When you're socially awkward, you're isolated more than usual, and when you're isolated more than usual, your creativity is less compromised by what has already been said and done. All your hope in life starts to depend on your craft, so you try to perfect it. One reason I stay isolated more than the average person is to keep my creativity as fierce as possible. Being the odd one out may have its temporary disadvantages, but more importantly, it has its permanent advantages.
Even in a personal sense, after all, art is an intensified life. By art one is more deeply satisfied and more rapidly used up. It engraves on the countenance of its servant the traces of imaginary and intellectual adventures, and even if he has outwardly existed in cloistral tranquility, it leads in the long term to overfastidiousness, over-refinement, nervous fatigue and overstimulation, such as can seldom result from a life of the most extravagant passions and pleasures.
Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other.We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that musty old cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post office, and at the sociable, and at the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.
Fish held the silence for so long that I had to restrain myself from prodding her. That's never a good idea. Sometimes people hesitate because they don't have the courage to come out with whatever needs to be said; other times they desperately want to speak but can't find the words. Jabbing them prematurely tends to shut them up. Outwaiting them gives them the time to say more than they intend.
Because loners are born everywhere, we end up living everywhere. We do not, have not, tended to single ourselves out as special, elite, requiring rarefied environments. Too often we have done the opposite; lived where we lived because our jobs were there, or families, or because we'd heard the schools were good there, or that we would love a place with changing seasons. Then, no matter what, we put our noses to the grindstone. We take living there as a fait accompli, a fact. Too often we are miserable somewhere without realizing why. We blame ourselves for not buckling down, settling in, fitting in. The problem is the place, but too often we do not see this, we will not allow ourselves to see this. It's the same old thing: This is a friendly town, so what's your problem?...To the non-loner, or the self-reproaching loner, the fact of being a loner is not comparable to those other determinants. It is not a matter of life and death, we tell ourselves. It its not a matter of breathing or of execution by stoning. But home is the crucible of living...So how can living not be a matter of life and death?
Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.