Thursday, June 3, 2021

Her name was Sally Canal . . .

 Introvert? I wish! 

If we take the dictionary definition of "introvert" - a shy, reticent person - then they are the lucky ones. Would a shy, reticent person spend the small hours after a book event tossing and turning wondering if they talked too much, shared too much, blabbed stuff they should have kept quiet about . . . ?

Do not draw attention to yourself

They would not. I do. Every time. "Oh my God! Why did I tell that joke?" "Oh my God! Why did I start that story?" "Oh my God, why didn't I just say 'search me', when that weird bloke asked if there was going to be a second independence referendum?"

It's an easy life if you're reserved and silent. (I almost mean that - hear me out.) Once everyone knows you won't pull your weight at a party, you're permanently absolved from ensuring parties are successful. Sweet deal if you can get it.

My best ever introvert impersonation
(with Jessie Chandler)

One time years ago, for reasons that don't matter now, my husband spent the afternoon with a beautiful (and didn't she know it), silent, self-contained woman while I was off doing something else. Now, this was an introvert's introvert. She glided around as if she was on castors, said nothing - like nothing, blinked every so often, flipped her hair in slow-motion every so often and rolled stinky little cigarettes.

When we met up again at the start of the evening, Neil was in a hilariously entertaining bad mood. "I'm exhausted!" he said. "I'm spent! I'm done! I've sweated right through my suit! My head's killing me! I've never worked so hard in my life - and I've spent a summer clearing the sludge out of the cooling tank of a papermill!"

This companion was more fun than you-know-who

Her name is still a by-word in this house for the utter selfishness of (some) introverts, who don't mind everyone else grafting away to keep them entertained. Say her name was Sally Canal, which it wasn't. All I have to do is say "shy" in Neil's hearing and, like Pavlov's dog when the bell goes off, he says "Shy? Or Sally Canal shy?" And then he gets in a bad mood all over again. It might stop being funny one day, but it's been twenty years and I'm laughing as I type this.

So, I'm not that sort of introvert, no. But the other defintion of verts goes like this: an introvert draws strength from solitude and uses it up in company. An extrovert draws strength from company and uses it up on solitude. By that definition, I'm an introvert. To wit: I've been fine this last 14 months, at home alone except for someone who wears earbuds 18 hours a day. I know I could never share a room at a convention, because sometimes I need to walk away from my dearest and most beloved friends and stare at a wall. I am always relieved, never disappointed, when something is cancelled.

So, I think I'm an introvert. One that doesn't mind standing up and talking to hundreds of people. One who can walk into a publisher's party at the Royal Opera House on her own when her agent is stuck at the airport. One who's not afraid of saying - hey my new book just came out in the UK last week and look what Kirkus said about it:


Cx


13 comments:

Ann said...

You are possibly one of the funniest, kindest, most charming and beautiful person I know. When we first met, you gently corrected my mispronunciation of your name, introduced me to everyone around you, and when you had to leave — to go stare at a walk maybe — you made sure I was in the safe keeping of Jessie Lourey. Don’t change. Ever.

Ann said...

Feel free to correct all typos

Jess Lourey said...

Ahhh, that's right. You brought me Ann. And ditto on being that type of introvert.

Catriona McPherson said...

That must have been a while ago - I don't correct pronunciation anymore. Even when people call me "Cat".

Stephanie said...

This is also my brand of introvert.

Lyda McPherson said...

Catriona, Jess and Ann. What a perfectly lovely trifecta of introverts.

Terry said...

I thought I was the only one who castigated myself for loose lips. But perhaps I'm the only one who's right about to do so.

Barb Goffman said...

This is me exactly. We are soul sisters!

James Ziskin said...

Catriona, you’ve asked me—terrified—on more than occasion after a panel if you talked too much or hogged the microphone. I’ve always told you, no, in fact, you didn’t talk enough. And I’m certain the audience would agree with me.

Jim

Susan C Shea said...

Burning Q: Is "Sally Canal" an anagram? And, sweetie, if you're an introvert, I'm a sea slug.

Catriona McPherson said...

How dare you, Susan. Are you suggesting my off-the-cuff character naming is sub-standard? And Jim - we super-secure people need to stick together. With Barb,Terry and Stephanie, it seems. Next time Neil rolls his eyes so hard they hit his shoulder blades I'm name-checking everyone.

Gwen Mayo said...

I can't think of anyone more fun to be on a panel with than you. Never change.

Josh Stallings said...

This is brilliant. And who doesn't love a bit of good wall staring?