I watched this video from TED2012 featuring Susan Cain giving a talk about being an introvert and the importance of accepting people who are introverts. I’d never heard of Ms. Cain before this talk but she’s written a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts that I may have to check out at some point. She begins her talk by talking about her love of reading and how people have had trouble accepting that in her life, to the point where she pretty much did extroverted things she felt were the right things to do. I won’t waste your time giving you much more, since you can watch the video above (which I ask that you do).
This talk hit a nerve with me. I’ve spent quite a bit of my life being told I should get out more, that I should socialize more, when all I ever really want to do is read, write, or watch movies. A good time, for me, is as simple as going to a bookstore and browsing around (inevitably buying a book or magazine–these are tough times for booksellers and publishers and, most of all, writers). I’m boring and I know it. It seems, though, that I’m “strange” because of it. Ms. Cain says otherwise. Not that I needed her to tell me this, I knew already, but I don’t know that I could have said what she said as eloquently as she said it.
It’s odd, though, because as introverted (and shy, which is something else altogether), I also find myself, in some ways, seeking attention. Otherwise, why would I write? Why would I agree to do readings (when asked) and attempt to go out and meet colleagues in the writing profession.
(One such attempt failed miserably. I’ve written elsewhere about my ill-fated trip to NECON in 2010, where I stayed for four panels and then left, suffering from horrible panic attacks. My trip to Rock & Shock was much better. I intend to give NECON a chance again this year. After all, it wasn’t the conference that was troubled, it was this person).
At my day job, I prefer to stay in my room, alone, during lunch. Being a teacher, I don’t get much alone time during the day and it’s imperative that I get some. I need quiet time, time to think, time to just be.
I won’t say that I think that writers are naturally introverted, because I think that would be bullshit. Yes, sitting alone in a room for hours making stuff up (or otherwise writing) smacks of introversion, but that’s not necessarily what it is.
So, I saw the TED Talk, enjoyed it, and thought I’d share. Take care.