I am intensely introverted, which is very functional when it comes to doing my writing but if there is ever going to be any reason for me to write that goes in the direction of the social, I must consider social interaction as a potential necessity. I run the danger of being a rather conflicted person because I both love and am troubled by my isolation. This, however, no longer bothers me too much as I have come to realize just how fragmentary I am as a person. It is the reason I wrote Book of Aliases in order to celebrate the idea that our fragmentary and often contradictory selves do not need fixing – in fact they are normal. Since we only express one trait at a time and there is no real need to make a congruent argument out of our lives I take comfort in a rather Whitmanian notion that can be expressed as: ‘do I contradict myself? Good then I contradict myself.’
I love books! With them I can be in my isolation and still also spend quality time with people I have come to love. I am, of course referring to literary characters such as Tom Sawyer, the adolescent Stephen Dedalus, and a rogue’s gallery of others. Similarly, through the thin veil of the internet I am able to indulge my isolation while staying in contact with writers, poets and friends who live all over the world, as well as a growing but, as yet still manageable, cadre of people who enjoy my poetry. I am married and have children and grandchildren whom I love and try to always find time for but it is always at odds with this need I have for privacy and my solitary pursuits of writing and study. Yes I am an odd bird!
With my introversion I really value being alone. I have a very busy and noisy world going on inside me most of the time and find myself “beating the retreat” when faced with some kinds of external cacophony. I do love writing though, which puts me at odds with the privacy that activity requires, unless I would be satisfied only with making notes to myself. I honestly don’t know where this love of writing has come from but I realize that if I don’t write, I have committed some odd form of suicide. Realizing that I must write for the benefit of others forces me to leave my solitary towers and go out into the noisy streets where potential readers can be found. If you are one of my fans (whom I admire and love most ardently) please do not be offended when I toss you in, as I have so callously done in the sentence above, with the rabble and the congested, noisy world of the allegorical street I just talked about. Always know I consider you most special among the otherwise busy, chaotic nature of the world from which I most generally try to retreat.