The Value of Solitude

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I’ve overturned a log in the forest and out scurried colorful little creatures that were hiding in the crevices. Not really, no. But it’s been a little like this, over the past 48 hours. Just the other day a friend of mine posted this infographic, about living with introverts.

Putting it on my own wall, I wasn’t expecting the flurry of responses. From other friends and their friends (strangers to me) came a collective sigh of relief after holding one’s breath for too long. The nervous laugh of recognition continues to ripple across my little cyber-community. I love how we’ve all come out of the woodwork, I wrote in a comment.

I am an introvert.

I’ve never announced it before, and doing so now feels strangely counter-intuitive, a paradox. But I felt such a warm sense of approval from my fellow silent observers, over the sudden claiming of a voice (usually we keep our stories to ourselves; this is why many of us are writers). It appears that I am not the only one left to drift to the edge of a crowded room in an extrovert-dominated world.

As the hours passed more friends came out to confess they too were introverts. One of them reposted my original post, which generated another round of confessions on her wall. Another (her friend, a stranger to me) then shared this, a list of common misconceptions about people like us.

So now I thought to share it here, and my amazement over how much of it rings true. Such as how we need solitude like we need air; how we are often mistaken for rude or weird.

I value my solitude and need it. When I turn down an invitation to hang out, it does not mean I’ve stopped being your friend. Believe me when I say I value you, more than I can express.

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Sometimes I disappear, as those closest to me can attest. I don’t mean to be rude, I am just desperate to recharge. Most times, I am exhausted; sometimes I’m just lost in my own head. And other times, being around too many people means I’m in danger of losing myself.

What I have also lost are a few friends, who probably took my withdrawing ways as an affront. This pains me but I have no clue how to fix it. Others (who I now suspect to be introverts too) respectfully and quietly hover just out of my periphery. I feel their warmth even though I don’t see them, and am grateful and comforted.

To those who haven’t quite figured me out, know you are one of a handful of carefully selected friends. You’re important to me so please stick around. Know that I always come back and may even invite you out for coffee, so we can talk. Thanks for waiting, and for understanding.

Mistress of Spices, in a way.

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Having run out of coffee today I had to get my caffeine fix from another source. I rummaged and found a handful of essential spices (cinnamon, clove, cardamom) and brewed me some chai instead. The anise didn’t go into the pot; it’s just here because it’s pretty.

My course work in non-fiction is coming to a close so hopefully I can channel more energy back into this blog. It was a summer course, swift and rigorous, and stretched as I am, I am ever so grateful for the privilege of having taken it.

Thanks all for your patience! I do hope to be back to scribbling very soon.

Day 310: Shinjuku

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My friend Hiromi made me a list of cafes to visit on my first trip to Tokyo in 2010. Two doors past the Calico Cafe (a cat cafe, I was to find out) is Ejinbara Coffee. The menu was in Japanese, so I just pointed to the first item. I wasn’t disappointed.

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Every cup that isn’t an espresso-based drink is prepared in a siphon. The result is an exceptionally “clean” taste, and a mouthfeel I can only describe as light-as-air. I wish I knew enough Japanese to tell you where these beans originated from, but the cup was worth the $10 price tag.

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A Thousand Words

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Between 2004-2008 I escaped from writing to study and practice photography. I traveled with my camera to Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and Hong Kong; and around the US, in Texas, Washington, California, and my home state of Illinois.

Over the next few weeks I plan to gather up my photos (scattered on various hard drives around the house) and post some favorites here.

I hope you find something you like, maybe well enough to go with an original poem or a piece of flash fiction, or collection even. Drop me a note here or email me (scribblerbean at gmail) – and let’s see what we come up with!