I was a shy and innocent boy for many years. I did things which I took for granted at the
time and assumed others did too. For example, when mom sent me to my room I was
glad because it gave me more time to read all my great books. Later I paid her back
with a column I wrote for a literacy-themed newspaper section - i think I headlined it "thanks, mom, for sending me to my room."
I played games where I'd play four or five different people. So I'd first say that it was
a friend named Doug playing and I'd play a turn as I thought Doug would play it,
then I'd play as someone else.
Mom watched this with what I now know was some concern wondering why I was playing
this as opposed to, say, calling friends and asking them to come over.
But I was happy, shy and keeping myself entertained.
I think one reason I was always quieter - and then when I do speak it's at a fast
rate but low volume - is because as the baby of the family I felt both discouraged from
adding anything and if I DID have something to add I felt like I should say it fast.
So by high school I was not the class clown but the guy who whispered the witty remarks
- see I was funny but still shy - that the class clown would hear, repeat loudly and then
he'd get the praise for it.
It was around junior year of high school that I found my "voice" but still my voice came
through the keyboard not through my lips. And it still remains like that today.
If something surprises me i might be rendered speechless but within minutes I will know exactly what
I wish i had said.
Asked to speak off the cuff to a group of people I freak out. Asked to write a story involving a pig, a condom and Dr. Know I'm sure I can write something in less than 15 minutes. Go figure.
This is why in recent years I go to open mic nite and work on reading aloud my writing. Not only am I not speechless anymore but I'm finding that I can make people laugh and think and react to what I say, not just what I write.
And sometimes... sometimes I can write well enough (or is it good enough? damn grammar rules)... that I can leave one or more people speechess. And in a good way too.