10 Things You Don’t Know About C.J. Redwine
By Me (C.J. Redwine)
When Epic Reads asked me to do a post about ten things readers don’t know about me, I knew the craziness in my life needed gifs. And more gifs. And Benedict Cumberbatch. Because really…Benedict Cumberbatch.
I rest my case. Now, on to the list!
1.) I have weird phobias. I mean, I have normal phobias, of course. Bridges. Spiders the size of dinner plates. (Yes, Australia, I’m looking at you.) Getting trapped in an elevator with Richard Simmons.
But I also have the kind of phobias that nobody seems to understand. And they are just as crippling. For example, I’m terrified of moths. Fluttery little agents of Satan. I hates them, Precious. My family rolls their eyes when a tiny winged creature boldly sashays into my home because they know I’ll back slowly against a wall, my eyes glued to the moth (Such a disturbing visual!), my heart racing in fear until one of my loved ones bravely destroys the little demon before it can … flutter against me? Eat through my favorite turquoise scarf? I don’t know what I’m afraid of, exactly. I just know that once I was driving and a moth flew in front of my face, INSIDE MY CAR, and I drove into a ditch. Basically, when I see a moth, I look like this:
And then I look like this:
2.) I was once kicked in the head by a horse. BY. A. HORSE. So…like this, but instead of a horse getting kung-fu-ed upside the head?
It was just as painful and scary as it sounds. I grew up reading every horse book I could get my hands on. (Which basically meant I read and re-read all of the Black Stallion books a zillion times, and even suffered through the monstrosity of a movie twice because even though it sucked, it was the Black Stallion) I owned a hundred My Little Ponies. I had a collection of Breyer horses. I even read and re-read the Childbook Encyclopedia Entry on horse breeds so that I could recognize them all.
I loved horses like Dean loves pie, but apparently the horse that kicked me (henceforth and forevermore known as “Demonspawn”) missed the memo. I was nineteen and headed back to college in a week. My friend invited me to go riding. It was probably the fourth or fifth time I’d ever actually been on a horse (unless carousels count, which they totally should) The horse’s owner sent me—ME. The girl who’d never even saddled a horse on her own.—out to catch the horse I was supposed to ride.
The horse did not want to be caught.
Next thing I knew, I heard a tremendously loud crack and found myself waking up on my back in the field (thank God I didn’t land in any manure because that would’ve just been too much.) surrounded by concerned faces. I wore a neck brace for a few weeks, ended up with carpal tunnel and TMJ, and still, to this day, have constant headaches stemming from that neck injury.
FYI: I no longer wish to own a horse. Or braid its hair. Or ride it in a barrel race. I am, however, still in the market for a unicorn.
3.) I don’t understand how to make small talk. I find it useless and extraordinarily difficult to maintain. If we don’t have anything more interesting than the weather or our current surroundings to discuss (Unless, of course, those current surroundings are on fire or contain Benedict Cumberbatch.), then why are we talking? I realize it’s polite, and so I try to participate when necessary. But honestly, if someone expects me to keep a conversation going when we have nothing but mundane things to say, they are going to be disappointed. I am a direct person. If I have something to say, I say it. If I don’t, then I don’t. That math makes sense to me, but it doesn’t always come across as proper etiquette in social situations.
Because I realize that my directness, or my lack of small talk, can make people uncomfortable, I try. I really, really do. And it looks something like this:
4.) While I’m confessing the things that make it somewhat difficult for me to assimilate seamlessly into mainstream society, let’s just go ahead and get this out on the table: I am disaster-prone. No, really. On a scale of one to ten, I’m Fat Amy blindfolded and drunk on margaritas.
Need proof? Well, there was that time I walked across my front lawn and ran into a tree because I was looking down at my iPod. Or the time I was vacuuming under the table and gave myself a concussion. Or when I laughed so hard I snorted bread pudding into my sinuses and a raisin got stuck. Or when I bought the wrong bra for a formal gown and didn’t realize it until the night of the event, so I decided to go without and then realized that was a stupid decision when I bent at the waist while in a crowd and POPPED OUT of my dress. Or the time I…you know what? I think you get the picture. But in case you don’t, this is pretty much me most of the time:
5.) This goes along with #4 (See?? It started early!), but really deserves its own slot. When I was in sixth grade, I was playing at a friend’s house on a water slide. The concept was simple: jump onto the slide on my belly, slide to the end, hop off and run back up to the top to start all over again. Easy. I did that successfully umpteen times in a row. And then…THEN…I reached the bottom and my friend still hadn’t moved back up to the top. She was standing on the grass on the right side of the slide. The side we were walking on. The side with grass.
The other side of the slide? Weeds and a fence. I didn’t want to step on my friend, but I did want to get back up to the top so I could slide again. So, without really thinking about the fact that I was barefoot and those were weeds, I hopped to the left and started walking. Instantly, thorns jabbed the bottom of my feet. I hopped again, but there were only more weeds and more thorns. I couldn’t keep my balance, so I did what any sane person would do in my situation. I grabbed the fence.
The electric cattle fence.
I don’t recommend that.
6.) Something else you may not know about me (though perhaps the Benedict Cumberbatch gif was a clue?): I’m a fangirl. A geek. A proud nerd who loves cosplay, and arguing over minute differences between the book and the movie, and whether I’d rather have Dean or Sam on my side in an apocalypse.
Dean, fyi. Dean and pie.
You can always get me to discuss the epic brilliance of Harry Potter, the fascinating brotherhood in Supernatural, and why I watch and re-watch Sherlock season 1 and 2 while I anxiously await season 3. You can ask me why I saw The Dark Knight four times in the theater and still re-watch it at home. Why I cry over the Hunger Games trailer. Why you must be quiet if you’re sitting next to me while Star Trek is on. I obsess over movies. Books. Stories. Why?
Because this inspires me:
This ruins me:
And this fascinates me:
Because escaping into stories, living other lives, becoming attached to those characters—loving them, fearing them, hoping they figure out the mess they’re in—has been my escape since I was seven years old. It’s one of the things that drives me to tell the stories that are in my head. I love those characters, too. I fear some of them. I need to see them mess up and still find redemption. So, yes, I’m a fangirl, and will be for life.
7.) This one will be short and sweet: I am terrible at multi-tasking. And by multi-tasking, I mean driving and thinking about plot at the same time. Or grocery shopping and thinking about plot. Or…really anything and thinking about plot. That’s how I accidentally buy cheese when I was supposed to by salad and cereal. Or how I ended up in Atlanta when I was supposed to turn left in Chattanooga. And since I think about plot almost all the time, that means I suck at multi-tasking.
8.) I’ve already explained that I’m disaster prone, so it will come as no surprise to you that automatic doors and I go way back. Way back. I suppose everyone needs an arch nemesis. I just wish mine was something cooler than automatic doors.
There was that time when I was pushing a cart full of groceries, trying to escape the store before my three young boys decided to turn the local Kroger into ground zero for the apocalypse (They’d already cornered the cart in the soup aisle like it was on rails, burped the alphabet in the cereal aisle, and asked a man when he was going to give birth), and I timed my exit just right. I would arrive at the door a second after it opened fully, therefore not losing any momentum in getting my spawn out of the store before more damage was done. The only problem? The door didn’t open.
It. Didn’t. Open.
And I was fully committed. I’d timed it just right, I was walking at a pace brisk enough to sail through the door without pausing. And I didn’t pause. I didn’t have time to pause. By the time I realized the door wasn’t going to cooperate, it was too late. I rammed that sucker like I was in a demolition derby. The door came off its track. Off. Its. Track. Do you know how heavy those doors are??? Well, I do. Did I stop? No way. I called out, “To the van! Now!” and we escaped before anyone could tell me I was no longer welcome to shop in middle Tennessee.
I thought that would be it. The automatic door won. Finito. Game over. Alas, the door was just lying in wait. Years later, I was racing to get my errands done. I ran into Dress Barn to get a pair of pants. I purchased the pants. And then I hurried toward the door, intent on getting out of the store and into the car because I was already running late. Once again, I timed my exit just right. I walked at a brisk pace designed to let me sail through the door the moment it opened. The problem?
Dress Barn doesn’t have automatic doors.
I hit that door like a boss. Like a door-slamming, face-breaking BOSS. The salesgirl made a horrible squeaky choking noise like she was swallowing laughter or maybe like her lung had just wandered up the back of her throat. I stood up (Oh, yes. I hit the floor. YOU try walking through a huge pane of glass, and then you’ll have earned the right to judge my landing.), told her I was fine, and left with some swagger because really? Why not?
It all looked something like this:
9.) I’m an introvert who is constantly being confused with an extrovert. I think it’s because I’m outgoing and friendly, and so people assume that means I must be fine with spending hours in crowds. This is not the case. Being an introvert has nothing to do with whether you’re friendly and outgoing. It’s a simple matter of emotional cost. If being around people, even people you love, takes energy instead of giving it, you’re an introvert. I require large chunks of time by myself to recharge after being with people. When I have to do long events and talk to a lot of people (especially people who expect small talk), I need days to recover. My first instinct is to avoid people, even though many of them are lovely and wonderful and can appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch and help me walk successfully through automatic doors. But I’ve learned how to set my boundaries so that I can be around people, but still take the time to recharge by myself without feeling guilty and without feeling like I need to explain or apologize for being exactly who I am.
10. And my final confession of the day is this: I am a technoidiot. If technology can be broken, I will do it. If technology can malfunction, I will make it happen. My family and friends accept this about me. They’re used to getting panicked calls and emails asking them to help me do something, fix something, or insult my printer’s mama until it starts behaving.
And yes, I’m the person who has panicked and ranted and cried and begged my printer to start working only to realize (30 harrowing minutes later) that I’d neglected to turn it on.