Here’s to being an Introvert….

“Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.” 
~ Susan Cain

I’m an introvert.  I know because I took an online test 🙂  I say that very tongue-in-cheek because I have always known I was an introvert, but the validation was nice and the test kind of fun.  When I read the traits of most introverts, I saw myself clearly.  Am I more sociable and gregarious around people I know well?  Check. Do I tend to be more reserved and quiet in large groups or around unfamiliar people?  Double check.  Would I rather observe than participate….  Well, you get the picture.

 What I did not realize is extroverts outnumber introverts three to one and we can often be thought of as shy, aloof and arrogant.  Really?  I grant you I tend to be private about most things and in large groups I am more of an observer than a participant, but that doesn’t mean I am arrogant or aloof (the jury is still out on the shy part).  Admittedly I don’t have a large circle of friends, because knowing a lot of people has never held much attraction for me.  Those I count as friends I hold dear though.  I try to nourish those relationships because they are important to me.

I’m not anti-social, but given a choice I will always gravitate towards a one-to-one conversation rather than a party with a lot of people.  I can become quite animated if I am interested in the subject at hand and relish a meaningful or even light, fun conversation with friends.  Spending time alone doesn’t bother me and by the end of a long work day I am sometime relieved to have a quiet sanctuary at home where I can recharge.

Not surprising is the tendency for us introverts to seek out professions where we can work independently, jobs that don’t demand much social interaction that cause us to expend a lot of energy.  Where an extrovert thrives in a social setting and may feel recharged afterwards, the opposite is true for us.  Meetings for my day job can leave me drained and irritable some days.  I rarely stick around to chat afterwards.

Maybe that is why I love to write?   Here is a profession where I can delve deep into something that doesn’t require I expend emotional energy to satisfy social norms but can funnel my observations, thoughts, feelings and impressions through my characters.  Instead of feeling drained and weary, I feel recharged and energized.  Why is that?  I’m not really sure other than it is a quieter pursuit.

I can spend hours reading a good book and not even notice the passage of time.  Give me a hot cup of tea, a comfortable couch and a book and I am in bliss. When I eventually surface again to the real world I feel more centered and content.

So, the upshot of all of this is if you see me in a social setting – I am the one close to the corner, quietly sipping a drink and occasionally venturing into an interesting conversation – don’t think I am being a snob.  I may be enjoying myself immensely.  Most likely I am observing the interactions I see and thinking about how that tall, striking man laughing down at his companion can be described in my next book 🙂  When it all becomes a little too much for me I will unobtrusively slip away.

Oh, if you are wondering if you are an extrovert or an introvert you can take the test here: http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/quiet-quiz-are-you-an-introvert/

 

 

Doodle Away, My Friend!

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

~Thomas Sowell

I was channel surfing the other day and landed on a news snippet talking about doodling.  Hmmm.  I doodle – a lot.  The information presented was fascinating, but I couldn’t believe this had warranted serious study.  Curious, I did a quick internet search on the word to see what else was out there.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the amount of research, opinions and humorous blogs about something I have always done.

My desk has drawings on scattered pieces of paper all over it and I can’t take a phone call without drawing meaningless squiggles on an envelope back or any other handy piece of paper.

The notebook I take to business meetings has pages where the margins are covered in doodles. How else am I going to survive hours full of dry facts and slide presentations?  I always thought it was boredom that drove me to doodle, a survival instinct, if you will.  Not necessarily so. Imagine my delight when I found out doodling actually helps me pay attention!  I guess that explains why I can remember a lot of the finer points presented when I finally escape – um, leave – a long, long meeting.

Here’s the deal – I daydream.  All the time. I have a very active and inventive imagination.  It is part of a writer’s toolbox and, believe it or not, requires a lot of a brain’s processing ability (at least that is what researchers say).  I don’t sit here and decide I am going to daydream, it just happens and I happily go along for the ride.  My powers of concentration fade fast when I get bored and my mind will wander. It is amazing how one thought leads to another and before I know it my thoughts have gone from thinking about my drive to work, to how interesting the clouds looked on the horizon, to would clouds behave the same on another planet and on to mentally writing a description for my current book.

As wonderful as that is for the creative process, it is disastrous for retaining data for the day job.   Doodling requires just enough effort to keep me from letting my mind wander down strange and wonderful paths and pay attention to what is going on.

So, the upshot of all this is I can continue to merrily doodle my way through meetings without guilt and feel confident I am doing my part to retain the gold mine of information being disseminated.  A win, win.   Whew!

Just a thought though….what exactly do all the boxes, cartoonish tornado’s whirling across the page and intricate filled in diamond patterns say about me?  I am sure I can find the meaning of those doodles somewhere.  Maybe I don’t want to know. 😉

It’s Only A Number

“I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. ” 

 ~Virginia Woolf

I am reminded I have a milestone birthday coming up.  Cool.  Although I have to admit I don’t think of it as a milestone or as getting older – it is just another day following all those that preceded it. Some place a great deal of importance on birthdays, relish the celebration and all that goes along with it and I think that is wonderful.  Celebrate away and have the best day ever!  Occasionally I enjoy the fuss and attention, too.

Mostly I consider birthdays as a place marker, a unit of time, in a –hopefully- long journey.  It has little to do with who I am beyond announcing the number of years I have walked this earth. It doesn’t dictate the age of my friends. (Seriously, how limiting would life be if we could only associate with those close to us in age?) I will never allow it to prevent future me from dancing in the moonlight if I so choose – not that I do, mind you – but I could if I wanted to 🙂  I plan to always remain enthusiastic about each new adventure that comes my way.  When people get to know me I want them to see the person I am without the association of a pesky number attached.

What I prefer to celebrate is the kind of person I have evolved into over the span of days.  The friendships I have made, the laughter I have shared and the continued interest in all those fun, quirky things life abounds with.  I have 364 days of un-birthdays to experience and one to take stock of that wonderful gift of time.  Like Virginia Woolf,  I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. That is where the true celebration lies.

Of course, I may change my mind about the whole number thing when I eventually reach 100, but then again, I might not 🙂

A Non-Resolution Resolution

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had great plans to start the year out with a post about my non-resolutions resolution.  I blinked and missed the whole first week of January.  Seriously, time flew.  Here it is January 7th and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact it is 2014!

I admit I am like the majority of people and usually throw out a couple of resolutions knowing full well I won’t make it past the first few weeks before I break them.  It is easy to laugh off a resolution to lose weight or exercise more.  They are the standard resolutions bandied about and dismissed after a few weeks, right?  Why is that?

A resolution by its very definition can be hard work.  Getting in shape after being an absolute slug for the previous twelve months requires commitment – not to mention sore muscles that make walking agony.  Somewhere along the line it becomes too hard to find time in a busy schedule to go to gym.  Old habits rear their ugly heads and after a long day the couch holds more appeal than sweating through an exercise class. I guess I want instant gratification and grow impatient.  Ouch.

I did something a little different this time. I looked at the shiny expanse of a new year filled with endless possibilities and then turned back to review the year that just ended.  I discovered something amazing.  My year had been filled with incredible events and excitement!  Sadly, I missed the significance of much of it at the time because I was too focused on where I thought I was failing.  It took looking back at the year as a whole to put everything in perspective and finally recognize my achievements.

I knew I didn’t want to set myself up for failure and inadvertently dull the shimmering promise stretched before me with this year.  I didn’t want to feel discouraged before the year even got a good start.  I sure as heck didn’t want to miss those incredible moments I had overlooked in 2013 because I was too focused on all that still needed to be done.

Thus, my non-resolution resolution came into being.  Instead of resolutions I will probably break I am tasking myself with living in the moment, to savor all the successes – big or small – that happen over the next twelve months.  I plan to be kinder to myself and think in terms of doable changes to improve my health and well-being, not go at it hard and heavy right out of the gate and burn myself out with discouragement.  I will nurture my friendships and the people I love. I give myself permission to laugh myself silly on occasion and enjoy the ridiculous. I won’t be as hesitant to explore new things or take the road less traveled. Side roads can prove more interesting than the direct path and still get me where I am going in the end.

I want to see the end of 2014 as the year I enjoyed to its fullest.  No regrets.

I hope each of you follow your dreams in 2014 and enjoy every success.  I plan to   🙂

 

Christmas Fun, Frolics and Fundamentals

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Daisy Banks to my blog.  She is sharing some of her memories of this wonderful time of the year.  Enjoy!

Thanks so much, Kylie, for inviting me onto the blog and especially at this busy time of year.

I love Christmas and always have. I recall it from my childhood as the one holiday season my small family was always tightly together. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and my parents, all over these wonderful people were available in abundance, for games, stories and fun over the Christmas holiday. The rest of the year it wasn’t always so, and sometimes with work commitments I hardly saw my father at all as he worked shifts so he was sleeping while I was awake.

Christmas was a very special time and the fundamental memory of my childhood Christmas experiences is of the precious, quality time between family members. Memories that sing to me with the same rise and fall of the word I heard, they shine bright like the images in the Match-girl’s flames. Care, thoughtfulness and tenderness were shown in a distinct way both in action and in words. “Yow sit wi’ me, ma’ wench, an I’ll tell ya about that Snow White.”

Christmas in my childhood was also fun. The sense of expectation tangible in the air and I have to say until my teen years, Santa never disappointed. I must have been the most spoiled child in the street, along with my brother. Christmas morning was always fun, enough chocolate to double my body weight at least for a couple of hours. Games to experiment with and most wonderful always, books. From the time I could read, I did read and even though some of my family thought my passion for books a bit odd, they were kind enough to indulge it.

Frolics is my last thoughtful memory, and those relate to the years there was snow. One year I recall with great fondness as that year I made a snowman and my brother dug up the snow to form hills and hummocks in the garden. That was also the year my entire close family, about ten adults, played Monopoly. The game lasted through several evenings and led to much muttering, grumbling and downright growling snarliness. The strangest thing is, I can’t recall who actually won, only the fun we children had watching what went on.

Of course, we kids, we had our own frolics with all kinds of games and not one was on a computer screen. Staring at this screen now, I am wondering what memories my children have. What Christmas fun and frolics do they recall with a warm fondness? Can X box games have the same cache?

The Christmas fundamentals for my grown boys, are I hope the same, family, cherishing and love.

Wherever you are this Christmas, I hope you get to enjoy the company of those you love.

Cheers

Daisy Banks

I am not using this post to advertise any of my books. You can find my books through the links below. I would much prefer you take a few moments to look at the links, to click one or two and decide to follow me on my blog, or on my face book page, or enjoy the pictures on my Pinterest page.

Blog    http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/

Website http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/

Twitter @DaisyBanks12

Facebook http://on.fb.me/18iRC35

Pinterest http://bit.ly/16sF1XG

Author Bio

Romance author Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy novels in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. Daisy uses a fresh and lyrical voice to weave a compelling and magical spell for readers.

 

Daisy Banks

Bored Crickets and Blog Posts

“I love to talk about nothing. It’s the only thing I know anything about.” 
~Oscar Wilde

It’s true what they say – you can find anything on the web!  I was trying to decide on a subject to blog about this week, but all I had circling in my brain was the echoing sound of bored crickets.  Nary an idea surfaced.  I blame it on the cold weather.  It isn’t much fun sitting at a day job with a blanket across my knees because it is cold in the office.  It tends to stifle creativity.  Just sayin’.

So, I blew on my cold fingers to get them to do more than look like frozen claws and did a search to see what ideas I could find.  Imagine my delight when pages of blog subjects were suddenly available and then imagine my consternation when I actually read some of those ideas!  There was the usual stuff – you know, diets and exercise (yawn)  But, there was also ghost-hunting and Hamburgers.  Seriously! Ghost-hunting.  Too bad I don’t know anything about it because it might be fun to write about.  Hamburgers – not so much.  Really, what is there to say about hamburger that hasn’t already been said?

Of course, if I really wanted to be creative I could tackle the subject of how to write a best seller.  Trouble is, I don’t know the secret handshake yet.  I am assuming there is one because otherwise writing a best seller is like hitting the winning lottery numbers, random and inexplicable.

If I was truly desperate I could write a letter to my sixteen year old self and give her some life altering advice.  Nah, teenagers never listen, so why go to all that effort?  Besides, if I altered my sixteen year old self with pithy advice then I wouldn’t be the same me here and now, right?  It boggles my mind just to consider the ramifications.

After scanning long lists and being alternately amused and horrified I did hit upon the one subject I think I can manage really well.  As a matter-of-fact after reading what I have written, I consider this blog post to be exactly right.  What was the blog subject you ask… Brain dump.  What’s on your mind right now.

Now aren’t you sorry you asked ?   🙂

Non-Essential Functions Temporarily Off-Line

“This is for everyone who has ever looked at the stars, or gazed from atop a hill, or across the sea and wondered…” 
~
Tim PerkinsWorlds End: The Riders On The Storm

I’ve had some health issues lately and my system hit overload.  To top everything off I was leveled with a bad cold, a man-voice that echoed in my own ears and the energy level of an anemic slug.  Yeh, so not pretty.  I crawled home from work with the sole purpose of collapsing on my couch and pretending I was still alive.  My youngest asked me how I was feeling and I said without any pause to think – I feel like the starship Enterprise that has had to reroute all systems to basic life support.  Non-essential functions are temporarily off line.  Bless her, she didn’t even miss a beat, just shook her head, laughed and jokingly called me a nerd.  She also went to make me a cup of tea.

That brief conversation stuck with me because describing how I was feeling in that odd way really does sum up a lot about me.  I am a dyed-in-the-wool SciFi fan and have been since I discovered The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key when I was in the 6th grade.  My imagination was hijacked. I devoured that book.

When Star Trek came along I was entranced by the possibilities of space travel. The fact the Enterprise was inhabited by Kirk, Mr. Spock and Bones didn’t hurt either.  I regularly fell in and out of like with them.  Through the  years I have read countless books, watched the majority of SciFi movies and regularly take a side trip to English TV and Dr. Who.  When I wrote my first book it was inhabited with men who planet hop.  No surprise there.

I am also blessed with a friend who doesn’t blink an eye at any of this.  Of course, she is also a writer and dwells in that strange landscape of a writer’s mind where many of us reside.  Who else is going to turn up for coffee wearing a Dr. Who t-shirt to celebrate the 50th anniversary?  She and I discuss space travel, magic and difficult characters with aplomb.  We jump from subject to subject and then back again without missing a beat.  We tend to laugh a lot.  From the outside you would probably not even realize what we are so earnestly discussing.  If you did, you just might want  to join in the fun.  Resistance is futile! (sorry, I couldn’t resist) 🙂