Extroversion, Introversion, and the Classroom
We wrapped up another good weekend here in Klaskyville, starting with a Thursday night family dinner to celebrate a cousin’s graduation from elementary school (OK – I enjoyed the family get-together, but “graduation from elementary school” feel odd to type, to this non-parent…) On Friday, we saw THE REAL THING at Studio Theatre — a play that is as much about language as it is about the nature of love; the first act was better than the second, which is a consequence of hte writing, not the performance… On Sunday, we saw THE WINTER’S TALE at the Shakespeare Theatre — I have a new candidate for least favorite play evah in that venue, at least the least favorite that wasn’t a farce. The director seemed to do everything she could to make the boring parts boring and the funny parts absurd (and still dull.) *Not* a production I’d ever view again.
But most of my weekend, and the primary topic of this blog post, was spent in Baltimore, teaching a class on the Business Of Writing, at Baltimore Science Fiction Society. The students were great — many of them highly motivated, most of them with some publishing under their belts (short fiction, primarily, although a couple of people had self-published novels.) I did my best to instruct, to encourage, and not to be ***too*** down about the state of modern publishing.
I love teaching. I love sharing the information I’ve gleaned over the years. I love being asked questions, and figuring out answers, and making new connections (both socially and intellectually) that I’ve never made before.
And I find the entire process ***EXHAUSTING***.
At heart, you see, I’m an introvert. When I need to recharge, I need to unplug, enjoy some quiet time around the house, curl up in a chair and read, *maybe* discuss things one-one-one with a single friend or family member.
Being ***ON*** for five-plus hours is like opening up the sluices and watching the energy drain away. I can do it — I’ve got pretty substantial batteries to store my social power. But the experience always leaves me more fatigued — body- and brain-weary — in ways that I don’t expect.
On Saturday, for example, I drove home (making a pit-stop to buy tickets for AFIDocs documentary film festival — another event I’m excited about, but I was annoyed at needing to go to the far end of suburban DC from my home, to buy the tickets…) I parked the car and came inside, settling in the living room at about 5:30. After an hour spent not-watching T.V., I got up to make a sandwich for dinner.
And then I posted toothpicks beneath my eyelids, so that I could stay awake to watch the movie ENIGMA. I was so tired, that I fell into micro-sleep moments, while I was knitting. (A simple pattern, consisting of only knitting, with increases each row, or decreases each row, depending on the half of the diamond I was making…) I stumbled up to bed at 8:30, and I slept until 7:30 the next morning.
Yes, I slept 11 hours.
All because I’d been *on* for a classroom full of eager, receptive students.
Saturday was an extreme reaction for me — usually, I’m not *quite* that drained from pretending to be an extrovert. I wish that I could change things — be a bit more extroverted, conduct things like Saturday’s class without needing to recharge quite so dramatically.
But I truly believe that such behavior is ingrained. I can learn to *present* as an extrovert, but I can’t change my basic settings.
And what’s the big deal, if I have to sleep for one long night, after I’m out and about?
I *do* wonder what it would be like to be an extrovert. To be rejuvenated by experiences like Saturday. To feel wan and listless when I was forced to spend time alone.
Perhaps I’ll write a character who is truly extroverted… In the next book 🙂