Groundhog Day

shyAs a teen,  I lived in my journal.  My words were the real me, my true existence, and if I ventured out into other lands, they were usually books. Reality was either too boring or too overwhelming for my senses; either way, I preferred to escape into an interior world where I had more control and could lock up the intense experiences of real life, hoarding them in inner chambers as treasures or tortures.

Yesterday I heard three women describe their internal worlds which had trapped or redeemed them. Dhana Musil, Sylvia Stopforth, and Elaine Woo are contributing authors of Shy: an Anthology (Lewis and Altrows, editors; University of Alberta Press, 2013.) These women fit the stereotype of shy introverts, but as I listened to their stories, it was clear they were not shy on the inside. They wrote loud and clear, and revealed more of themselves on each page than most extroverts reveal in an overlong evening of partying.

Which leads me to ask special questions for Groundhog Day, that unique holiday when worldwide media focus on a notoriously shy and retiring animal (and technically an overgrown hibernating squirrel):  Do you think shy people are more sensitive? Did being shy contribute to your becoming a writer or reader? If you write, is your voice different in prose than in person?  We each have our own experience of being shy. What’s yours?

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