was nothing to brag about.

Even that much was short lived. When I went on to university, of course, the pond got much bigger and so did the other fish. I faded into the background, and that was all right with me. I did my thing, writing and teaching and so on, and ended up eventually becoming a translator: the ultimate invisible man. The rare work that I could put my name on was still so niche as to be almost unknown. I just kept on working in the shadows of my office/cave.

That lasted pretty much until this year. This year, I am not only publishing my own book, Discovering Yamaguchi Sake, but I’m putting out a translation of a Seishi Yokomizo Mystery, The Devil’s Flute Murders, from Pushkin Press. The first is a big deal for me personally, the second is just a plain old BIG DEAL. And so people are starting to notice me.

I’m being interviewed on podcasts. Asked to do online events. Planning book signing parties and presentations about my career. Emotionally, I’m in this totally new spot where my ego is tickled pink but my anxiety is headed through the roof, and I’m just bouncing between them like a ping pong ball. It’s not something I’m used to, and I am very tempted to just shout to the heavens “What have I done?!”

But I asked for this. I pursued these projects and enjoyed doing them. I never really stopped to think about what it would mean to do so, but I did it and now I suppose I need to learn to enjoy this tiny taste of attention.

Does anyone have any tips on how to do that without having an anxiety attack?

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