Sunday, October 21, 2007

Collaboration/The Life of the Party


So, Michael Reaves, my sometime-collaborator and long-time friend, is coming up from L.A. for a short visit. We have a book-signing on the Star Wars novel at the local Powell's next week, and will hang out for a few days bracketing that.

Reaves and I go back almost thirty years. We have collaborated on several novels, short stories, and a bunch of kidvid animation for the tube. Currently, we are working on a fat fantasy novel, the first draft of which I hope to have done by Christmas. (Since this book is being written on- spec and not on a deadline, we may do something with it we haven't done in a while -- have people read it and offer comments we can use for the rewrite. More on that as it develops.)

Kicking around with an old pal for a few days will disrupt my home-alone-hermit-routine a bit, but is not that much of a challenge to an introvert.

Last night, Dianne and I went to a birthday party for a woman we know, a real sweetheart, Nancy. She and her husband Bob are great to sit down and visit with, smart, funny, talented, but in a house full of people, most of whom Dianne and I didn't know, we realized once again how tiring that small-talk party experience can be. Bright folks -- lawyers, doctors, singers, musicians, artists, teachers, but above our critical mass.

After a while, it starts to become for us a Phil Spector production: A wall of sound ...

Highlight of the gathering was when Bob gave Nancy a kitten; last year, they lost both their cats on the same day. One was terminally ill and had to be put down. The other was hit by a car while they were at the vet's. New kitty is nine weeks old, adorable, and named "Ella," after the jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald.

Um. Anyway, what I find is that I am much better talking to folks one-on-one, or in small groups, and especially with folks who share likes or values. Talking to writers. Discussing current event with somebody who keeps up. Having a beer with the silat gang. At science fiction conventions when I have what they call Small Group sessions.

At a gathering full of strangers, I tend to become a wallflower ...

8 comments:

Brad said...

Kind of find it hard to beleive after me you, but then remeber I'm pretty much the same way. So, I can sympatthize with you.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

So when's the reading? Post the date-- Todd and I will see if we can stop by to heckle...

Brad said...

What the heck happened to my spelling? Looks like I wrote it while drunk....

Anyways, I think you understood what I meant.

Steve Perry said...

Tuesday next, seven p.m. Powell's, Beaverton ...

Yeah, I know -- I put on a pretty good dog and pony show when I'm in my writer-in-public mode ...

Dan Moran said...

Same way, and I think pretty common for people like us. I'm great in small groups, lousy and downright antisocial in mid-sized groups, and just fine when thousands of people are watching me.

I took a personality test once that said "You're an artist. Or maybe Madonna."

Steve Perry said...

My wife brought home a book recently by somebody who had done the research. Apparently the introverts are outnumbered by the extroverts two-to-one.

I would have thought there were more of us, but that's probably because most of the writers I know are wallflowers, too. Couple-three come to mind who aren't -- Barnes, Jean Auel, maybe David Gerrold. Not sure about David, could just be his con-persona. Barnes seems genuinely happy out and about, and Jean does, too.

Lot of folks are good at hiding it. Johnny Carson was an introvert -- once he retired, he didn't stay in the limelight.

Steve Perry said...

Brad --

Yeah, Typoman dogs my postings, too. Looks fine when I hit the return key, but morphs once it hits the net.

How'd the job thing go? You still having to fly off to Africa so often?

Brad said...

Actually went back to Dallas twice. No Africa this month, 2 weeks next month.

And should be in Seattle Feb/Mar of next year.