Quiet, please. Writer at work.

I get tired of people. I don’t just mean the ones who are annoying or crazy (and if you live in Toronto you get a lot of both). I mean people in general. It’s why I can’t write in cafes. Their very presence, those individual vibes, bother me.

In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, Susan Cain makes the distinction between those who are shy and those who are introverted. Shy people feel anxiety around others. Introverts aren’t anxious so much as they get exhausted by the sheer number of people. (Rather than extroverts who feed off that energy)

I can be extroverted at times. I enjoy speaking in front of crowds and I like the attention I’m paid when I tell a good joke. But for the most part, I like being with small groups of people or alone. Case in point, around the holidays this year the majority of my co-workers at my day job took holidays. I did not. During one particular day I had the entire office to myself for an hour. I marveled at the silence. The phones weren’t ringing, there were no hallway conversations, no drone of the photocopier or mail machine. I’m no J.D Salinger, but I understand the appeal.

Are all writers introverted? I think we have to be. Sure, there are writers who are accomplished public speakers, who enjoy having the attentions of others, but in the end writers have to want to be alone with their thoughts.

Quiet, please. Writer at work.

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