where the writers are
My return to bookstores, successfully (temporarily) suppressing the introvert

Well, it took me a little over two years after moving here to have my first Tucson book signing, but the paperback release of Dark Knowledge urged me out of my gargoyle-lined study and into the light of a bookstore. Two bookstores, actually. After such a long spell without a signing, I had two signing in two days this past weekend. Here's an iPhone photo of me at the first one.

Despite my reclusive tendencies, something about that picture tells me I was having a pretty good time.

Like so many writers, I'm very much an introvert. I was in a critique group once that met weekly. I liked it and the people very much, but I left it because I preferred online critique groups for various reasons. One of the members, a therapist, told me then a few things about introverts (dubbing me a classic introvert in the process) that was certainly worth the money I paid for the free analysis. Ha. Actually, things she said did ring true.

I'd always thought introverts didn't like people, so I couldn't be one. Wrong. Introverts don't dislike people, it simply takes energy to be around them. That's me! I love people, all sorts of people. But a few hours interacting with people drains me, and I then have to "recharge" my energy, often for days, before I'm happy to step out in public again.

I bet many writers here at Red Room can relate.

I'm different when we go on vacation. I stoke up a supply, I think, and I'm raring to go. There are limits, apparently. On a cruise this year, we took a snorkeling excursion. My partner decided to stay on the boat while I snorkeled. He watched as all these bobbing heads congregated and then drifted around together like a floating school of fish. All the snorkelers except one, a lone swimmer who immediately left the school and spent the entire 45 minutes on his own. And yes, that was me.

I climbed back onto the boat, babbling happily about the turtle and the fish and coral and stingrays I saw, completely unaware I had isolated myself from the other snorkelers. He showed me a video he made--the school of happy snorkelers and then panning across open water to find happy me.

But he understands my tendencies and finds them more amusing than disturbing. According to my free analysis and introvert instructions, extroverts have great difficulty understanding introverts, even though introverts usually understand them easily enough. I can see that's often the case, but I'm glad my partner is the exception to that rule.

So now I've had my book signings after a long rest from the last ones, and I had a blast spending saved up energy on strangers. I'm glad I don't have any signings this weekend, but I know when I do have another, I'll have a blast then too, come away exhausted, and I'll recover. It's the introvert's way.