I was having this hideously godawful nightmare the other night that I was at a coaching retreat with a bunch of people I'd never met. There were ten of us in a fairly small room. It was time for the first activity of the day, and I was tensing up for the proverbial "icebreaker" activity that was certain to follow. Our retreat leaders flips a switch on her Bose and Abba's Dancing Queen blasts into the room. "Everyone up!" she cried. "Dance!" I was completely horrified! Now? With all these people I don't know?
And then things got much, much worse. I realized I was AWAKE! It wasn't a nightmare at all. . . (pausing now while you all shriek)
So I danced, because NOT dancing would only make me stand out more, and people would be looking, and some extravert would try to pull me up for a friendly twirl or two. I tried to look as if I often danced with small crowds of people in brightly lit rooms before lunch, and tried not to glare at our retreat leader, who I happen to adore. But this was S-O going on her post-retreat evaluation. Two other introverts started easing back into my corner and we flashed each other a WTH?? eyeball text message.
Eleven hours later the song finally ended. Gleefully charged, the extraverts were chummying up together, and the introverts were sporting near migraines. Said retreat leader seemed very pleased that we were all "loosened up" and could get to work. Loosened up? Are you out of your mind, woman? Do you know how long it will take me to decompress from your opening torture routine?
Which brings me right smack to book sales and promotion. (Sound of Robin sighing in relief that this truly isn't all completely ran-dom!) As I sat there doodling and decompressing for the first hour of the retreat, I thought about how my aversion to dancing-on-demand just about perfectly sums up my entire Marketing Avoidance Profile (MAP). I'm sending this right over to my publicity person at Random House. You might want to get to work on yours.
M.A.P. FOR AUTHOR: MARY HERSHEY
When scheduling promotional events and activities for the above-named author, please bear in mind the following:
::: No loud music or bright lights. Prefers a quiet Goodyear blimp with book title emblazed across.
::: Introvert to extravert ratio > 1:3 preferred. If possible, please screen all event attendees and staff. Anyone that talks more than three minutes without stopping needs a timeout.
::: Author unable to perform most bodily functions upon demand. Includes smiling, dancing, speaking up or loosening up.
::: Author unable do the any of the following while chatting with teachers, students, booksellers, or librarians: Eat corn on the cob, spinach, sushi, fondue, use chopsticks or the latrine.
::: Crowds in small places tolerated for 60 minutes max. Quickly prepare exits at 61 minutes and beyond.
::: No Abba. Ever. No kidding.
Writers Against Introvert Abuse