Extroverts and Introverts: Get Along Already!

There has been much ado about this whole business of Extroverts and Introverts lately among my social circle. It seems that in society at large, The Introverts have been getting quite an upper hand (check out this TED talk), or at least are finally getting the respect that they need.

We live in a share-all, mix-and-mingle country. I went to a writers’ conference last year and on the last night they had a huge cocktail party for all the writers to meet and greet. *Coughs…* Excuse me while I go try and make sense of the universe all over again. Aren’t writers famous for being introverts?

So it was an uncomfortable experience for me. And it’s just another testament to how people try to “fix” introverts by having them to parties, making them go out on the town, bombarding their free time with telephone calls and fill-in-the-blank. How many times have you heard someone discussing how an introvert needs to “come out of his/her shell?” Introverts have a shell because they have a soft and tender interior that needs to be protected. That’s why we’d rather stay home and drink tea and read books for hours instead of going out in public where [whispers] we might have to talk to people!!!

Seriously, it’s not that we’re agoraphobes, it’s just that we enjoy our own company and the company of a few close friends.

Anyway, enough with my rant, I really can’t say anything that hasn’t been said a thousand times over already.

What I really came on her to say was that when the world was made of water and wind, air and earth, light and dark, and day and night, it was also made with introverts and extroverts. We weren’t made to criticize each other and fix each other. We were made to complement one another and work together in our respected gifts.

So many times we introverts love to talk about how wonderful we are and how the world would be so much more peaceful if everybody were an introvert. (And I’ve been guilty of this too!)

Hey, some of my bestest friends have been extroverts.

Extroverts, you have something wonderful to offer to the world. And while your kind has ruled this nation for generations with a fist of confetti, and the introverts are gaining social revenge [he he he], you are still amazing people and we need you!

So be the people you need to be, everyone will be much happier. Just…don’t be surprised if I don’t go to your 300-person party tonight, because I’ve got a date with myself and I don’t want to disappoint me by standing myself up.

I Watered Chekhov’s Roses!

Has it only been four months? It seems like longer. All right, y’all, it’s time to let you in on what I’ve been doing lately.

A couple weeks ago I finally got back, exhausted and in want of a shower, from spending a month in Ukraine, the second-largest country in Europe that mostly nobody knows anything about. Let me tell you…What a fantastic time I had! I stayed with some friends in Kiev but made a couple solo trips, too.

I guess I really can’t sum up what the entire thing was like, so I’ll just have to resort to a little slideshow.

Overall I had a great time. While I was in Yalta I saw Chekhov’s White Dacha, where he spent most of the last five years of his life, entertaining famous visitors like Tolstoy and Rachmaninoff. It was a cute place and I’d love to have something like that someday. Walking through his famous garden, I glanced around to make sure no corrections-officer-type museum ladies were watching, and poured the rest of my bottled water onto Chekhov’s roses. Just to say that I did it.

Anyway I’m hoping to be back to blogging now that college and my big trip are out of the way for the summer. I won’t promise to be here frequently but I plan on popping in once or twice a week. It’ll be nice to talk to you all again!

Warmest regards, JP

If You Want Something Done Right

PlumeauAnd here a long sigh of relief and exhaustion.

Right now I’ve got a huge ostrich-feather feather duster and I’m sweeping the cobwebs and inch-high piles of dust off the mantlepieces and bookshelves of my blog. Gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve even checked my blog dashboard.

But I’m here today, in the midst of my busy schedule, because I’m still running off of NaNo Energy. I’ve gotten so used to writing two to six thousand words a day, that when I went to type out todays post, I blew through it like a cyclone in a wind tunnel. Right now the words are just appearing, something like a deranged typewriter trying to soothe its insanity.

[Editor's Note: …A deranged typewriter. I like that.]

Well, let’s get to the chase, and that is that old, annoying adage that lazy people love to hear: if you want something done, give it to a busy person.

I used to hate this phrase, because it’s what people would tell me when I had absolutely no time to myself and they wanted to throw something at me. Honestly, when I have about five minutes to myself all day, I don’t want to spend it painting someone else’s house.

Winner-100x100-2But now I’m realizing this phrase isn’t all bad. I just came off the end of a three-day “Work Marathon,” during which I started to lose my inhibitions about being at work and actually started to enjoy it. But the weird thing is that I managed to win NaNoWriMo during these two days. Why?

It’s all about work flow, and how when your mind falls into this work-a-holic rut, you just can’t stop. You know if you stop you’ll crash. And I did crash eventually, but the work kept me going, so I could keep working, which kept me going, so I could work, and well you know how it goes.

I’m pretty happy that I finished my novel, and am looking forward to editing it. But today is Sunday, my day off, and I’m going to try not to think about it. I’m planning on enjoying today doing nothing, really.

But before I get started with nothing, I thought I’d check in on you all. How are things?

 

 

 

 

My Eleven Friends

Hey hey hey! I’m back! :) Well, at least for a little while.

Yesterday I had my first ever NaNoWriMo Write-In with some other participants. It was fun, distracting though. I now know that I write well alone. :) We showed up around three fifteen, set up our computers, I tried to make coffee but failed, and someone brought fabulous brownies.

It was hard to focus, because we were also juggling ideas.

“What’s the a good reason to relocate a whole family?”

“What should I name the deceased?”

“What’s the most known last name you can think of?”

We finished up around five thirty. I’d written somewhere around 2200 words, putting me a day ahead of Nano schedule. Last night after the party I closed out around two days ahead. I’m trying to write double what I have to every day so I can finish early.

Anyhow…

This post isn’t called My Eleven Friends because I had this write-in with eleven friends. “My Eleven Friends” is the name of my NaNo novel. It’s been a lot of fun to write. I’m describing it as “Fabulously boring,” because it’s one of those novels where nothing earth-shattering happens but it’s still a page-turner. At least, that’s what one of my beta-readers told me. It’s nice when someone tells you they don’t want to stop reading your book. :)

So, here’s a small excerpt from it. Enjoy! And happy sunday. :)

I grabbed the Maitre de’s sleeve and asked him to take a picture of us.

It was a Kodak Insta-matic, and so it spit out a gray square. Mom took the square, thanked the Maitre de, and as we were led to the table, she grabbed a toothpick, shaking the photograph. We sat down at our table and ordered a bottle of sparkling apple cider.

After we ordered our meals, Mom showed me the photograph, fully developed. In gray, firm strokes at the top of the picture, she had drawn a square. In the center of the square it said “Mg.” At the bottom corner, it said 12.

“Magnesium?” I guessed. She nodded.

“The twelfth element. Strong but light. Flammable if mishandled.”

“Why Magnesium?” I asked, although I had an idea, but I wanted to hear her talk.

“You’re twelve right now,” said Mom. “So, naturally, it would be the twelfth element that I would pick for you. You have a strong character but don’t take things too seriously. And also, you’re at a point in life when anything could go in any direction. Or believe anything. Or disregard anything. You’re kind of flammable.” She beamed.

“So on my next birthday, I’ll be Element thirteen,” I said.

“Which is one month away,” Mom reminded me.

I didn’t know what element 13 was but I knew it would be something good. Or at least, Mom would make it sounds like something good.

We, of course, had spaghetti and meatballs because neither of us can speak Italian so couldn’t find anything else we knew we would like. Our waiter was a fifteen-year-old, pimply redhead who was awkward with a bottle of sparkling cider. The spaghetti was, again, passable, like the ice cream at that diner which we’d forgotten the name of.

We left the restaurant, and by now we were in the city so we left our beetle in the parking lot of the restaurant. We strolled up and down the streets in the dark, with the lights overhead. shining down through the moths that congregated around the rusting bulbs.

We window shopped, Mom went into the bridal shop “Just for fun,” she said. I think she was getting lonely. I thought it might be a bit quick for her to be thinking of getting married again. So I asked her, because that’s the kind of person I was.

“Mom, you’re not going to get married again? It’s only been a couple months.”

Mom laughed sadly. “No, no, Will…I’m not planning, I’m just looking back.” She fingered the train of a white gown. “I’m just remembering.”

I remembered pictures of their wedding. Mom wasn’t wearing a white dress, she was wearing a light, uplifting pink. Dad had opted out of wearing a black tuxedo, because he thought it was “Unnecessarily depressing.” He had a dark green de-branded army uniform. I imagined them standing there at the altar, facing the photographer as everyone in the seats also turned to look at the photographer. It turns out, the picture wasn’t taken by the photographer, it was a guest who turned up late and happened to have a camera with him. As soon as he snapped a photograph of the happy couple, the rest of the guests turned around to see what was going on. He snapped another one. It so outshone the photographer’s shots that they used it as their official wedding photograph from then on. Dad’s smile was so square, so cheerful. I kept the photograph in my wallet. The dark green and light pink complemented each other so well.

When we were done in the bridal boutique, we stepped out into the warm air. It was May now and starting to warm up. The trees were budding.

We went through all the shops uptown and nodded at the other happy nightcrawling families.

“Will,” said Mom, “I think people might think we’re a couple pretty soon. You’re getting to be almost as tall as me.”

I measured up to my Mom. Our shoulders nearly reached now. She was a short woman by nature, so I didn’t have far to go. But she was right. I was growing.

We finished the night by standing outside the window of the TV room, and watched the newscasters talk about President Clinton’s ending term. We waved at the camera, and I hoped Rob would see me. But, I remembered his family didn’t watch television.

In December I’ll be polishing the story up. Is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo?

Right?!?! Episode 1

Things that make you say “Oh, right?!” because they happen to EVERYONE. ALL THE TIME. Maybe they just happen to me. In either case, let me know which you relate most to: 

1. Showers that squeal when the water pressure’s too high. Boy can they hold a note!!!

2. Extra buttons sewn onto the inside of a shirt simply to confuse children.

3. How you can buy fifty thousand gallons of soda for a penny but a bottle of juice costs four bucks. 

4. People that say “Y’know?” after every sentence and you stop saying “Yes” when you realize they’re not looking for an answer. 

5. Crystal balls on a pedestal. To make lawns prettier?

6. Owl City’s songs containing references that nobody can interpret, like lemon-juice dandelions, candy-coated nightmares and a Renaissance canyon of supermarket aisles. And btw, has anyone else noticed that Adam Young’s hair seems to be going through an identity crisis? (Not being critical—just relating, actually…)

And I wonder if we can communicate to pets with our minds.

I Probably Think This Song Is About Me

It’s been a long time since I got an award. This time it’s from Deshipley from Ever On Word. Thank you Danielle for your generosity (and endless imagination, obviously) in selecting me!

The rules…To tell seven things about myself. Because I’m so vain, this award appeals to me especially. ;) But, for sake of piety, I will not talk about myself persay—or at least not for the first four points—but of my early works. These dreams were clouds in my coffee (clouds in my coffee…), but they gave birth to my later successes.

1. A Social Experiment

This was perhaps my first success in writing. At an outrageous eight thousand words, I was sooooo proud of finally finishing a novel. (I’ve always been more of a starter than a finisher. Who isn’t?) Here’s a favorite set of lines:

“Should we trust that parrot?” asked a tall gangly police officer.

“No more than we should trust that girl,” said a fat one who looked like he always had one too many doughnuts for breakfast. “Let’s arrest the whole lot of them and then we can’t go wrong.”

Corrupt government systems. Who ever heard of arresting a whole slew of innocent people to get one uncertain villain?

2. The Last of the Wooly Mammoths

Some of you may have heard of this one. This was set in a earth-like world beset with an ice age. The plot was a little thin, but I had fun writing it. The main character’s name was Lonato Lazar. (I’ve always had an odd-name fetish…)

3. Guild Free

A story exploring a form of racism brought on by a country separated into “Guilds,” or clans. An opening poem:

Of each an’ evr’y little guild

Ye stay in all yer time here

From the time y’are a child

For every one in the shinin’ green land

Na’r mingle wit’ the other

Stay keepin to yer own

‘At’s the way to stay healthy

And hearty, aye, tis the law!

4. Land of Blue: A Sphere of Deadly Secrets

To wax poetic, here was a gem, a sapphire in a pile of crumbling dreams. This was the first breathings of the baby that came to be known as Because of the Blue Bloods, which I tried to publish recently. Fraught with weak story line, shallow characters, and a couple plot holes, this was indeed an immature creature. But, without this, my Grand Novel would not exist. A line embodying the blind patriotism the story is about…

“Actually Eden…If you want the job, you have to stay here for a while to go through proper procedures. If you leave, it will automatically be turned over to the other party.”

“Oh. Mim?” He turned his watch back on. “I can’t come home.” He explained why.

His mom thought. “Hmmm…well, I suppose it’s for the country. …”

HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

5. I was Homeschooled

Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!

6. I Read Dear Abby Frequently

Sorry, but I’d rather read about someone’s five-year-old’s teacher’s restraining order than what kind of wallpaper to use for a “southern era kitchen.” I guess I’m just geared toward conflict.

7. I tried to read 1984…

But minitrue banned the book.

As for the seven deserving authors, well…I keep running through the same ones. So, if you think you deserve the award, try to convince me why. I’ll try to be stingy and make you feel like you earned it. :)

Wanna Be A Fly

© Traumrune, Wikimedia Commons

Gahhhh!!!

There are times out in public when I wish I could go invisible and totally stalk people just to hear the rest of their conversation. I wish I could be a fly on the wall, to watch people’s lives. Because certainly, the lives of others contain more mystery than our own, no matter how fascinating.

Other times I wish I didn’t have to hear the rest of that conversation, or see the rest of that story.

I guess I’m just a born stalker.