Biographical Non-Fiction posted August 8, 2021

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Life from the sidelines

Beloved Introverts

by Brad Bennett

So here we all are, gathered together on this site, pondering our strange world. Why us? Why do we write, we may ask?
Ok, we live to write, some of us more than others, and some might even make a living at it. But mostly, we write for the sheer pleasure of expression. We will never retire as long as we can still climb up to the keyboard and pound out an idea. Our biggest reward is creating real or imagined worlds and relating them to others.
But we need time to complete a thought and reflect a written line that paints a story. For that, an introverted bent is advantageous.

There are dozens of websites focusing on writers as reclusive in their need to look deep inside themselves for expression. Look at Margaret Atwood or JK Rowling for two. They are important introverts of our time. Writers are people who watch from the sidelines and observe life as it rolls by, then report. Yep, classic introverts.
The same goes for attempting conversations. I try not to talk like a sped-up recording in a discussion. I try to break down what I say. I may stumble a bit trying to flesh out my meaning. I'm also not fond of words flashing out like semaphores from a figure waving color-coded flags. And please don’t drag me into a Morpheus coma with
dry, drab, unconscious slumbering gossip, zzzzz.
Some may think I’m a snob, looking down my nose at others. For example, at a recent gathering of friends, two people were dominating the conversation. I, as usual, tried to listen but was having trouble dealing with the rapid-fire yuk yuks. What the hell are they communicating? I was not in the mix, and I guess I showed it. I sat silent. Then, out of the blue, one of them turned to me and asked. “Are you getting tired? Are you going to sleep?”  
“Keep talking,” I answered back, “and I’ll get there!”
No! I didn’t say that. I wanted to, but I held my tongue.
Instead, I just smiled and said nothing—a silent martyr. I had friends and family there, and I didn’t want to insult anybody. There was a person at the table who I knew was a songwriter. I looked over at her—she nodded her head. I smiled back. We were two people in a noisy room who shared a silent understanding.
Ok, some may argue Hemingway and Mark Twain were extroverts, and that disproves the case. But were they? Maybe they were just eccentrics who lived life in their unique ways. For example, Hemingway was a raucous drunk, who lived life on the edge. And Twain was a humorist who often spoke in public, it was his calling as a storyteller. So no, I don’t feel all writers are total introverts, but maybe just different versions of the species.
I can say, though, that as an artist, sometimes a writer, I had always worked at improving myself, learning to be more expressive in visual and in words. So I rarely stop with the first creative attempt that springs up—except for a flash of an idea, of course.  But after that, it's hours of polishing the presentation and fine-tuning the message. And I’m still learning, even at my retirement age.
But let's look carefully at the term 'writer as Introverted.' It's a term that does not really fit the power of the written word.  Are writers afraid to challenge or speak up in a group? I think not. When the chips are down, past writers have championed the oppressed, and the mistreated throughout history, and they have suffered greatly for it. The prisons of despotic regimes are full of brave writers who spoke out and exposed tyrants. I can think of one courageous little Afghan writer for one. 
So anyway, that's my two bits, my little step up to the witness box. I could go on with more personal examples, and experiences, but I'm speaking to writers of all levels on this site who may share similar stories and views. I hope some are nodding their heads; I’m smiling back after I type this period.


Are Writers Introverts? contest entry
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