Friday, April 30, 2010

Social Misfit

Hello, it’s me. I’m not at home.
If you’d like to reach me,
leave me alone.

~A Change Will Do You Good, Sheryl Crowe

I’ve never considered myself to be a very social creature. I don’t like parties and the pressure to either entertain or be entertained - usually I’m busy thinking of other things that I could be doing and enjoying more. I loathe big crowds. Crowd mentality is a frightening thing. In my opinion, too many of the same beast in one place is a recipe for disaster. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, and then the riot ensues. However, even in a one on one friendship, I catch myself humming that old Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other… one of these things just doesn’t belong…” Sure, I talk a good game when I write, but in person I seem to forget any rudimentary knowledge of the English language, or any other language for that matter. Thoughts flit like hummingbirds. Just as I find one and think, “Now there’s something interesting to say…” It’s gone.

Any time I’ve voiced these feelings to people I know, they don’t believe me. Evidently, I cover well. Jolly good. This isn’t an exercise in self-deprecation. I like me just fine the way I am. I find it interesting, is all. Intriguing. I do enjoy the company of others (in limited quantities and always, only the finest quality), but I find myself feeling stymied, blocked, locked down, and lost. A couple of weeks ago I did an email interview with a fellow who is using my story in a book he’s writing (more on that at a later date). The questions were basic enough - “tell me a little about you … tell me what inspires you” - that kind of thing. They were easy enough and absolutely non-invasive, yet I found myself squirming a little. I thought, “Barb, ya big mundungus, what are you going to do if when your work gets famous enough for Oprah?!” I could just see it…

Oprah: Barb, tell me what you like most about making art…?
Barb: I… uh… I like colors.
Cue dead silence and a prying look from Oprah before she goes to the next question.
Oprah: Where do you get your inspiration?
Barb: Oh. Pretty much… um… I dunno… I look at stuff.
I would cue the sound of crickets chirping, but they’ve all died of boredom.

I’m sure I’m not all that bad. I know most of it is simply self-perception. Fortunately, that self-perception is heavily laced with a solid sense of humor.

Oprah: So, Barb… describe your method.
Barb: Mm. Describe. Hmm. Method? I… uh… guess I… um… I just let my work speak for me.
Oprah: Lucky for us!
Barb: Yeah…
Lights fade and camera pulls back as Oprah puts her head in her hands and takes a deep breath. Barb suddenly looks inspired.

... and yet, I'm one of the most kind and loving people you could know. Go figure...

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