Thinking about Fiction

For most of my adult life, (or at least for as long as I have known what Myers-Briggs meant), I’ve identified as an introvert. Though I’m not any kind of Myers-Briggs cheerleader, I do feel that “introvert” makes sense for me. I like being alone some of the time, and I find that the best way for me to reenergize is to do some solitary activity: reading, writing, yoga, watching bird cams or people gardening on YouTube, blah blah blah, etc.
Lately, though, people have been telling me my self-perception could be wrong. During these last months of isolation, I’ve talked to a few friends who have teased me about how much I “do” while offering compassion for the sadness I’ve felt not being able to “do” all my things. “I don’t do THAT much,” I keep arguing. “You do a lot,” they say. “You do way more than me,” they also say.
I’ve had a long few months to mull this over. I guess it is true that I do a lot. One reason is because I live alone, and in order to make that work for me, (and it has worked well for many years), I need to have a life outside my apartment. I need to have robust community outside, so I can come inside and recharge like a respectable introvert. But also, if I’m being honest, I “do” things because they give me a serotonin boost. My brain likes the flashiness of navigating a busy downtown lunch hour, or the challenge of learning a new skill with strangers, or the wonder of walking around a new neighborhood. And then, I like to take that home and write about it. And my writing fuels my desire to walk more, learn more, and experience more.
I’ve probably mentioned this in this blog before, but several years ago my friend Arlie bought me a shirt that says, “I’m going to write about this.” I definitely have. And I definitely still would, except that right now “this” is eating cold spaghetti for dinner, leaning on the door of the fridge in a quarantine-fatigued daze. “This” is pulling everything out of my front hall closet and trying to stuff in back again in a way that allows more space for more stuff that I am compulsively browsing for on the Internet. “This” is the one novelty of what feels like my entire week: hosting a Zoom meeting with some writing friends and blasting them all into randomized “break-out rooms” at my whim. “This” is obsessively wondering what I can eat next. “This” is not anything I want to write about. And my guess is that “this” is nothing you want to read about, (uh, sorry about that), since you’re likely experiencing another painfully similar version wherever you are right now.
So, I find myself sprawled on the floor with my dog vigorously sniffing my hair, (weird), letting my crazy brain daydream about fiction. Letting my imagination frolic somewhere that is not here, through stars and caves and deep underwater and high over rainforests and pyramids. Or, I flit above other people’s imagined lives, float above their living rooms watching the kid chaos and the spousal stress and listening to the thoughts of escape. In my mind, I write fiction. I write about experiences I can’t have right now. I write, pulling from, hoping for, an imagination I have not previously tried to find. I try to “do” all the things I want to do in a new way.
Are you trying to think about things in new ways right now? Or, are there ways other people see you in which you’re only beginning to see about yourself?

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