31 March 2011

On Being an Introvert

I came across this post on introversion on Twitter this week, and there were several tweets around it, mainly around not all introverts being alike, and how introversion is a trait that's not right or wrong. 

I love being with close friends and family, particularly in small groups, but having to spend extended periods of time having to talk to anyone else is draining. My new workplace seems to be peppered with excuses to drink and generally socialise with large groups of mainly extroverted people. This is extremely daunting. There's a huge party (read: piss-up) off site next week that everyone's excited about. Even the thought of it is torture. Being nervous about getting back to the train station late at night (in a dodgy area) also isn't helping. But I can't really complain when so many people have so much horrible stuff to deal with right now.

I am a shy introvert. Meeting new people makes me squirm. I much prefer to communicate using the written word, over face-to-face conversations or (shudder) telephone calls. Experience has taught me to mask my shyness when I must (especially in workplace situations), but I'd much rather let my husband do all the talking around unfamiliar people. I'd also like to think I'm a relatively good actor - I react to social situations in the manner I think people expect me to: smiling instead of grimacing, appearing welcoming when I'd rather shut the door, or expressing enthusiasm instead of dread.

I also really identify with the need to be alone to recharge. I can't relax on the train. I always relished having the house to myself growing up. After a day at work or being out with people, I always like to be able to flop on the bed and just do nothing but process, eventually being able to relax. Music helps. Being with my husband is better than being alone, but when we are apart I'm able to be almost as happy by myself, if I'm free to do whatever I want to do.

I know there are some writers who are extroverts, but in order to survive the long periods of solitude writing demands, surely it must better suited to people like me. Which personality type do you most identify with? Have you tried to change to suit what you think the world expects?

26 March 2011

New Characters Over the Fence

As of last night we have new neighbours. We were saddened by the news that our old neighbours had decided to down-size: they were retired and therefore without noisy children or loud music... just a sports-mad and slightly-deaf husband who yelled at the TV all day. They were cat people and kept an eye on ours when we were away, and we occasionally traded home-grown vegetables over the fence.

The furtive glances at the new editions reveal they are possibly late forties, and so far seem to be child-free. They own a 1970's Jaguar. That might be all we have to go on until they are settled in enough to introduce themselves. It's kind of funny: now that my brain is permanently set to writer's mode, I find myself thinking about the new neighbours as if they are new characters that I need to discover. Except that in this case, they won't just reveal themselves in my mind. As we get more clues, we'll probably sketch together our own impressions... which might prove to be the total opposite of what they actually are! The forty year olds might be their children or parents for example.

It made me think of my characters, about what attributes I normally think of first, and how sometimes they reveal surprising things about themselves. Have you ever had a character do a 180 turn on you (that you didn't expect) or do they generally behave themselves?

Anyway, it's weird to think that we won't see our old neighbours ever again, after seeing them nearly every day since we moved in. It reminds you about the transcience of life.

Sophie decided to be particularly vocal all night, wanting to go in or out every few minutes. We were accommodating just to shut her up - we didn't want the new neighbours to be disturbed on their first night. I really hope they are cat people.

19 March 2011

The Best and Worst of Times

I spent last Friday hiking and then climbing up a peak in the Grampian mountains of Victoria, then gazing at kangaroos grazing in the evening warmth. Reminders of the January floods were everywhere - Halls Gap is the only town you can get to in the entire region, after 194 landslides have made the rest of the state park out of bounds. But Halls Gap was flooded too - luckily it was only the businesses nearest the river and they are all open again. We ate dinner at one of the cafes there. Upon returning to our rented cottage, I flicked on the TV to see those horrible pictures of the tsunami tearing through Japan. And you just feel like, "OMG, what next?" We try to go on with our lives, trying to find joy in experiences and with those close to us... but sometimes, it just feels like there's no way you can avoid feeling depressed. Do you know what I mean? Now I am more relieved than ever about New Zealand's nuclear free stance.

Anyway, we had a fabulous time on our holiday, so much so that the post-holiday blues really took hold on Sunday night. It was our first time to Melbourne, but we felt right at home straight away. Our trip was split between city exploring, airshow attending and driving around the Mornington Peninsula and Great Southern Touring Route.

On our return I discovered that the lovely Sierra had nominated me for the Write Hard blog award. Thanks Sierra! I'd like to nominate my other original followers, Writergal24 and Brooke.

I'm getting settled into my new job, and now I'm looking forward to having time to catch up with friends, tidy up the garden, plan our trip to my sister-in-law's wedding later this year, and of course, work on the second draft of my WIP. I want to give my beta readers the first couple of chapters yesterday!

And now, the shameless parade of holiday photos - enjoy!

Melbourne City