11 Things I’d Tell You if We Met in Real Life
Hi, I’m Kelly. Nice to meet you! I love getting to know you all and hearing your stories. If we met in real life, these are the things I might share with you…
1. I love people’s stories
What do you do when you meet new people? I try and find out as much about them as I can. If we met in real life, I’d happily sit and listen to as many stories as you wanted to tell me.
One of my favorite things about being a writer is hearing people’s stories. I know some people say they love animals or the environment more than humans, and I love those too (I live in a gorgeous country!) but if I had to pick one favorite it would be people every time.
I wouldn’t ask, “what do you do?” I’d ask “how do you fill your days?” I’d rather hear about what makes you spark than what your job is. Unless of course, like me, your job is also your passion (lucky us!).
2. I prefer deep conversation
If you want to talk about your divorce, or how you’re feeling about losing your parent last year, that’s fine too. I was raised by a therapist and a pastor; I was a suicide hot-line counselor for a while; I’m used to emotions. Talking about death or grief or the tough stuff in life doesn’t freak me out.
I actually think most of us secretly hate small-talk. We want to know people and feel connected.
The down-side to deep conversations is it can get a bit serious — I’m quite a serious person sometimes. (My partner is very silly which balances me out.) When you and I have a real-life talk, let’s try to remember to have a laugh too.
3. It rains a lot where I live
If you’d rather talk about the weather, that’s all good. I’m very easy-going. (Or perhaps a bit of a people-pleaser?) If the weather’s where you feel conversationally comfortable, I’ll happily talk with you about how much it rains where I live (it’s next to a rainforest, after all) and how I don’t mind because when it stops the sky is so blue and the air smells fresh and all the green everywhere is bright and gorgeous.
I’d suggest we go for a walk in one of the forests nearby — we could go see this waterfall. You’d love it.
4. I really, really love writing
In our first real-life conversation you’d find out pretty quickly how much I love writing. I’m sure I annoy my family and friends with how much I talk about it. I think about it constantly. If I sort of drift off when we’re talking for a moment, it’s probably because you gave me an idea for a story. Sorry about that.
I feel like I come across as a bit ditsy sometimes when I talk (I used to get a lot of “dumb blonde” comments in the 90s, when people still thought it was okay to say things like that). I’m out-going but still an introvert and when I talk I often can’t come up with the right words. If I’m nervous or tired I stumble over my thoughts and sentences. Or just talk way too much about nothing. I just think better with a pen (or keyboard) in my hands.
I fill almost all my spare time with writing, or thinking about writing, and have done since I was six. Writing is the way I process life. It’s the way I process my thoughts and feelings. It gives me purpose and meaning and joy and…well, I think you get the picture — I really love writing. It constantly amazes me that I’m allowed to do this as a job!
5. I’m a kid-whisperer
I have two birth kids and two step-kids. I also raised a teenage foster daughter for 7 years in my twenties. Being a mum is one of my top priorities and also one of the main reasons I work from home.
Early in my career, children were my area of expertise because a career’s advisor told me “writer” wasn’t a real job and I should be a teacher. I stupidly believed her. I studied child-development, special education, and psychology for five years at university and was a teacher for two. I’ve also worked with newborns and preschoolers with special needs.
Teaching sucked. I had nightmares about it for years after I quit. My first class had 36 preteens, (Aaagh!!) half of whom had behavior or learning problems. How do teachers do it? If you’re a teacher, this is me officially bowing down to you in awe. You are a superhero.
But I learnt some things, so I don’t regret teaching. It was one of the main reasons I was able to succeed as a parenting writer for over a decade.
6. I’m super competitive — kind of
I was a competitive figure-skater, I competed in cake decorating, I was competitive academically (got top of my class in my post-grad studies), and I’ve won a few writing awards. If you want to see me light up, tell me it’s a competition. I love to win.
But…I like people more. My competitiveness is for fun rather than win-at-all-costs.
Competition brings out the best in us, right? (Except for those people it doesn’t.)
If we play a game and you win, I’ll be just as excited for you — I promise.
7. I’m the worst cook
I once made a beautiful meal for an anniversary dinner. I spent hours on it, selecting delicious looking recipes and carefully following them. It looked good…and then I added rock salt. Waaaaay too much rock salt. It was like licking the bottom of the ocean. We tried to rinse it off — we ended up with KFC.
There’s always something that goes wrong when I cook. I’m starting to get better, but it’d be an exceptional week if I didn’t burn dinner at least once.
Don’t worry, I hardly ever invite new people around for a meal. We could always eat out?
8. I don’t have many strong opinions, but I hate unkindness
If you want to talk about your political views, your religious beliefs, or the latest conspiracy theory you have, I might not agree with you but I’ll happily listen. I’m not one of those people who wants to persuade everyone to my way of thinking. I enjoy hearing opinions and beliefs that are different to mine — if you believe aliens impregnated your dog, however, I hope you’ll understand my raised eyebrows.
I don’t have many strong opinions but if we chat in a group and someone is unkind, I’ll be speaking up. I’ll do it as politely as I can, but I won’t sit silently and watch.
9. I geek-out about books
Books are equal to writing in obsession-status. I don’t like to shop or spend money on many things, but if we wander into a bookstore on our walk, you might lose me.
10. I love love (and weddings)
I have another obsession. I’ll tell you, because I like you, but it’s a bit embarrassing. I love weddings. I love love stories and rom-coms. If you take me to see a romcom with a wedding…I hope you don’t mind being hugged?
Real weddings are even better. Yes, I’m one of the people who cry watching a wedding. I got married in 2020— I actually didn’t cry at my own wedding!
If you’re single, I apologize in advance: I’ll probably try to match-make you with one of my single friends just so I can come to your wedding.
11. I’ll eat almost anything — once
I’ve eaten huhu-grubs (these New Zealand worm things), kangaroo, ostrich, quail, snail, and dog (Before you write an angry comment, I was sixteen, in Indonesia with a host family, and had no choice, okay! But it was surprisingly good.) I’ll try any food once. Otherwise how do you know whether or not you like it? If you want to cook haggis or fried crickets for me, I’m in! Just please don’t serve up whitebait— all those eyes…yeah-nah.
What’s something I don’t know about you?