Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Coaxing the butterfly out of the chrysalis... by Cathy Ace

Q: Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? 

Interesting question, which I shall try to answer briefly: I’m an ambivert.

Short enough?

What does that mean? It’s a term that’s been around since the 1920s and denotes what the majority of humans are – a mixture of introverted and extroverted behavioral patterns, depending upon circumstances. It’s not a word Jung used (the chap who originally came up with the terms introvert and extrovert) but was coined, I believe, by Conklin. (Can you tell I'm a psychologist? LOL!)

Photo shoot for "thoughtful writer" 

I’m a pretty normal ambivert: many people who know me will have met a socially agile extrovert, happy to interact....dare I say "the life of the party"? Others (only a few) will have met a socially reclusive introvert, with an engaging internal life (and a constant internal monologue, in case you’re interested). In other words, I can pull the butterfly out of hiding when she’s needed but am usually quite happy cogitating inside my chrysalis.

New Year's Eve - Petra, Jordan, 1998

No, it’s not an “act” when you meet me at an event and I’m chatty and interested in other people, (though I do have to steel myself in my hotel room before I leave it to join a throng at a convention, for example, where I know that being “her” is what’s expected of me). The “other”, solitary and thoughtful, me isn’t the “real” me either – both types of behavior are the truth of me, and are what make me whole.

Without the quiet times I’d spin out of control (and I admit that's happened during my life), but, without those social interactions, I might stagnate.

My late father (see flash in reflection) took this of me in Seattle, in 2003

This mixture lends itself well, I believe, to being an author in the twenty-first century, as opposed to being a writer in the pre-internet age. I need my introverted self to be able to go within and create the books I write, then I need my extroverted self to try to earn a living: being a writer is a totally different part of me than being an author is, because an author’s expected to sell books, not just write them.

Dad took this in 1965-ish - maybe he knew I'd head west?

Fortunately for me I initially graduated in psychology, then all my post-grad qualifications were in marketing and marketing communications; I do my best to blend the two skillsets in my career as a writer/author. It’s a constant balancing act, and all any of us can do is try to stay upright as the see-saw wobbles beneath us. Each of us changes as we have new experiences, and the see-saw's been wobbling a lot this past year or so, so all we can now do is try to find a new balance, and keep hanging on!

Tomorrow my 15th novel is published (my 17th book overall), and I am proud of it…proud of what I created and wrote. Now I have to slough off the chrysalis and get the butterfly working, because the fruit of my isolation and cogitation will not “sell itself” (if only!!!!!) so here I am, shifting to extroversion, and asking you, quite bluntly, to PLEASE buy my new book. Which is something my introverted self would never dare do, because it’s rude to ask. Here's a handy dandy link (provided by my butterfly-self): CAIT MORGAN MYSTERIES — CATHY ACE CRIME WRITER


Terry said...

Ambivert! Perfect. I think I fit nicely into that category. Many friends are aghast when I say I have a very introverted side, but then they don't realize that I rarely "lunch" with the ladies, or go on shopping sprees. I'm home, writing--or at least putting words down, which many not be the same thing.

Cathy Ace said...

I'm with you, Terry, in terms of the "not lunching" thing. Mind you, if I could find some suitable ladies and we're able to lunch, that might seem quite appealing these days, LOL!

Frank Zafiro said...

"Ambivert" - I love it! So accurately defines what many of us are.

Cathy Ace said...

Yes, Frank - that Conklin chappie was pretty perceptive...LOL!

Carol Garvin said...

I like that word; it rolls off the tongue nicely, and I can see that it describes you well. Unfortunately, I can't claim it since I truly am an introvert. While I ran my dog show business I learned to put on a good face when it was time to deal with people, but it was always an act, after which I was totally exhausted. I expect any book launches and marketing efforts will be equally painful. This pandemic has had many negative aspects, but at least I've not suffered during all the social distancing.

Congratulations on another book birthday, Cathy. I'm looking forward to Cait's newest adventure.

Unknown said...

I can see that! I'm totally an Introvert. You'll have to check out our panel at When Words Collide: "The Introverted Writer". We'll be chatting about how we manage that marketing stuff;)

Brenda Chapman said...

So interesting to hear that you have to steal yourself to face a crowd when you seem to be such an extrovert. It shows how complicated we all are and how difficult to really know somebody. We need to have more compassion me thinks when making judgements or pigeon-holing somebody.