Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[process|personal] Talking out of my yinyang

As mentioned here, I promised garyomaha an answer to the question he asked here.
You, sir, are one of the most engaging, outgoing, effervescent, extroverted persons we know. You revel in being with folks, meeting new folks, interacting with folks.

And yet...

Your choice of (a)vocation is writing. Is this not one of the most solitary tasks one can do? Indeed, isn't the recipient of your good works -- the reader -- also a most solitary of tasks?

So, does this show the "yin and yang" of
jaylake? Or a dual personality? Or some deep-seated need to be both alone and together with others?

Writing is profoundly solitary, but writing can also be the biggest bandstand in the world. How many people have the greats of literary history or the bestsellers of today reached? Not that I'm comparing myself to Dickens or Dick either one. Likewise durability. We're still paying attention to Homer, but most people don't know who Walter Cronkite was any more, let alone Walter Winchell.

This is a practice which starts as solitary as one can imagine, much as you suggest. With time and practice, one's head fills with characters. One's life eventually acquires readers through friends, family, classrooms and critique. One's work eventually acquires more readers and soon you are amid a crowd at all times. Characters come to me in dreams, whisper over my shoulder, mutter dark imprecations at their fate. People recognize me on the street occasionally, read my blog here, write me emails.

You're right, it's a yin and a yang. Like the Oriental symbol, each state contains the seeds of the other. Being out amongst the people fertilizes my writing. Writing gives me something else to carry back to the world at large.

This is the ultimate job for the extrovert, as long as they're not an obligatory extrovert. My secret of course is that I am a radically overcompensated introvert.
Tags: personal, process, writing

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