If you've met me in person, especially if you've met me at a party, you might be stunned to hear me call myself an Introvert. Get me in a group and I smile a bunch, especially when I'm in a crowd of people I'm excited to meet. I talk, I talk, I talk... I give my opinions, sometimes loudly, I interrupt and insert myself in conversations (and hope I'm not being obnoxious), I introduce this person I know to that person I know. And then I realize I know a lot of people. I go up to people I don't know -- or who I've only met online -- and stick out my hand or hug them and flirt, because who doesn't love a good safe flirt, and I laugh and enjoy myself.
I'm clearly not shy.
But I am an Introvert. People exhaust me, and I refill in solitude. I'm not bad at a party, but the next day I'm channeling Greta Garbo and announcing in a deep voice, "I vant to be left alone."
Definitions of Introvert found on the web:
- "One who focuses primarily on their own mind, feelings, or affairs." CHECK!
- "A person who processes information internally or inwardly, by thinking about it and mulling it over." CHECK!
- "Persons who prefer their inner worlds of ideas, conceptualization, and reflection. Introverts require time alone to process and integrate their experiences into their psyches, and prefer one on one relationships." CHECK!
- "A person who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts." CHECK!
- "Turn inside; 'He introverted his feelings.'" CHECK!
- "Invaginate: fold inwards; 'some organs can invaginate.'" And.... CHECK!
(Note: new word of the day: "invaginate." Love it.)
I think most writers are Introverts. Even the outspoken, outgoing ones. How else -- why else -- to spend so much of our lives alone, pulling the stuffing from our brains and our hearts and our guts, spinning it into yarns?
Which is why I got such a kick out of the Red Room party last night. Hundreds of Introverts gathered in a bar doing their social thing: talking, feeling Introvert-y but powering through it, talking about their books, talking about each other (meow!), connecting and reconnecting -- and at the same time observing like mad, noting it all, filing it all away to chew on like cows today. Alone.
Yesterday I spent the day as an Open Hand. I lectured (on my feet) from 10:30 to 3:30, then had half an hour alone at Zachary's Pizza, staring numbly into space and power-chowing a slice because I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch. Then I picked up a couple of writer friends and headed over the bridge to the Red Room party. Chat chat shmooze drink. Then dinner. Chat chat shmooze eat. Then driving home. Chat chat shmooze drive argue shmooze hug drop off drive home .... collapse.
It was great. And today I feel like I was hit by a very friendly truck.
Don't mind me, I'm about to go invaginate.