Ashley Nicole Hunter

Editor, Author, Priestess

Faking It

masqueradeThe intense love I have for wearing pajamas all day and curling up with a book means that when I try to accomplish something (getting involved in community service, writing, taking leadership positions), I feel like an imposter. “This isn’t who you really are,” my brain gloats as I struggle to make new friends and help others break out of their shells. “You hate people. You’d much rather stand in a hot shower for hours than talk to strangers.”

But it’s not that I hate people, or hate social situations, or hate working towards becoming the kind of person I would be proud to know…it’s that it’s easier to not do these things. Especially as a writer, I struggle to find a balance between living in my head and living in the world. Daydreams are safe…there’s minimum rejection, I have super powers even when I’m not drinking, and I never have to get depressed about not having enough money to solve major world issues. They’re also incredibly isolating if you spend all your time in them, and almost never will you improve the rest of the world with them.

And I like the world. To roughly paraphrase my favorite blonde vampire, it’s got wild forests, diverse cultures, and it’s got people. Lots of people running around, begging to be immortalized in books.

I feel, in a lot of ways, like I’ve spent the first thirty years of my life in a daydream, imagining the person I want to be and the things I want to do. Now it’s time to put all my thoughts into words and action.

I was accepted to be part of The Vortex staff, and I cannot begin to describe how proud that made me. I was hired as a PR Consultant, and while you may be echoing the thoughts of some of my relatives (“But that’s not really writing, is it?”), I see it as an incredibly important part of becoming a fully-fleshed-out writer. By advertising the talents and writings of others, I get ideas for how to promote my own writing in the future. I don’t internalize the rejection as much (maybe three out of three hundred pieces I’m advertising will be written by me, the rest by people who I’m sure are every bit if not more talented than me), I get to meet new and interesting people, and as part of the job requirement is to be present at and present writings during sponsored readings…well, I’m now contractually obligated to write, aren’t I?

I haven’t always performed the best in school (here’s looking at you, German), but I’m hoping being accepted as a paid Vortex staff member my first time applying means that I’ll have a better shot of getting accepted into the master’s program for writers at the University of Central Arkansas. Hopefully that, coupled with my community service (helping clean graveyards) and leadership position (I’m President of the student RSO Lux: Pagans United) will give me a better chance than I’d have had if I stuck to daydreaming. My plan, in the meanwhile, is to keep faking being the person I want to be until one morning I discover that’s who I really am.

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"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

***Oscar Wilde

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

***Neil Gaiman

“Stand at the crossroads if you will, but if you'll not choose, I'll move on without you.”

***Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart

"The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery."

***Anais Nin

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