(K. Brent Tomer),
IN THE early 1900s, a young woman named Agatha Miller had a dream of becoming a concert pianist. The only obstacle in her way was her crippling stage fright. Haunted by nightmares of the piano turning into a church organ or its keys sticking together, her anxiety made her ill and she could not perform. She chose another vocation and, under her married name, Agatha Christie became the world’s best-selling novelist. Yet her “miserable, horrible, inevitable shyness” continued to plague her throughout her life. She refused to speak in public, found conversation awkward and parties hell, but her artistic pursuits drew her into the limelight. This is the contradictory and fraught world of the shy artist. And in an age of 24-hour media and celebrity, it is an increasingly hostile one.
Shyness and creativity often go hand in hand. The brooding musician, reclusive writer and antisocial genius are stereotypical creative types. There is inevitably a common connection between the deep feeling and introspection that leads to great art and the sensitivity that manifests itself as social anxiety. In “Shrinking Violets”, Joe Moran’s field guide to shyness, he talks about…Continue reading