Jay Lake: Writer

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[process] Privileging the extroverts

, talking about the process of writing, made an offhand observation that struck me as very powerful.

Face it, extroverts are privileged in our society. That everyone else should have to follow suit in order to gather more attention and, thereby, success, is exhausting to those of us who simply are not extroverts.

Though I’m not sure “privileged” is exactly the term I’d use here, I take her point. Society skews toward people who can speak well, exude social energy, draw constructive attention. Eric Witchey has used the term “bending light” to refer to this kind of interaction.

I’ve written before here about my own struggles with being forced by cancer and chemotherapy into an introvert’s lifestyle despite my nigh-pathological extroversion. My emotional and social needs are still those of an extrovert, but my body’s needs are very much those of an introvert. With all love and respect to my variously introverted friends (and you guys definitely know who you are), how the hell do you do it?

What does this privileging mean? I don’t know. Another of those things I need to untangle for myself a while. But it does seem important, especially given the wide variety of socialization and public behaviors we as writers are notoriously stereotypical for.

Are you an extrovert?

Does society (or writerdom/fandom) privilege you for that?

Would you be if you could?

I miss bending light, myself, down here inside the chemo well. But I’m climbing out.

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