Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An Invitation.


This came through the post before Christmas: quite sophisticated, I thought, and I love the subtlety of the design that is only obvious when the light catches it - the glossy black figures on the matt black background.

Sceptre, the literary imprint of Hodder and Stoughton, has been in business 21 years and they have invited me to their party on Thursday. I am hoping that there will be music because what I intend to do is have a few drinks then determinedly dance the night away - which is what I did last time. Sceptre do not have parties very often, it seems. Their last big party was in September 2001 to mark their fifteenth year. I had just come back from Greenland and 9/11 was raw in everyone's mind. I remember thinking that everything seemed unreal and I am not sure even now if this was because of the shock of the terrorist attack or just because I was just feeling slightly overwhelmed by the number of bodies packed together in several large rooms after spending the last couple of weeks of not speaking to anyone in the magnificent isolation of the Arctic.

Parties often seem to have a surreal edge to me and I am not comfortable in them. Usually I find I don't know many people and have a hard time forcing myself to talk to strangers. It is quite possible for me to feel more lonely in a room full of people than in an empty landscape where there is just me and the wind. That is why I hope there will be music on Thursday night because if all else fails I can dance - not exactly on my own but in the company of strangers - and I shall be perfectly happy.

22 Comments:

Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

I'm often the same at parties, alone among a sea of people. I guess part of it's being an introvert, but I also just get overwhelmed around large numbers like that. Even last year, surrounded by friends at WisCon, I just wanted to flee to my hotel room.

Tue Jan 16, 10:12:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

Another introvert reporting in here. One of the joys of still smoking cigarettes, I can escape from parties for a quiet smoke outside and commune with nature.

Still, I do love parties and rarely turn down an invitation. hopefully there will be extroverts aplenty to cover my own reticence in starting conversations

Tue Jan 16, 10:32:00 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

You're a braver person than I am, Clare. I couldn't possibly be happy at a party. I leave any event feeling like I've been on a roller coaster, caught between screaming children. I hope you have a lovely time. I know that you and Hodmandod Senior have been practising the dancing! Perhaps he should wear pants on Thursday...

Wed Jan 17, 04:34:00 am  
Blogger Lee said...

It seems a lot of introverts blog. A beautiful invitation but I too dislike parties. I wouldn't bother going.

Wed Jan 17, 05:13:00 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Will there be French windows?

Wed Jan 17, 01:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Is this what introvertism is? I feel much like you, Anne - I do love parties most of the time but sometimes, like Jason, feel an urge to run away.

Hod Sen is not invited, unfortunately, Susan but don't think he'd come, anyway - with or without trousers. But maybe you and Lee are the wise ones - it is better to stay at home then I would have guaranteed French windows. As it is I doubt there will be any available, Jan.

Wed Jan 17, 02:11:00 pm  
Anonymous marly said...

Clare,
take the little joyful dancing man! Put him in your bag. He wants to come along! I can feel it, all the way over the ocean and bay and hills in between.

Wed Jan 17, 02:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Yes, Marly, I think he would like to come along, but unfortunately he is made from pot and a little too large for my bag. Maybe I shall take the spirit of him - his concentrated essence - so he will know what it is like to be there and when I come back I shall hear him giggling in the night as he remembers.

Wed Jan 17, 02:36:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

Made from pot?? This gets more interesting all the time.

Wed Jan 17, 03:28:00 pm  
Anonymous marly said...

Okay, you'll take along the concentrated essence of a little man made from pot . . .

Be sweet to the wee dope, willya? And stay out of trouble.

Wed Jan 17, 03:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Lee: Heh.

Marly: Mellow...

Wed Jan 17, 07:35:00 pm  
Blogger Tammy said...

Go and let loose!

Wed Jan 17, 10:04:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

Regarding introversion - I decided I was one several years ago after reading the following article, which is still online here

Anne S

Wed Jan 17, 10:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Thanks Tammy - I shall.

And thanks Anne - I always thought I couldn't be an introvert because I am capable of generally holding forth - but just on certain topics. So that is what I am. An introvert (in common with many others it seems).

Well it seems like the internet is an ideal place for people like us. And writing the ideal occupation.

Wed Jan 17, 11:34:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

Anne, I like the link so much that I'm going to repost it over at Lowebrow. Thanks.

Thu Jan 18, 06:56:00 am  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Me too!!! I'm an introvert - so much so I'm just about off the scale. But have fun at the party anyway - try out your party-wings, you never know, you just might find they do work after all. ;)

Thu Jan 18, 07:59:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

Out of interest, I should report that I originally found the link to that article on Neal Stephenson's old website where he too admitted to being an introvert and pointed readers to that article.

Thu Jan 18, 09:48:00 am  
Blogger badgirl said...

Isn't it possible that something else is going on at parties that has to do with the group dynamic? I, being a badgirl, am not an introvert. I love going to parties and, if I don't know anyone, all the better to meet intersting people. I guess I rescue the lot of you by speaking first. I have met the most fascinating, wonderful people at parties. I can almost see all the many vibrant stories waiting to come out and I would n't have heard them if I hadn't gone.
There have been times, however, when I have felt differently and that is when I have similar introverted feelings; when the fears and insecurities of others comes through to me too intensely and I haven't the strength or energy to cut through it to search the people's hearts. That's when I want to leave as well. Run is a good word. I can't help wondering if it's something separate from ourselves and more to do with a group dynamic sort of thing.
I will also admit to having more smaller parties myself, where there just might evove one conversation. We still dance though!
My definition of a successful party is where there is spontaneous dancing. Nothing else counts.
I also love it when people are all dancing together and strangers can commune with music without having to talk but are actively expressing themselves at the same time.
enjoy yourself clare! If I was there, I would wish I could go with you!!
last idea: copy pictures of the dancing fellow like the size that's posted and secretly leave them at various spots at the party, like mystery party favors.

Fri Jan 19, 08:28:00 am  
Blogger sensOtheque said...

Ow ow ow, how hypersensitive and autistic we all are, blog writers and readers, and what a masquerade this must be, all this parties, full of lonely people. Hey, where can we get lessons in small talk!? would need that too. But thank god, I'm al good dancer ;-)

Fri Jan 19, 09:21:00 am  
Blogger badgirl said...

the interesting thing for me is that I don't often do small talk at parties when I meet strangers. I go right for the gusto, asking them things like if they are bothered by by SUVs, what they would or could do about the absolute poverty in India, is it truly absolute, is God a peronsality, do they find their work interesting and why. this way i get to know them on a deeper level right away and most people appreciate this because, almost everybody hates small talk. Now, talking about the hot party dress someone is wearing is equally important!! ha ha

Fri Jan 19, 10:22:00 pm  
Blogger badgirl said...

The interesting thing for me is that I don't often do small talk at parties when I meet strangers. I go right for the gusto, asking them things like if they are bothered by by SUVs, what they would or could do about the absolute poverty in India, is it truly absolute, is God a peronsality, do they find their work interesting and why. this way i get to know them on a deeper level right away and most people appreciate this because, almost everybody hates small talk. Now, talking about the hot party dress someone is wearing is equally important!! ha ha
maybe we could call this 'the new small talk'.

Fri Jan 19, 10:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Badgirl - you sum it all up really well. I think there is an extrovert side and an introvert side to us all and they comes out at different times.

Sensotheque: yes sometimes I think I could do with lessons in small talk - but I think Badgirl is right. Small talk tends to be exactly that Small (and inconsequential) Talk- what we need to do is indulge in a little Big Talk. My favourite conversations have started on the subjects that I find really interesting - about decapacitated heads, I remember once...I think the important thing is not to be afraid or reserved and sometimes that is impossible.

Sat Jan 20, 05:21:00 pm  

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