My friend and fellow children’s book author and illustrator (now that is a mouthful!), Kate Berube, posted a thoughtful link from the NYTimes Sunday Review: Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic? and it set my “sitter” mind to wandering. As the author, Susan Cain, writes:
“THE psychologist Gregory Feist found that many of the most creative people in a range of fields are introverts who are comfortable working in solitary conditions in which they can focus attention inward. Steve Wozniak, the engineer who founded Apple with Steve Jobs, is a prime example: Mr. Wozniak describes his creative process as an exercise in solitude. “Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me,” he writes in “iWoz,” his autobiography. “They’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone … Not on a committee. Not on a team.””
And so the artistic temperament – lost in thought, lost in observation, protected by a shell of dreaminess and inward-focused free association – is not necessarily suited to the sales pitch.
It seems to me to be so paradoxical that we are urged, as artists, to spend so much of our energy and focus on self promotion. I hope that we can refocus on the shy, watchful, “sitter” approach to creativity and resist the pressure to put ourselves out there as shills for our artistic product. Unless it gives us a thrill. The thrill of the shill? Marketing, schmarketing…