Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Fricassee

I probably don't come off this way to you, but I'm an introvert.

Not a really introverted introvert, like my beloved critique partner and friend Adam Heine, who writes amazing stories while hiding under a table.  (Okay, not really.)  But I'm definitely worn out by crowds and need alone time to recharge.  Depending on my mood, I may or may not initiate a conversation with a stranger.  (Though, more likely than not, I will be absolutely chatty, which makes it even harder to convince people that, yes, I am an introvert.)

And small talk?  Don't come near me with that.  Nothing will wear me out faster.

Seems to me I'm not the only member in the introverted writer's club.  While introversion isn't a prerequisite for writing, it does seem like there are an awful lot of us out there, quietly scribbling our stories and avoiding the parties we've been invited to.  Also, cats are frequently involved.

(Lucy, who is also an introvert)

So here's the thing.  I may not be down with the office party or the neighborhood get-together, but give me an opportunity to share written words of encouragement or a funny story or my thankfulness for someone's kindness, and I'm all over it.  Time and again throughout my life, people have thanked me for my words.  It's my modus operandi, and I've finally learned to embrace it.

In the past, I've been made to feel somehow inadequate because I choose to write instead of to talk.  I hate phones -- HATE THEM.  (Go ahead -- ask my agent.)  Years ago, when I worked as an administrative secretary, my boss used to purposely assign me lists of people to call for various reasons, because he knew I hated calling them.  (He wasn't being mean--he was stretching me.  Not that I remotely appreciated that at the time.)  Honestly, I have to force myself to call my own mother, whom I adore.

And, yeah, I was often made to feel like somehow something was wrong with me.  My main argument--that, for thousands of years, there was no such thing as a phone, and people somehow managed to maintain relationships anyway--fell on deaf ears.  I often felt like I needed to justify my anti-phone-ness.

Then, somewhere along the way, I snapped.  For one thing, I began to discover that there were other people in my life who ALSO HATED PHONES.  And these were nice people--friendly people.  People who were warm and caring and normal.  So, if others could be normal and still hate phones, so could I.

For another, though, I finally embraced my gift of expressing myself through writing.  Writing is a huge part of who I am.  Why in the world wouldn't a natural outgrowth of that be a desire to write to people instead of talking?  (Mind you, I can talk your ear off.  I LOVE TALKING.)  Why am I somehow lacking if I choose to write a letter or an email or, heaven forbid, send a text message to someone who's on my heart?


So that's how I roll.  If I need you, I'll text you.  If you leave me a voicemail, I'll text you in return.  If you've invited me to a party via Evite, I will happily click on my RSVP, rejoicing that I don't have to call you to tell you I'm coming (or not).


I imagine this is why I've successfully reached out and encouraged so many of you over the years.  I'm in my SPACE when I'm writing things to people--it feels natural.  Now, if I were speaking at a conference and hundreds of you were sitting there listening to me, I WOULD BE FINE WITH THAT, TOO.

Because I love microphones as much as I love texting.

Funny dichotomy, isn't it?  So many performers are also introverts as well.  And I've spent a lot of time performing in my life--from band concerts to musical theatre to piano recitals to chamber groups to wedding solos to symphony chorus performances.  I've also been a teacher, so being in front of a classroom doesn't faze me, either.

It's the parties that do me in.  And phones.

But I really am fine with who I am--finally.  My words reach the people I care about regardless of how I deliver them.  There's nothing "wrong" with me.  Words are my thing, and writing them is my favorite way to express myself.

That's a good thing today, because I've lost my voice, so I'm on a self-imposed no-talk day (which is really the only way to allow your vocal cords to heal--in case you were wondering).  I'm not happy about this--I have an audition a week from tomorrow, and I've been singing every day in preparation.

Full stop.  So frustrating.

I'm thankful the scratchy-throat-and-gunked-up-vocal-cords is the only part of the respiratory crud that flew through here in the past week I've been hit with, though.  I'm drinking lots of tea with raw honey and staying as quiet as humanly possible.

Good thing I'm so proficient at texting, yes?  It comes in handy when it's the only way you can communicate.  :)

So, my friends.  If you're happier behind your keyboard or phone or quill pen, YOU'RE OKAY.  Don't let anyone tell you something's wrong with you because you tend to write more than you speak.  God gave you a particular voice, and that's the one you've got to use.  As long as you're not hiding behind the keyboard or phone or quill pen (which is a different story altogether), you're fine.  Share your heart in the best way you know how.  It's all we can do, really.

(And if you're a phone hater and feel the need to say OMG YES YES I HATE PHONES, TOO?  Please shout it out in the comment box.  Solidarity, folks!)


  1. OMG YES YES I HATE PHONES! I'm on the introvert side, too. Go introverted phone-haters!

  2. Hear hear! Boo, phones and small talk! (And thank you for linking me back to some of my favorite posts of my own ;-).

    1. It's so easy to forget what we once wrote. I, of course, love your thoughts on introversion. :)

  3. Email is good, because I can review what I've written and take the time to try to get everything across the way I want to. Talking in person is good, because I can use visual cues for feedback in navigating the conversation. Phones calls are the worst of everything, because you're in real time and there are no visual cues to help!

  4. I'm not a phone fan either… Email was the best invention ever as far as I'm concerned. Even if I get far too many of them!

  5. I felt like I could have written this entire post! I feel the same way.

  6. I abhor talking on the phone. I won't even order pizza. If they don't have online ordering, they ain't getting my monies!

    I absolutely rejoiced when I landed a job where there was ZERO PHONE USE. So much joy. Then I was completely shattered when they changed things up and added call-outs to my job description. WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH SENDING EMAILS, HMM??!!

    You know what I hate even more than using the phone? SKYPE . I was once part of a group critique with Carina Press. It went well until they got to me and asked me to briefly describe my novel. I literally (and with zero exaggeration) broke down into ugly snot-bubble crying! Horrible impression. I started writing because I didn't have to talk to anyone to do it. No one told me I would have to TALK TO PEOPLE to get published. UGH!

  7. I'm pretty sure my reason for divorce will be listed on court documents as "Husband insisted on calling me in response to a text." He always does that and I swear that one day it will be our undoing. (Half-joking here)

    Hated the phone since I was small. Hate it now.

    Text/tweet/Facebook is perfect for me because it forces people to be brief and I can interact with them on my own terms.

    You aren't alone!

  8. Oh my gosh, this is so me. I HATE HATE HATE phones. I love performing in front of crowds. But I hate parties, especially large ones, especially with tons of people I don't know. I loathe small talk. Email is my favorite thing ever. It's always excellent to find others out there who feel the same way.

  9. I don't exactly hate phones. I like hearing the voices of those I love, especially since so many are gone now, making those that remain so special to me. That said, I don't love calling my mom because she tends to keep me on the phone for an hour or more. Talk about draining! But as for where I fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, I'd say I'm somewhere in between. Some days, being around people and bustling urban environments energizes me. Some days, I need to recharge in nature. Thank goodness my hubby and I spend at least half the year in a roaming RV!

  10. OMG YES I hate phones too! And also parties. But I love microphones and being on stage as well!

  11. YES! I feel ill when my phone rings. Unless it's my sister. Because she has a long history of not making small talk or keeping me away from my computer for too long. Parties are the worst. I skipped out on a super bowl party last weekend, and I was so proud of myself. Haha.

  12. Happy to know I'm in such good company! Hate phones. Abhor small talk.

  13. Preach!! We're cut from so much of the same cloth. Because: yes, hate phones, yes, love texting, yes, often need recharge time after large groups. But also: love microphones (used to be a TV reporter!!!), love presenting before large groups, and in spite of the need to recharge after, I often (not always) love parties. So. Confusing and conflicting but appreciate knowing I'm not the only one!!!

  14. Yes, down with phones and small talk! Calling people was absolutely the worst part of being a journalist.

    I fake extrovert really well when I first meet people, though, even over the phone, maybe ESPECIALLY over the phone. Haha. I think my anxiety makes me sound energized.

  15. Yes! This post hit home with me too. I'm an introvert who hates talking on the phone and loves texting. I hate small talk so much but can handle public speaking. I was a cheerleader for years and was a corporate trainer and teacher in my past life. I had no problems with either position. But as much as I have to totally prepare myself for the anxiety of social events, I LOVE getting together with a few friends and talking talking talking! So I guess I'm an introvert, who is comfortable being an extrovert sometimes too! Thanks for the great post :)

  16. The one thing that sucks about being published is just how much it requires you to be out around people. STRANGERS, too! Doing extroverted things like showing up at events where you don't know if anyone's going to show up or standing in front of rooms of people and talking. It's terrifying. You can say you aren't going to do that stuff, but then someone emails and asks you to do some event and you hate to say no!