01 What Am I Doing Here?

Now, as I understand it you don’t have to know anything to start one of these weblogs. You don’t have to get past an editor, you don’t have to be a technogeek, you don’t have to be politically correct, grammar and punctuation rules are optional, you can encourage feedback or squelch it according to your whim, it is the ultimate forum for free expression.

This will, I think, be a journal, an unstructured memoir,  a collection of memories in no particular chronological order, some philosophical musings and an occasional rant.

You don’t want to read too much into statements like, “a few years ago …” because I have reached an age where decades pass in an afternoon, so “a few years ago” can refer to anything from WWII to yesterday.

A few years ago I was in a writing group that met every Wednesday afternoon at Tio’s Café in Seattle. The author-aspirants gathered in groups around tables, after the noon rush had cleared, and did timed writing exercises. Somebody at your table picked a start line—something like, “He opened the door to the closet and smelled …”, then everybody started writing as fast as he could until the timer went off five minutes later. Everybody read what she or he had written, no comments allowed, and then we did a ten-minute timed writing, followed by a fifteen-minute and a final five-minute. In an hour you could develop a scene, probe an emotion, analyze a character, whatever you needed to work on enroute to that best-selling novel or poem or journal entry or memoir or whatever.

One day as five or six tables of us were scribbling away a couple of guys came into the café and stood in line at the counter. One had been there before during writing time, but the other hadn’t and was clearly curious. “What is this?” he said. His friend waved his hand to include the whole scene. “Oh, just a bunch of introverts journaling.”

Going through life as an introvert means never getting a word in edgewise, always thinking of the perfect riposte twelve hours after it would have been effective, finding that your carefully reasoned response refers to a conversation that has long since gone on to other things. This is my chance to catch up, get that last word in edgewise, tell that story that was always on the tip of my tongue.  This is the journal of an introvert who managed, despite the handicap, to meet some interesting people, have some adventures, find and marry the love of his life, and who, being an introvert, has had a lot of time to think about what it all meant.