The Blog

the writing life: loneliness

I’m often asked, by people who are just starting out in the freelance world, if I get lonely. “I need the watercolor conversation,” somebody said to me the other night. It’s something I wondered — and worried — about too when I fell into this line of work. Especially since, according to a good friend, I’m “extroverted AF,” a comment I found surprising given how shy I can feel at parties. The fact that I’m also what Marjorie Hillis calls a “live-aloner” compounded my fear. The short answer is no, I’m not lonely. And I credit interviewing people, one of my favorite parts of my job, for that.

Let me say, right off the bat, that I’m not someone to look to if you’re the kind of person who likes to walk into a situation fully prepared. That’s definitely not my M.O. I’m a little bit — okay a lot bit — of a free faller. Not that I don’t do my homework. I do. But I take a similar approach to how I handled things in high school, for better or worse; if I don’t know it now, there’s no way I can learn it all before the test. Luckily, a big part of interviewing, I find, is knowing enough to be able to ask intelligent questions, curious enough to keep asking until you get the answer and, smart enough to admit you don’t know everything. In fact, I’ve been told that people enjoy talking to me because I seem genuinely interested in their lives. It’s not an act! I am. In fact, I failed the Myers Briggs portion of the Director’s Guild test to be a Second Assistant Director precisely because of this trait. “Would you enjoy the work of a forest ranger?,” read one question, “Would you enjoy the work of a nurse?,” another one posed. I answered yes to both questions (the correct answer was no). While I wouldn’t chose to do that work every day, I’m intrigued by what their work entails, why and how someone would chose those careers and what they love — and hate — most about their work. I’d definitely be interested in trailing them for a day to observe them in their element. Wouldn’t you? I find people endlessly fascinating so I could I ever be lonely.

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