I replied, 'Yes, it would seem that way, wouldn't it.' I met this person about a month ago and she likes me, she really does. However, for me, to spend time with anyone (and that includes those I view as friends) is a real trial for me. It drains me. Even sitting with my friends at a coffee shop, I'm counting down the minutes until I can be alone. I will have dinner parties (mostly to appease my family) and take mental breaks in the toilet.
The thing is, most people would describe me as confident, funny, loyal, and smart. (They probably wouldn't describe me as humble though.) I am liked by many. I would say it's because I'm a listener and very confident - qualities that most people would like to have. Over the past twenty years, I have learned to cope in public. I have learned the proper things to do and say to appear friendly and nice all the while dying inside for solitude.
I enjoy people... from afar. I never seek friendship. Friends I have had as a child, I no longer see or speak with. High school friends, the same. If I knew you and I met you on the street, I probably wouldn't approach you but if you approached me, I would be extremely polite and friendly. I would agree with you that yes, we should keep in contact but I don't think I would be the first to make contact.
In fact, I would probably admit that I'm a terrible friend. I will never call you or email you without an important reason and when I do, I will never chit chat with you. I will never ask you to coffee or to go anywhere with me - especially shopping malls.
Why am I saying these things?
Well, it was the comments on the post I wrote yesterday. As sad as I may seem from what I wrote above, I would suspect there are many that feel the same. But, I enjoyed the way some described what I felt.
Jim Murdoch from the blog The Truth About Lies made this comment yesterday:
...I’m not shy and I have no problems talking in public (yes, I get nervous but so does everyone); I just have no real interest in promoting me – the writing, yes but me, no. I recognise that I have to present something publicly which is why the website is so good because I can exercise a fairly high degree of control over what goes up. I find as long as you open up a bit then people leave you be. It’s those who don’t have a real name, won’t provide a photo and tell us nothing about themselves that make us wonder, What are they hiding? The answer is probably: nothing. Let’s face it, most of us lead boring lives, nothing’s ever happened to us that’s not happened to hundreds of other people and the only thing we have going for us is a facility with words. And aren’t there hundreds of people who have that gift too?Jim has it right. I don't want to be famous, I want to be read. That's why I write. I find blogging (also, Twitter, Facebook, and my online writers group - The Next Big Writer) the perfect combination of publicity without the... publicity. People can read my writing, comment on my writing, ask me questions about my writing and I can still be in solitude. Ahhh... silence.
The thing is we can’t have our cake and eat it. Recluses don’t get famous for anything bar being reclusive. What’s good about the Internet is that you can attempt to find a balance between the private-you and the public-you, one that everyone can live with. You’re still never going to be famous but I’m not sure I would like being famous. I want to be read. I am being read. By hundreds of people. And that’s all it’s about. When I think about all the poems I published back in the seventies and eighties I wonder how many people ever read them. I bet dozens at best. This is better. It’s not fame but it is better.
Jaydee Morgan sums it up well:
I definitely could live the life of a reclusive writer - and just use the Net to stay in contact/promote/etc.Please, understand me. I'm a really nice person.
My day job forces me to be public and social. Given the choice though, I'd rather spend most of my time alone ...
Picture source: here