Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Little Bit of Exposure

I always admire people who are brave enough to expose themselves in public (in a good way, of course).  They have courage…or are perpetually inebriated.  Either way, they can still go out there and show themselves off to the world.

Since entering the realm of the literary world, I’ve delved deeper into the cyber world, leaving my electronic signature in all sorts of places.  That’s a good thing, especially if your goal is to get noticed as a writer.  But sometimes, it can be a bad thing.  To say the electronic signature is indelible is but an understatement.  One has to remember to be careful about what you say, because everything online is a search-engine-click away.

Having some measure of control in what people know about you is imperative.  From year dot, I developed an innate aversion to disclosing (or showing off) information about myself.  I’m very private.  But as I got older, I let go some of my inhibitions.  I’m still very private.  (Of course, you still can’t get me to do the funky chicken in a crowded room, not matter how much alcohol is involved).

Unfortunately, being a writer in this era (or in any profession where world domination is the goal), people seem to expect you to disclose everything about yourself.  They want a buffet spread rather than an al la carte listing.  I find this tasteless and unsavoury.  I don’t need to know everything, and neither should you about me.  Most know I’m married, but you’ll never see a picture of my hubby because my online presence has nothing to do with him. (Plus, he has middle-finger issues with every picture taken of him).  That being said, I’d still like to appear personable and approachable to my audience.  So, this leaves me in a dilemma.  Well, not really.  As I said, a measure of control is imperative.

One of my goals this year is to try my best to give a little bit more of myself.  Perhaps this will help me get some lighthearted exposure, and people will want to talk about me in their household as the funny writer from Barbados who has amazing, action-packed books.  (Boy, do I sure hope that!)

So let me begin with some controlled information about myself…

• I'm short.  Vertically challenged.  Preconditioned genetically.  A Hobbit in a land full of Gandalfs.  Being Japanese has caused this unique condition, and I'm afraid I'm stuck with it.
• I hate cooking, but I hate starving more.  That being said, I don’t cook crap.  It has to taste good because we’re back to the point about me not liking to starve.
• Bugs and creepy-crawlies have never really bothered me in the past.  As a kid, lizards and insects and worms (including grass, dirt, mud and puddles) never fazed me as I picked them up or tromped around.  But as I grow older, I prefer they understand my personal space requirements.  As I keep telling people: I love my creature comforts, and not the comfort of creatures.
• I was born, raised, and still living in Barbados.  A Bajan, as we're called. 100%, like salt fish cakes, flying fish, cou cou, and pudding and souse.  I just don't look the part...again, another preconditioned genetic trait, but hey, the world is fast-becoming a melting pot of all kinds of life forms.
• In the cyber world, I've been mistaken for a dude (a few times).  I suppose having an androgynous name like T.K. Toppin might mislead some.  But in case you're wondering (and last time I checked), I am most definitely a dudette.
• Even though I live on a tropical island, I hate the sun (and too much sunlight). Think cave-creature...Gollum...anemone.  Why sweat when you can stay cool and comfortable?  And it's trendy to be the reclusive writer...
• The last post brings me to this one:  My car has cobwebs.  Really, it does.  Along with an accumulation of dust from its last yearly wash.  I hardly drive around anymore.  In the last year, if I've done 5K, that's a lot.  Since working for myself, since becoming a self-imposed recluse, since I started writing, I have no reason, other than bothersome errands, to leave the house.  That's what hubby is for.  He does the groceries why should I?

Okay, that’s enough about me.


T.K. Toppin
Available from Burst Books


Jude Johnson said...

Ha Ha Ha Dudette! Hmm, getting video of you doing the funky chicken on YouTube should be a sci-fi challenge.

I loved reading your post. You husband needs to get that finger checked; it could go off accidentally. ;-D

As a fellow Hobbit-sized, gender neutral named author, I'm also getting followed on Twitter by young women looking for a sugar daddy. HAH!

Thanks for making me smile!

Anonymous said...

Dreams reflect some of our deepest aversions. One of the most frequent is getting in front of a group in the nude or freezing up. Never had that dream, but when I was young my mouth would turn to cotton whenever I would give a briefing, and in my career, had to do it a lot.

The largest was a crowd of over 300 people and I was quivering. Then again, when I worked in the Pentagon, there were some one on one briefs that would quiver my bones. I remember one in particular when I had to meet with General Schwarzkopf. Oh Boy.

Now in my fifth decade of adulthood, I actually enjoy interacting with people from 1 to 1000. I guess its a case of realizing that even if they snicker or laugh, it doesn't really matter or affect you as a person, only you or your family really matter. Just wish it hadn't taken all these years.

Michael Davis (

TK Toppin said...

Haha..thanks Jude! And yes, hubby needs his finger looked at. Can't take a serious pic with him in it.

Big Mike, I don't envy what you had to do. Public (live) speaking is something close to a nightmare. Once had to go on stage for a Christmas play, and my only relief was that I had no speaking parts. But boy, did I feel thoroughly exposed!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

January Bain said...

Wonderful goal! My husband is also challenged by his middle finger but it's never been at me! Also, I'm Hobbit-sized like you and Jude and have to have everything modified. Though it's fun to be considered "cute" most of the time. Love that good things come in small packages. I love to cook but don't love to eat. Thanks for a fun post.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Guess Mike and I are the tall ones here. as a kid, I dreamed of being short, with long black braids. So I'm instead just the oposite. As I get older, being able to reach high shelves without a ladder is a real plus.

I was comfortable in front of people until I attended my first writers' conference in 1995. When it counted, looking an agent in the eyes, I lost my sense of self and pitched the wrong book. My instincts faded, intimidation set in -- and she was short.

As to husbands, mine is on Facebook. I friended him. It was the least I could do. He's the grocery shopper who save me time and money.