I hear the phrase “extroverted introvert” passed around by many in the writing community and I have to say it is a very appropriate description of how many of us feel.
Put me in a situation I’m comfortable in and I can talk your ear off. I’ll share stories and anecdotes. I’ll listen attentively. I’ll enjoy the hell out of myself…especially with a glass (or two) of wine in me. But most of the time I’d choose to stay home.
It really is nothing personal. It’s just I’m an observer at heart. I want to see how people react and interact. I want to hear the stories people tell. Because that’s how new stories are born.
But the heart of a good story is connection. To the characters, the setting, the plot. And for a writer to create connection we must open ourselves up. We must let the extrovert part of us out to play.
I went to Europe partly to see if I could do just that. Step out of my comfort zone. Meet new people. Create new connections. It was hard but I tried my best and was even successful a few times.
Today I did it again. And made another connection that I won’t soon forget.
I had a night away on my own and was looking forward to eating sushi while reading my book. Letting the introvert in me take the lead for the night is one of the perks of traveling for work.
The sushi place was a block from my hotel. It was full, I said I’d wait. As I stood in the waiting area another woman came in and immediately started chatting with me. At first, I didn’t engage. Kept my eyes on my phone, gave basic answers. I had a date with “Dear Mrs. Bird” and I intended to keep it.
And then fate intervened. Instead of the table for two by the window – a perfect setting for a date with a good book – I was seated at the sushi bar with one open stool beside me.
“I thought I’d seat you together,” the host said to me as he handed me and my new friend our menus. “Since you seemed to be having a good conversation.”
And so I let my extrovert lead instead. I put my phone in my purse, forgot about my book and opened myself up to a new connection.
Eva was a lovely woman with wonderful stories and great sushi recommendations. We talked about family, books, travel, and history. She impacted me and I hope I impacted her.
She was worth standing up my date for. I’ll make it up to Mrs. Bird tomorrow.